Category Archives: Romance

The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess  by Julie Klassen is admittedly another re-read for me.  I own a copy, and it’s been sitting collecting dust on my shelf for a while.  I decided I felt like another go, so here we are!

Olivia Keene, forced to flee her home unexpectedly, ends up in a predicament she could never have imagined.  Having inadvertently overheard a very important secret, Lord Bradley is determined to keep an eye on her.  Since the revelation of his secret would cause him to lose everything, Lord Bradley bullies Olivia into taking a post at his home.

With little choice, Miss Keene takes on her role in the Nursery at Brightwell Court, and she soon discovers that her young charges are delightful and that life there is not so bad after all – even if she is temporarily mute.

This is an agreeable historical fiction.  It is by no means dramatic and the plot is not overly complicated and mostly relies on revealing everyone’s secrets oh so slowly.  Of course things are more and less simple than they seem.

Olivia is playing the price for her over-active curiosity.  She is stubborn, a bit independent, and has a temper – but none of these measures in the extreme. She is also kind and not immune to the charms of the children in the nursery.

Lord Bradley is conflicted, broody and suspicious, but not without moments of happiness (mostly when interacting with his young cousins).

The story is sprinkled liberally with religion, and as much as I’m not normally one to enjoy Christian fiction, it does fit with the era I suppose.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, not overly complicated book that fits my desire for a relatively light historical fiction (19th-century) with a bit of romance.  (There is only a BIT of romance – I wouldn’t say it is the main focus, even though it’s sort of trying to be).

3.5/5

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)

Hero

I was super excited to get my hands on Hero after reading Alethea Kontis’s preceding book: Enchanted. So fun!

Saturday Woodcutter grudgingly claims to be the “normal” woodcutter sister (though her Destiny makes her invulnerable to injury … until she fulfills it).  When mama is called away, and Trix tricks them, Saturday accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard.  After a short stay on a pirate ship, Saturday is kidnapped and taken to the top of the world.  The witch who lives there siphons magic off of the sleeping dragon – a delicate balance that could be deadly to disrupt.  Unfortunately that witch is also intent on opening a portal that would destroy the world.  Can Saturday save the world – and save herself and new-found friends before it’s too late?

I’m not sure if I read this too quickly or was too tired to read it properly, but as with Enchanted there were a few times when the story took a leap … and I just did not follow.  I had to go back and re-read sections to understand what the heck was going on – and even then I still felt that there were some really large leaps that could have benefited from some better segues.

The book also felt like it was trying to jam in a few too many story lines – which I am sure will become clear and all tied in together once the other books were out, but because of that it felt just a little bit disjointed.

That being said, I did love Saturday – a stubborn, no-nonsense sturdy kind of woman who takes after her mama more than I think she’d care to admit.

Peregrine, who is the quirky love-interest (cursed to pose as the witch’s daughter) and Betwixt add a few fun personalities to the mix.  Of course there is a romance!

This is a good adventure story, and a nice complement to the first book in the series. I did really enjoy it – although I identified with Sunday Woodcutter a little bit more so it didn’t quite live up to the first. Close enough though!

4/5

1 Comment

Filed under Adventure, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult Books

Champion

Champion

I feel like its been a while since I’ve been able to read a series consecutively without other books in between.  Although there WAS a gap between Legend and Prodigy, I was able to pick up Champion to finish off the series right away.  What a difference – coming fresh off the high of a great book and straight into another!

Champion is the third (and final) Legend novel by Marie Lu and it was a fantastic ending to the series – in keeping with the suspense of the last book that’s for sure!

Day and June are back in the Republic and each doing their part to bolster the new Elector and the country.  June is working as Princeps-Elect, which keeps her busy, while Day accompanies his brother to San Francisco for their excellent doctors.

A peace treaty between the Colonies and the Republic looks promising – until an outbreak of the plague in the Colonies brings war back to the borders.  Day has already sacrificed so much, and the key to the cure may be one sacrifice Day is not willing to make.

Can the Republic find a cure in time – before the Colonies win the war, once and for all?

