“A Desperate Hope” by Elizabeth Camden— Book Review

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Alex Duval and Eloise Drake were once lovers. Forced to break up, they haven’t seen each other in years.

Eloise has long decided she doesn’t need the recklessness of her ex-love in her life (she wants a stable life, which one can’t blame her for wanting…), so she doesn’t try to contact him even though she knows he’s become mayor of his childhood home, Duval Springs.

But then her job requires her to go to assess the worth of the houses of Duval Springs…. Kind of awkward, because she’s working for the State. And the State is relocating every one in this small town to make a place for a large water supply in New York City.

And Alex? Yeah, he is not happy about it. O_o

What I Enjoyed…

Great historical atmosphere. I can tell Camden puts great effort in writing a tale that gives her readers more than just a glimpse into early twentieth century New York. It was so sad seeing a reflection of what happened to citizens over a century ago, and I appreciated getting some insight into this part of history.

Her magnificent writing style added a magical touch to this book. *claps* I don’t know how to eloquently describe it, but the way she writes is a great balance of description and dialogue. (And boy, is she royalty when it comes to witty dialogue.)

I loved how mentally strong the heroine is portrayed.  I think that my favorite part about historical heroines is their inner strength, and Eloise Drake is a perfect example. Sure, she has regrets from the past and fears for the future. But she handles them pretty well, and her ability to maneuver in the male-dominated business world was awesome!👌.

Alex Duval is worthy of heart eyes. 😍.  Just about every time I read an Elizabeth Camden book, I fall in love with the story’s hero. And the Mayor of Duval Springs is no exception. *sighs* I loved his optimism. His presence just made the book so hopeful (pun kind of intended) despite there being an abundance of issues. And he is a crier. Ya’ll, I loved seeing a man shedding tears shown as a positive thing. Not to mention kind of adorable.

Star crossed lovers. Another trope I adore to the moon and back, this part of the tale made for some criss-crossing emotional drama, and I ate it up. In the words of Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean: JUST KISS!

Anything in the tale make me feel hopeless? (pun intended)

Some slow spots. Most historical books have them, so I won’t rant. Camden expertly weaved in some surprises when the book seemed to be taking a slower pace. So not a big deal for me, and it did not significantly lower the rating.

On that note, I give “A Desperate Hope” by Elizabeth Camden a rating of four and a half, and I recommend to fans of Christian Historical with some romance. It is the third book in a series, but can be read and enjoyed without reading the first two. 😀

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

*Thanks to the author and publisher for a free complementary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

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“Sky in the Deep” by Adrienne Young

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Imagine you are a female viking warrior who finds out your “dead” brother is fighting with the enemy? (So awkward.)

Then said brother captures you, and you become a slave for his adopted family. (RUDE!)

This, my friends, is “Sky in the Deep.”

And I enjoyed most of it, like…

Female friendship. I don’t mind some female drama in books, but it was a nice change to see strong friendship promotion instead of frenemy frenzies everywhere. (Basically, maturity was portrayed.) 👏👏👏

The story was not very complicated, yet it was still interesting. Made for an overall easier & quicker than normal read.

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Made me feel like I was a total strong viking girl who can conquer anything… (When in reality the only thing I sometimes feel I can conquer is eating a whole entire cupcake in one bite.) In all seriousness, the world development was awesome.

My favorite romantic trope was used… I really like stories that have enemies to lovers. (Is it horrible that I love this?) It just makes for some entertaining reading, and this book delivered.

Betrayal and reunion. Another story line that is probably not a healthy thing for me to find entertainment in. But stories that show very close characters’ relationships tear apart so that they become like strangers/enemies? Ya’ll, that’s intensely intriguing stuff. (Especially if it is a sibling…). I mean, THEY HAVE TO FIX THIS!!!

Characters learning to look at people who are different and see that the difference does not make them less human. I liked seeing the heroine learn to see humanity in people she was taught to hate.

