The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman // Book Reviews

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WARNING: the synopsis will spoil you for the FIRST book of this series, so if you don’t want to be spoiled – go read and come back so we can discuss!

26061581The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

Series: Lady Helen (#2)
Genres: Paranormal, Historical Fiction
Publication: January 31st 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 496
Source: Borrowed

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.


PLOT

This was such a fun and intense sequel. Unlike a lot of second book sequels, this one isn’t a filler story. In fact, it contributed so much to the progression and intensity of the series. This sequel involves a very intriguing story that’s built on a great foundation provided by the first novel. We get a wider scope of the world of reclaimers and demons, and experience it through Helen’s perspective. A large focus in the story involves the dark days club being super convinced that Carlston isn’t loyal or stable for the club, so SPYING!

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Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson // Book Reviews

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I have a spoiler free review for Ashes, book #3 of the Seeds of America trilogy. I really enjoyed the first 2 books of the series so if you want to know my thoughts on the finale, read on!

28591677Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

Series: Seeds of America (#3)
Genre: Historical fiction
Publication: October 4th 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
Source: Borrowed
3 stars

Return to the American Revolution in this blistering conclusion to the trilogy that began with the bestselling National Book Award Finalist Chains and continued with Forge, which The New York Times called “a return not only to the colonial era but to historical accuracy.”

As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon have narrowly escaped Valley Forge—but their relief is short-lived. Before long they are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down. With purpose and faith, Isabel and Curzon march on, fiercely determined to find Isabel’s little sister Ruth, who is enslaved in a Southern state—where bounty hunters are thick as flies.

Heroism and heartbreak pave their path, but Isabel and Curzon won’t stop until they reach Ruth, and then freedom, in this grand finale to the acclaimed Seeds of America trilogy from Laurie Halse Anderson.


GENERAL THOUGHTS

I have been waiting years for this series to conclude. This book didn’t captivate me like the first two, but the research is still impressive. I wasn’t a fan of the clumsy misunderstandings that took place for a lot of the first half of the book. It felt a bit predictable. I just didn’t find this book that entertaining.

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon // Book Reviews

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I’ve got a mostly spoiler-free review of this 800 page monster, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Yes I read an adult novel and I enjoyed it! Now let’s dive into it…

685403Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Series: Outlander (#1)
Genres: Historical fiction, Romance
Publication: June 1st 1991 by Dell Publishing Company
Pages: 850
Source: Borrowed
4 stars

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


GENERAL THOUGHTS

I got through this faster than I thought I would. Despite some problematic scenes, I enjoyed most of the book. It wasn’t as graphic as the impression I got from a lot of readers and I’m pleased about that. My thoughts on this  book and the characters in particular may be unconsciously influenced by the TV show adaptation as I have watched the first season of it and those thoughts may merge with my experience reading this novel.

Nonetheless, this was a truly emotional read with the many close encounters of torture, assault, rape and a whole lot of violence. I know this turned a lot of people off the book but I believe it helped illustrate the harshness of Claire’s situation. However, it did get to a point where it was a tad too much and its prevalence became repetitive.

 

 

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The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines // Book Reviews

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I’ve got a review for the sequel of The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines so if you haven’t read the first book, it might be a good idea to read that before you jump into this review. However, this is a spoiler free review so if you haven’t read this book, you can still read on!

12923321The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines

Series: The Girl is Murder (#2)
Genres: Historical fiction, Mystery
Publication: July 3rd 2012 by Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 336
Source: Borrowed
3.5 stars

Iris Anderson and her father have finally come to an understanding. Iris is allowed to help out at her Pop’s detective agency as long as she follows his rules and learns from his technique. But when Iris uncovers details about her mother’s supposed suicide, suddenly Iris is thrown headfirst into her most intense and personal case yet.


REVIEW

I found myself enjoying most of the book for the first half. However the quickened pace towards the end made me lose interest a bit as the scenes were short and uneventful. There were many turns in this novel that left me gobsmacked and others that were predictable. I felt the suspense and danger were very much present throughout the novel however, I felt the resolution was too fast.Read More »

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan // Book Reviews

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I’m back for the week until my exams start again and I’ve been delaying this review too long. This is going to a spoilerish review because I’m going to talk about some things that may seem spoiler-like but personally I don’t think they are. So a warning nonetheless. I hope you enjoy!!

Image result for maid of secretsMaid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Series: Maid of Honor (#1)
Genres: Historical fiction, Mystery
Publication: May 7th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Source: Borrowed
3.5 stars

Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?


REVIEW

SPIES! ASSASSINS! MURDER! And historical fiction – literally (almost) all my loves. A fun read but I honestly expected more. It engaged me most of the time but there were some cringeworthy scenes. Set in Tutor times, some events or reactions to certain events didn’t seem plausible, especially in terms of punishments (can you tell I wanted more gore?).

I was very optimistic going into this book because it promised some thrilling adventures, crime and mysteries. Sounds great right? And it delivered to some extent.

This book is set in Tutor times in England where our protagonist Meg gets caught pickpocketing. Yes her situation sounds bad. But her punishment is becoming one of the closest secret spies for the queen, a maid of honour. Not very realistic but I was able to look past that because SPIES. I thought punishments during Tutor times were harsh and I thought this book was going to be brutal – spoiler (not): it was not.

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Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown // Book Reviews

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So this is by first book review and its going to be about Velvet Undercover (as you probably know from the multiple titles displayed in this post). I’ve heard no hype whatsoever around this book but I liked the premise so I read it and these are my thoughts…

18658082Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

Genres: Historical fiction, Mystery
Publication: October 20th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Source: Borrowed
3 stars

Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche, she’s torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can’t refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity…


I love spy stories and historical fiction so when I saw this book I was like yes, give me now. The cover is bit misleading and doesn’t contribute to the story or attract the audience I think it wants. Anyway, onwards to the actual content. If you are looking for a mind-blowing spy thriller I don’t really recommend this novel. It is a bit more on the juvenile side and an overall short and enjoyable story that explores the complexities in defining morality. It follows an English teenage spy blackmailed, and sent to Germany during World War I on a mission, with a new identity to retrieve an asset in exchange for the discovery of more information about the disappearance of her father. I lowered the rating to 3 stars the more I thought about it because though it was an entertaining novel and  the plot intrigued most of the time, I did have some issues with the simplicity of the writing and character development.

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