I really appreciate the shifting perspective in these books – one chapter will be of Day and the next of June.  I feel like you see them grow as people as they struggle with both the demons of their pasts and with their uncertain future.

June is one of those kick-ass strong female characters.  Sure, she’s got some flaws, and she has some very real feelings but I love that’s she’s smart, tough, and ultimately selfless.

Day is also a great character.  He’s dealing with so many conflicting emotions – fear, passion, love, anger.  Yes he’s a bit cocky, but you don’t grudge him for it. He’s noble and moral and maybe a little bit selfish in a totally understandable way.

I didn’t really expect the direction the book took, and although I was surprised that the ending turned out the way it did I was SO GLAD.

YES I am a fan of happy endings.  Even though it didn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the book, I loved it anyway!!!

5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult Books

The Grand Sophy

The Grand Sophy

The Grand Sophy by Gorgette Heyer is not my usual Young Adult fiction read. I had a hankering for a humorous historical recency romance and that is exactly what I got!

When her father, Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy, travels to Brazil, Sophy invades her aunt’s house at Berkeley Square. Fresh from the Continent and an unusual upbringing, Miss Sophy seems cheerfully determined to set the somber Omsersley household – and the secret power behind it, Charles Rivenhall (the heir) – on it’s head.

The Ombersley family is in desperate need of Sophy’s intervention.  Lord Ombersley is useless, Charles is becoming tyrannical and is engaged to a grim and uptight fiancee, Cecelia is smitten with an unsuitable poet, and Hubert is stuck in dire financial straights. Who better to help than their dear cousin?

Sophy proves to have her father’s hand for diplomacy, a vibrant and cheerful disposition, and a knack for match-making and scheming.  Unconventional and blunt, Sophy is determined to set things right in the house in a manner only she is capable of. Socially savvy and smart, Sophy is a witty, charming heroine and I couldn’t help but cheer at her exploits and adventures.

This story fulfills my desires for a fun, clever female lead who knows how to tweak convention in the best ways.  I had two complaints.  One was an awful stereotypical description of a filthy criminal Jewish moneylender. (I got over that by pretending omitting the Jewish part in my head).  Two was the fact the cousin thing. (I got over that by accepting that inbreeding was a thing back then, as gross as that is).  Aside from that, I loved Sophy – she is so fun, lively, and full of mischief!  I love how she unabashedly takes the house by storm.

I also LOVE happy, feel-good endings.  Plus, the book is funny! I would very much recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a witty historical tale, vaguely reminiscent of  Pride and Prejudice (maybe just in era alone, as this has MUCH more fun and fluff and less social commentary).

5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Historical Fiction, Romance

Keeping the Castle

Keeping the Castle

Althea Crawley is seventeen and determined to marry well.  She must, as she is the sole supporter of her entire family (i.e. her mother and brother; she has two step-sisters but they have their own fortunes which they will not share).  Althea, her family, and her step-sisters reside in a worn-down castle (built by their impulsive Grandfather) that is plagued by rickety furniture, rust, a leaking roof, and a host of other repairs. Perched on the edge of a cliff, it looks as if the whole thing could come tumbling down at any moment. Unfortunately, as Althea lives in out-of-the-way north England, there are few wealthy suitors to be found.  Nevertheless, she has her beauty as an advantage and her frank tongue as a deterrent.

Young, attractive, and to all appearances very rich Lord Boring arrives and opens up the playing field. Althea sets him in her sights – in fierce competition with her step-sisters, Charity and Prudence. Lord Boring brings with him a host of characters, including his cousin and friend Mr. Frederick, both their mothers, and a Marquis (who is a family friend as well).  The party is later joined by the Vincy family, where Miss Vincy is added to the playing field.

It’s a story of determined plans, match-making, and determination.

I did enjoy this book.  It nods to Pride and Prejudice in lively Althea and the whole marriage-hunting business (which is pretty much the whole plot).  It’s a shiny surface kind of book – one without layers or great feeling. Althea is clever in some ways, but extremely blind in others. If it wasn’t short, I think I would find the intrigues a little dull, or perhaps worn.

A tiny bit of spoilers:

okay ready?

