Love in the Time of Colonial Louisiana | The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green [GIVEAWAY]

The Mark of the KingThe Mark of the King
by Jocelyn Green
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian, Romance

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SYNOPSIS: After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

REVIEW: This book kind of surprised me because I didn’t really know much about colonial Louisiana. I felt that the author did a really good job of describing the setting for those of us who are unfamiliar with it–I almost felt like I could walk out my front door and into a humid Louisiana summer. I appreciated that some of the characters and events were real so that if I was interested in learning more, I would be able to.

The characters were all nicely fleshed-out. I could really feel for Julianne throughout the book. She had to go through some really tough things, but she (mostly) kept a really positive attitude and it was obvious that she just wanted to embrace her fresh start and get to work. None of our characters are perfect and we definitely see their flaws, but that just makes them relatable and more likable in my opinion. One thing that I especially appreciated was that this book spanned over a few years so we could see Julianne, her relationships, and the city of New Orleans grow and develop.

The plot was interesting, though a little slow-moving at times. I wasn’t really surprised by any of the plot twists, but I still found reading the book to be enjoyable. I don’t read a ton of Christian Fiction (though I have been reading more since partnering with Litfuse) so it’s still a little hard for me to swallow the Christian storyline at times. It’s not that I don’t like the message (I, myself, am a Christian) but sometimes that part of the story seems a little forced or preachy. It just doesn’t come across as natural as I would hope it to be.

Overall, I really liked this book and I felt that it brought to light an aspect of history that’s often overlooked. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning more about colonial Louisiana or who just likes a good, clean Christian romance.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate (nothing explicit, just a lot of references to French soldiers spending the night with Native American women)


The Mark of the King Giveaway

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Jocelyn GreenABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.

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Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

BLOG TOUR: Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey [GIVEAWAY]

25320766Love, Lies, and Spies
by Cindy Anstey
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

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SYNOPSIS: Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

REVIEW: This book was quite enjoyable and reads a lot like a Jane Austen novel while at the same time using more modern language and is therefore a quicker read. The characters were great. I really enjoyed both Juliana and Mr. Spencer Northam and thought they had a really fun relationship. Carrie and Mr. Reeves were both awesome secondary characters who acted as a great support system for Juliana and other secondary characters were delightfully hateable. Characters weren’t 100% original, but I found myself enjoying them anyway.

There wasn’t too much of a plot throughout the book, which I was okay with, but it did make the overall story feel a little flatter. I was kind of bugged throughout that Juliana was supposed to be portrayed as this strong, intelligent woman, but then she keeps being put in physical danger where Mr. Northam has to save her. I would have just liked a little less “damsel in distress” and a little more “I don’t need a man to save me”.

Overall, I thought this book was a really fun read. The narration is witty and speeds the story along even if it seems like the author is trying a little too hard at times. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Jane Austen novels and regency era stories.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: None


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Version 2ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

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ANNOTATION: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

5971165The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date and # pages: January 1st 2009, 529 pages

Plot Summary: Elizabeth Woodville has lost both her husband and her lands to the Cousins’ war. She is left with two sons and has nothing left to lose as she pleads her case to the new king, Edward. Not only does she receive her lands back, but she finds herself secretly married to Edward as well. When the marriage is revealed, some are outraged and Elizabeth quickly makes enemies. As Elizabeth becomes accustomed to court, she is able to maneuver her family into position until the Rivers’ are one of the most powerful families at court. Things cannot stay peaceful for long however, and soon others are fighting her husband for the right to wear the crown. As a descendant of a water goddess, Elizabeth will do whatever she must to ensure her husband maintains the crown and that her son will wear it after.

Characteristics of Historical Fiction: Centers around both specific events and characters. Family saga as the series follows this family through generations. Language and characters are consistent with the time period. Readers are immersed in court life and the politics/motivations of various “players”.

Appeal Terms: Unhurried pace, descriptive language and details, character-driven

Read-alikes: The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson; The Virgin Queen’s Daughter by Ella March Chase; The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson; other titles by Philippa Gregory

BLOG TOUR: Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor [GIVEAWAY]

NKNora & Kettle
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Release Date: February 29th 2016

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SYNOPSIS: What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naïve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.

