Monday, March 30, 2015

To Love a Lady


Oh, what a fun little story. I went into it expecting some frivolous romance novel. You know - trite, overly written, and very much a bodice ripper. I was so glad to have that image destroyed. This was not that book. It was not a trite romance novel. It was actually a great piece of female empowerment.

I think it's because the main character - Cecily - goes from being a frivolous British noble to a rather strong, independent woman. All while trying to make her fiance fall in love with her (I know, but those arranged marriages with nobility are weird).

See, she goes all the way to Texas from the refined English countryside. This is in the 1800s. Not only that, but she does it without her parents' permission or even an appropriate escort for her class. She meets a trio of prostitutes and befriends them. She finds that her fiance, Charles, is trying to get out of their engagement, on his ranch.

It's just a fascinating book. Cecily learns to love herself and morphs from vacuous socialite to intelligent rancher's wife. She learns to depend on herself and provide support for her friends as well as her betrothed.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Beowulf


Ok. I'll admit this right now. I did not get this. I tried. I focused on the story, I read the entire thing (which was quite a feat since it was the third time it was assigned to me). I just did not get it.

I don't know exactly what tripped me up. Probably the language. Even translated, it has a style that is completely foreign to me. The story was a little not my style too. Totally what I'd describe as a man story. Battles, swordplay, just general mannish story-telling. Women had a super small and rather superficial role, so I think that might have been another reason I struggled with this story. No characters I could connect with and help me put myself into the story.

Anyway. Who knows if I'll try this one again or if I'll just chalk it up to not my style.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Grave Mercy


I love the historical fiction genre. What I love even more is when history is twisted in some interesting way. This book was an interesting twist on historical fiction.

Ismae has not had an easy life. But then, she was born female in the 1400s. She has a vivid scar on one side of her body because of a poison her mother used to try to abort her pregnancy.

At 14, Ismae's father essentially sells her to a local farmer. He is cruel, but once he sees her scar, he knows that she is marked by Mortain, the saint of death, himself. He intends to kill her, but she is rescued and shipped off to a convent. A convent where she is trained to be an assassin.

It's a very complex story where Ismae begins to question her convent's orders, especially once she realizes that they might not be getting accurate information. Her entire country is at risk because someone is a traitor at the duchess's court. The traitor could be anyone.

It's exciting. There's a love story, although Ismae tries to keep that romance from going anywhere. I just really liked this book. I'm going to read more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Breeders


This was a dark book. But I can say that I'm kind of a fan of dystopian stories. This fit the bill.

Riley is 16 and a rarity in the world. She's a girl. Most children born are boys or benders - boys with ultra feminine features. Girls that are found in the world are taken and sold to the Breeders. There are horror stories about what the Breeders do to the girls they get. The main story is that they impregnate them and do experiments on the girls.

Riley and her mother have managed to stay out of there. Or rather, Riley has never been to the Breeders, her mother seems to have escaped years earlier and is determined to keep both herself and her daughter from that life.

Then the worst happens. Riley and her little brother Ethan are saved from capture, but their mother and aunt are captured and Riley's stepfather (Ethan's father) is killed by the Sheriff of the local town.

What follows is an interesting adventure involving Riley, Ethan, and Clay - the Sheriff's son - going on a mission to rescue Riley's mother from the Breeders.

It may have been a dark story, but it was interesting. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Doorknob Society


Ok. I'm going to say something about this book. I loved the premise. I thought it was a brilliant story. My problem is that I felt like if I were to edit this book, it would be filled with red marks. There were spelling issues, grammar issues, punctuation issues. It just made the entire book a struggle.

That being said, I was able to look past all of that (mostly) to enjoy the actual story.

Chloe Masters is the daughter of a magician. Except not really. It turns out that Chloe, and her father, have powers. They have the ability to use doorknobs - any doorknobs - in order to create portals from one place to another. But her father is in trouble. Someone is trying to hurt him. Eventually, he just goes missing.

Chloe has to go to a special school for others like her. Except not everyone uses doorknobs. During her time, she has to work with students from the other societies, which don't always get along. She learns more than just how to control her powers. She learns how to trust others.

It's an intriguing story with suspense and just a hint of romance. I think I'll read the next book to give the series a chance to make up for the editing issues that this one had.