It found it pretty predictable that Lord Boring was in fact pretty destitute and in need of a wealthy bride himself. Of course Mr. Frederick, who came over very disagreeable to start, would turn out to be not only extremely wealthy but also possessing of a fine character.  That plot thread was a parody of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and unfortunately it was not as well executed.  You could believe that Althea and Mr. Frederick were falling for each other – mostly – but it was a scratchy kind of romance.

The only surprise was Miss Vincy, to be honest.

I’m painting a poor picture of the book, because even despite it’s faults I did enjoy it and would probably even read it again in the future. Which is why I’ll give it a 3.5/5 (which is bordering on a 4/5 when you consider rounding anyway).

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult Books

Betraying Season

Betraying Season

After reading a few books that were less than stellar, it was nice to pick up something I felt good about again. I loved Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle, and have been trying to get my hands on a copy of Betraying Season ever since.  I ended up splurging and just purchasing a copy, since I was not able to get it through the library.

Penelope (Pen) Leland has accompanied her former Governess, Ally, to Ireland in order to pursue her studies in magic and prove to herself she is as serious about learning as her twin sister, Persy. But with Ally indisposed, Pen is drawn into Irish society by Mrs. Keating and her charming son, Niall Keating. While Niall is doing his best to woo Pen, it is not entirely of his own volition – at least, not at first.  Unexpectedly, Niall finds himself truly falling for Pen, which puts him at odds with his mother’s schemes. Mrs. Keating has plans of her own, and she needs Pen (and Pen’s magic) to help her carry out a sinister plan.

Although VERY enjoyable, it wasn’t quite as good as Persy’s story.  Maybe I just identified more with Persy (who was a self-identified bluestocking from the first) than with Pen.  It was also difficult to watch Pen be completely taken in by both Mrs. Keating and Niall – and to have her trust broken so thoroughly.

I did like that it dealt with (although very very fleetingly) tensions between the Irish and English, and also prejudice against women scholars. Poor Pen is not easily accepted into lessons by her fellow students in magic.

I missed Ally a bit – she was hardly mentioned and hardly part of the plot at all, since she was indisposed or sleeping most of the time.

I also missed the sibling interactions – Pen is so removed from Persy and Charles, and that was one of my favourite parts about the last book.

I DID enjoy watching Pen gain confidence in her magic, and remain strong/true to herself even while she was being swept off her feet and carried in different directions.

Overall, it was a good read.  4 / 5.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult Books

The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3)

The girl with the iron touch

I finally got around to book three of The Steampunk Chronicles, The Girl with the Iron Touch. (You can find my thoughts on book one here and book two here). I feel like the Goodreads Summary, which I read before the book, doesn’t really do it justice AT ALL.  Or at least focuses on weird things which aren’t as big a deal in the book.

Finley, Griffin, Emily, Sam, and Jasper are all back in England.  When Emily is kidnapped by automatons, it seems that their old foe, The Machinist, is somehow behind things once again.

Emily has been summoned to transplant The Machinist’s consciousness into one of his automatons.

Griffin, in the meantime, appears to be suffering but won’t tell why.  What is tormenting him? Or who?

Finley is good at getting mad, and must confront her feelings for Griffin … and for Jack Dandy.

Sam is determined to get his Emily back, and finish an unfinished conversation between them.

Jasper, distant and withdrawn, is still mourning the events in New York.

My thoughts:

  • Better.  Better than the second book (The Girl with the Clockwork Collar) at least.  Maybe I just like Emily better than I like Finley.
  • I still can’t put my finger on what bothers me about these books. Maybe it is that it takes place in a historical setting but doesn’t have a historical FEEL to it.
  • I like Sam a LOT better
  • I feel like the description on the back hypes stuff up too much (i.e. Love triangle) but the story focuses on other things, including a new character.
  • FINALLY Griffin and Finley get to actually confronting their feelings.
  • Happily, there are no new love triangles and the old ones are mostly resolved! Woot!
  • An amusing side note: apparently my mental voice cannot do an Irish accent that is NOT the voice of an old man haha.  It made reading Emily really funny.  I’m going to have to watch clips of a young Irish girl talking to get the old man voice out of my head!!!

3.5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult Books