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REVIEW: This book…wow. I’ve never read anything quite like it. First let me start by saying that this book deals a lot with the mistreatment of individuals based on race as well as domestic violence/abusive relationships. If these are things that you have a hard time reading about, I advise you away from this book. That being said, I personally feel like these are really important things to read about and I feel like this book changed some of my perceptions.

The book started off a little slow for me. The reader is placed in the middle of some action so we have to play a little catch-up to really figure out just what is going on. I had a hard time figuring out what the plot might be or where this book was headed. It also seemed like it took forever for our protagonists to finally meet. For whatever reason I felt really anxious the whole time about them finding each other and that kept me from fully enjoying the first half of the book.

I really liked the historical portrait that was painted for us. It’s a very stark picture and it makes me so glad that I live in the time that I do. It’s hard for me to read about kids living on the street or being discriminated against based on race though I know it did (and still does) happen. Taylor did a great job of making the setting come alive and creating a believable backdrop.

Despite the fact that this book is based off of the Peter Pan story, I feel like this book really transcends that idea. Like I said earlier, it deals with really important topics and I am so glad that I read it. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction (especially Post-WWII era), fairy tale retellings, or just likes to read things that make them look at the world a little differently.

Overall Rating:4
Language: Moderate. Some stronger language scattered throughout.
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: None


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

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Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Settings

top-ten-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See or Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books — basically this week is all about the past or the future….spin it however you choose!

For this post I’ve decided to focus on the past. I like reading futuristic books, but it’s really hard for me to pinpoint what about them I like. Unlike most of my Top Ten Tuesdays, this list is actually in order of preference.

10) The French Revolution – I can’t actually think of any books that I’ve read in this time period, but it definitely appeals to me. I learned a bit about this time period in high school and it seems like a time when paranoia was high and spies were everywhere.
9) 1980s High School – Not really that long ago, but they didn’t have internet or cell phones or Spotify…how did people even live back then?
8) The Middle Ages – Knights and jousting and a lot of horse riding. Sometimes includes a damsel-in-distress, but more likely a damsel dressed as a knight.
7) 1950s America – It seems like life was so much simpler in a lot of ways back then. The country was in a rebuilding stage after WWII and the Great Depression.
6) Elizabethan England – The courts and the opulence. Politics and intrigue. Every book I’ve read from this time period has had so. much. drama.
5) The Victorian Era – Specifically the late 1800s. Think Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series or The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. This is really similar to the Regency Era, but there are some subtle differences. I feel like women have more of a role in society in this era. And if you want to throw some steampunk in there? By all means, go for it.
4) World War I – I’ve only read one book in this time period (In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters) but I loved it and I was so interested to learn more about WWI and the Spanish Flu and everything that was going on at this time.
3) The Roaring Twenties – Flappers and mobsters and prohibition and speakeasies. When I think about the 1920s I just picture a ton of glitz and glam and wild parties. Basically old-timey Gossip Girl.
2) Regency Era/Jane Austen – This is approximately the early 1800s. I love reading about the balls and the politics and the romance of this era.
1) World War II – What is it about this time period? It’s not too far in the past, but far enough that it feels like it was a lifetime ago. There was so much going on in the world at this time. So much possibility for drama.

BLOG TOUR: Every Big & Little Wish (Giveaway)

EveryBigLittleWishEvery Big & Little Wish by E.C. Moore 
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: October 20th 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

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SYNOPSIS: E.C. Moore’s young adult novel, Every Big and Little Wish, opens in late spring 1970. Sixteen-year-old Jacy Wilbert’s Mom got promoted, so her parents sold their Victorian home in California and moved to a townhouse in Oregon.

Torn away from the only home she’s ever known, forced to leave her beloved German shepherd behind, Jacy feels misplaced. Exacerbating an already terrible situation, her dad runs off with the bombshell real estate agent who sold them their townhouse. And, just when it seems things can’t get any worse, her mom loses the stupid job they left California for in the first place and begins to drown her sorrows with pink wine, night after night. Jacy’s caught in the middle, struggling to maintain a relationship with her AWOL dad while tolerating his annoying, much-younger girlfriend.

Missing old friends back in California, and feeling like an outsider, Jacy needs to build a new social life in a new school. Not the sort of girl to wait around for what she wants to come her way, she sets her sights on Neil Wilder, the best-looking boy around.

Everything changes when Jacy Wilbert knocks on the wrong door.

EXCERPT:  I was trying to decide whether I should I order a grilled cheese or a hamburger, when a girl’s voice cried out, “No stinking way!” I looked up from the menu to see a young woman holding a dumpling of a baby against her shapely hip. As she approached our booth it was impossible to determine whether the child was a boy or a girl.

“Neil Wilder what are you doing in town?” she wanted to know. She was good-looking, in a countrified sort of way.

“Hello, Renee. I’m here to visit Ray.” Neil’s cheeks turned pink. Was he blushing? He was. He was definitely blushing. I had never caused such a reaction.

Renee switched the baby from one hip to the other. “I heard he was placed with a family out in Amity. How old is Ray now?”

Neil’s neck muscles flexed. “Twelve.” “Kelly just had a birthday,” Renee gave the dumpling a playful jiggle, “didn’t you, Kelly?” The dumpling shyly tucked his-or-her adorable head into the crook of his-­or-­her mother’s slender neck.

“One year old last month,” Renee told Neil, “Doesn’t that blow your mind?” Kelly’s big eyes were heavily lashed. I admired them openly. Babies send me over the moon. I love everything about them.

I sensed Neil’s uneasiness. He avoided looking directly at Renee or the baby, mostly focusing on the menu. “Is that right?” he said, under his breath.

“And who might you be?” she asked, directing the phoniest of smiles in my direction. I can be perceptive when I want to be, and I could tell Renee wasn’t happy to see me. She tapped Neil’s shoulder before either one of us could answer. “Louise has moved on. I see you have too. Is this your Portland girlfriend?”

“This is Jacy. She’s from California.” “Nice to meet you,” she gushed, “Northern or Southern?”

“Southern. Your baby is sweet.”

Renee gave Kelly a quick squeeze, as if to acknowledge the truth in my remark. “You know,” she said, refocusing on Neil, I don’t think my little sister cares for Skip Mead the way she cared for you, but then you two were so perfect for each other in every way. I guess that’s to be expected.”

Neil was notably relieved when the waitress showed up to take our order and Renee said, “I’ll get out of your way now. Enjoy your lunch.”

I decided to go with a grilled cheese sandwich and a Coke. I didn’t ask about Renee. I didn’t ask whether Kelly was a boy or a girl. I didn’t bring up Renee’s sister Louise either. The last thing Neil needed was for me to badger him about the girlfriend he’d obviously been forced to leave behind. He didn’t say much during the meal. He didn’t finish his corn dog or his shake. And he didn’t order Ray’s pie. “Big Ray has a family now,” he said. “I bet his new mom bakes all the time. From what I can tell they take real good care of him.” He pushed his unfinished plate away. “We better pay up and get going now. I said we’d be there by one, and it’s at least a ten to fifteen minute drive to Amity.”

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ECABOUT THE AUTHOR: When Elizabeth’s not writing feverishly, you will find her out walking or sightseeing. She’s crazy about coffee, books, cooking, good wine, cairn terriers, miniature ponies, historical houses, tapas, and witty people.

She resides in a fifties bungalow in Southern California, with her creative-director, hubba-hubba husband, a yappy blonde dog, and one feisty Chihuahua.

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In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Mary Shelley Black (yes, named after the author) is a girl living in 1918. World War I is being fought across the sea and the Spanish Influenza has been wreaking havoc everywhere. After her father’s arrest, Mary Shelley heads to San Diego to live with her aunt. Once there, she is thrown into a world of spirit photography. With so many dying in the war and from the flu, many are desperate for any last contact with their loved ones. Mary Shelley doesn’t believe in these spirit photographers, but strange things have been happening to make her think that maybe she should.
51PB04sp+DL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I started reading this book right as Halloween was approaching. I wanted to read something atmospheric, but not too scary (I’m a scaredy cat). This book was so perfect for that! I loved The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters so I was super excited to read this one which I believe is her debut. She writes some of the most interesting historical fiction that I’ve read. She has the historical aspect, but then she also integrates some bit of the supernatural or paranormal. She takes a craze (like spirit photography or hypnotism) and makes it seem so much more real. I loved the real photographs that were scattered throughout the book. Some of them really add to the creepiness factor, but overall it was just a good reminder that even though this is fiction, people actually had to live through the Spanish Influenza Pandemic. I seriously can’t even imagine it.

Mary Shelley was a great protagonist. She was strong and smart in a time when women aren’t really supposed to be either of those things. And not only does she have those qualities, but she’s unashamed of who she is. She clearly thinks other people are idiots if they think that she’s less capable or shouldn’t be so interested in science. Here are a couple of quotes that I particularly liked regarding that:

“Why can’t a girl be smart without it being explained away as a rare supernatural phenomenon?”

“’The road ahead may be rather upsetting for a sixteen-year-old girl. I’m afraid your delicate female eyes and ears will experience some ugliness.’
‘Oh, you silly, naive men.’ I shook my weary head and genuinely pitied their ignorance. ‘You’ve clearly never been a sixteen-year-old girl in the fall of 1918.’”

She is seriously the best character. The other characters were great too. Obviously I wasn’t there, but I feel like Winters did a really good job of creating authentic characters. Mary Shelley’s aunt immediately comes to mind. She was raised to be a housewife. But when the war hits and her husband dies, she’s forced to go to work at the shipyard. She’s toughened up because of this, but there are still times when she’s a proper lady and the reader catches glimpses of that.

Overall, I thought this book was really quite good. I also love that it was set in San Diego and on Coronado Island (that’s where my husband and I went on our honeymoon!). It’s such a pretty area, and it makes a great backdrop for this story. Definitely recommend especially if you have any interest in ghost stories.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy. Some gore described, but not explicit.
Sexual Content: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

22749539Note: This post was used as a homework assignment and may contain spoilers.

Historical fiction is a genre that I enjoy but seldom read. I like that this book is mostly realistic, but has a slight mystical/magical element to it. I think that magical element will make the book more interesting and manageable for kids. I liked that we were given several different main characters to follow spaced a few years apart. It shows how the war and the time period affected different types of people and kids. First we’re introduced to a character on the German side of things. It was interesting to read about Germans who did not agree with Hitler—often I think all Germans get lumped together as being Nazi supporters when that likely was not the case. This could teach kids not to make blanket assumptions about groups of people. Not everyone within a group is going to agree on everything (or anything). Children can see how even families may not agree on everything—even really important issues. In the end, you may not ever come to an agreement, but you’re still a family and should still love each other.

Next we’re introduced to an American orphan and we see what life is like for him and his brother. Again, it gives the reader a realistic view of the hard circumstances that some of these kids had to grow up in. With the war, a lot of children were left orphans for various reasons. Their fathers were likely off at war (or killed in combat) while disease was hard to avoid as well without our modern medicine. Even though not explicitly stated, Mike and Frankie’s story is set during the Great Depression (you can learn more about the Great Depression here). During this period of time it was especially difficult to care for children. As shown in the book, orphanages were overrun by boys (and girls) without families. I think this line from the book especially sums up what many children must have felt during this time period: “If the blues meant a song begging for its life, then Mike’s middle section of ‘America the Beautiful’ was a cry for a place to call home” (pg 338). Many children just wanted a home, but circumstance prevented them from having that.

Lastly, we’re introduced to a Mexican-American girl whose family is trying to find a place where they can truly settle down. We learn about some prejudices that existed against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as well as what Japanese families had to deal with during the war. I was horrified at the treatment and suspicion that surrounded the Yamamotos. I was also deeply saddened by the Ward family as they grieved for their dead son. This book gives readers a little window into the everyday life of some of the normal people who were affected by the war. Another book that gives a window into everyday life during wartime is In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. This book is set during World War I and also talks a lot about the Spanish Influenza. Like Echo, it’s a historical fiction book with a little bit of the fantastical thrown in. I would also recommend The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker. While I haven’t read it, I understand that it’s also about children living during World War II.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin [ARC]

Hitler won World War II. Now Germania and Japan are in control of most of the world. To commemorate their glorious victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito have established a yearly motorcycle race. 20 teens from the ages of 14-18 may enter (10 from Japan and 10 Aryan Germanians), but only one will win and be awarded the iron cross. Yael is definitely not Aryan. In fact, she escaped from a Nazi prison camp when she was a little girl. She had been a victim of scientific experimentation and now she has the ability to “skinshift”. As a part of the resistance, her mission is to impersonate last year’s winner (the only female to have ever won), win the race, and assassinate Hitler at the Victor’s Ball on live TV.
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I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK. Seriously, it was fantastic. I haven’t read that much historical fiction, but I feel like it’s a genre that I could really get into. Especially World War II. I find that period especially interesting for whatever reason. The thing about this book that’s so great is the speculation. The author mentions in a note at the end that she likes to ask the question, “What if?” In this case, I really think it paid off. Even though there’s one major fantastical element (with Yael’s skinshifting), the rest all seems so plausible. Would something like this have happened if Hitler had won the war? Who knows?

The plot was great. It was straightforward and not too messy with other (irrelevant) subplots. I liked that it was so focused because it kept me interested in the story. There weren’t any distracting elements that way. Every few chapters or so the reader gets a flashback into Yael’s past, but it’s done so seamlessly that you don’t feel pulled out of the main narrative while you’re reading the backstory. The writing was also fantastic. Throughout the book Yael struggles a bit with her sense of identity and those passages are always written with such care. Beautiful, beautiful writing.

The characters were another highlight for me. They all had distinct personalities and I enjoyed getting to know some of the other racers. Yael as a character was a little unrelatable though. She’s very angry as a person. But even though I couldn’t connect as well with her, I was okay with that. I was still able to enjoy who she was as a character even though I couldn’t put myself in her shoes.

So yeah, I loved the book, but it wasn’t perfect. There were a few things that I had some issues with. First, the characters seem older than they’re supposed to be. Felix, Yael, Adele, and Luka are all supposed to be 17…but I couldn’t help but picture them in their 20s. It was just hard for me to imagine them as teenagers. Second, I had a hard time buying Yael’s skill on a motorcycle. Assuming she started training IMMEDIATELY after Adele won her first iron cross, that still only gives Yael one year of training. And then she’s just going to show up and race against guys who have been racing their whole lives and win? I just can’t believe it’s that “easy”.

Overall, the book was great. I had a couple of issues with it, but I still love it and seriously recommend it to ANYONE. It comes out officially 10/20 so make sure you go pre-order yourself a copy!

Overall Rating: 5
Language: None. All cursing is done in German.
Violence: Moderate. Some fighting and violence, but not too much gore. Some talk/description of blood.
Sexual Content: None (Some talk of breeding houses, but I wouldn’t really classify that as sexual content).
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate. Some drinking, quite a few mentions of “underage” smoking.

Note: I received this book free from both the NOVL and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross [ARC]

Arista is an orphan. When she was five years old she was brought to live with a man named Bones. He taught her and others how to steal and pick pockets. As she grew older, he started to use her as part of his blackmailing scheme. Now Arista is known as Lady A. She collects secrets and delivers them to Bones. She desperately wants to escape, but she has no way to make money without Bones finding out. Arista thinks she may have been able to find a way out by working with Bones’ rival, Wild–but switching sides may cost more than she expected.18368525

This book had a really intriguing concept to me, but I thought that Lady A was actually doing the blackmailing instead of working for someone who was. I think that story line would have been a bit more interesting to me. All the same, I thought the characters were interesting and definitely individuals. I really liked Arista’s relationship with Becky. I thought it was just a really sweet friendship. I also liked the friendship that was with Sophia, but it did feel a little less genuine. Sophia starts chatting her up right away and I don’t know if I really find that believable. Grae was also an interesting character but he might be a little too perfect. Wild and Bones were both extremely hateable.

Overall, the plot was just pretty good. Nothing (really) unexpected happened even though the author tried to throw a twist in there at the end. I thought the romance was too rushed. It went from Grae saying, “I don’t trust you” to “Marry me” in about 20 pages. I know they supposedly had this connection, but it was just too fast. I wanted Arista to work harder for it and I also wanted Grae to have to work for it as well. Again, he was just too perfect and too accepting of who Arista is and what she’s done as Lady A. I mean, I wanted him to forgive her eventually, but I thought it just happened too fast.

Another thing that kind of bugged me was that I felt like the author made a big deal about Sophia and Louis. Louis is just some random poor guy that Sophia likes (loves?). Arista then reports their relationship to Grae and…nothing happens. Literally, it’s as if Louis was never even mentioned. It was so strange! When it was happening Arista was super suspicious–especially because it looked like Louis had some dealings with Wild. But then we never hear about it again. Was he a good guy? Was he just going after Sophia for her money? I just felt like this point was made to feel important, but then it was never resolved.

Overall, this book was pretty good. I liked most of the characters and the plot line moved at a good pace. There were just a few things that I felt were missing or could have been done better.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Sexual Content: Moderate (prostitution).
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.