Did anything about this book make me an unhappy viking? Hm…

There are some extremely unpleasant violence scenes. One in particular made me squeamish, and I’m not easily disturbed. O_o

Some uncomfortable for me scenes. One part of the book has the heroine left tied to a tree with no top on. Nothing romantically indecent happened, but (like I’ve noted) not a scene I was comfortable reading. There was also one romance scene that got a tad too much for my reading preference.

It had a pretty serious tone. Not a lot of comic relief, which means it definitely could have used a Hiccup character. :-/

Now that I’ve reached the cessation of my bookish ramblings, I ‘ll conclude by saying that I found this an overall engaging book. A book that was almost a five star. But because of the objectionable for me content, I’m giving it a rating of four.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

The Month Finale— January 2019

January 2019 is over. It kind of feels like it was long, but also somewhat short? I know. That makes little (if any) sense. O_o

Anyways, here’s a recap of my first month of 2019.

Books I Read

 

Not my personal BEST reading month, but it is the most I have finished reading in awhile. So I’m okay with it. Favorite was “Caraval.”

Dramas:

 

Note to self: STOP WATCHING MULTIPLE DRAMAS AT ONE TIME!!!!

This habit is making it hard for me to finish these shows. Sure, I watched some, but I’ve yet to finish any. *full of shame*

Favorite so far is “What’s Wrong Secretary Kim,” but “The Crowned Clown” is pretty epic. Oh,  and “Encounter” is adorable! Probably will finish it first, in fact.

And if you were wondering what my opinion of “Kingdom” is… Let’s say I felt sick watching it. While Train to Busan had some scary scenes and violence,  this Korean zombie fest topped TTB off. 😱  (And I’ve said this before, but why do Korean zombies have the ability to run? Makes them super freaky.) I stopped watching it for now. Might continue it, but not sure when…

E-Books I Bought/Snagged For Free

 

I have been having some financial struggles, so buying a lot of physical books has not been something I have had the ability to do. *a thousand tears fall* On a positive note, I was able to go to some bookstores and wave hello to some of the books I wanted to adopt…

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*coughs* Moving on…

 I did manage to snag some Kindle books for cheap, so… #blessed. I procured over 20 (!) new books for prices I could afford. 😍 On sale box sets. Freebies. Less than $1 sales. *happy choir breaks the ceiling*

Here’s to February! Despite its shorter run, I’m hopeful to get more accomplished in the book/drama department. 😀

 

“Flights of Fancy” by Jen Turano— Book Review

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Who is the queen of Christian Romantic Comedy? Jen Turano, of course. And her newest novel is an absolutely adorable addition to her books…

This book follows an American Heiress who flees from a life of luxury in an attempt to avoid the attentions of an unseemly aristocrat who desires to wed her (seriously unseemly 😜). With the help of a couple of well meaning butlers, she finds herself applying for a position as a housekeeper of a country abode called Glory Manor…

What I Liked:

An igniter of crazy and (almost) insane smiles. Jen has a special gift for making some of the best funny situations I’ve EVER read. (Seriously, how does she do it?!) I want to jabber on about some, but shall refrain for potential readers’ sakes. 😉

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It has the rich girl on a farm trope. This plot devise has so much potential for a tale that’s meant to be funny, and I loved this book’s rendition of it.

Three words: Buttercup and Elmer. This cow and chicken duo were just so darling, and they made for some sidesplitting scenarios! Totally adorbs. (Which says a lot coming from me. I live on a farm, and I don’t particularly get along with our cow and chickens… O_o )

A “put your hand on your forehead and swoon” romance— Even though the hero and heroine don’t spend every waking moment basking in each other’s company, their journey to love just takes my emotions on so many levels of happy. And they have a shared love of books! *swoons again*

It had me thinking on some life priorities. I won’t go into much detail so as not to accidentally blab a spoiler, but it depicted how sometimes we can be focused on one thing, or living in a self-focused way, and therefore pass up on opportunities to help others around us.

Now here comes the hard part. Talking about what wasn’t so great about the story… hm… 🤔

I guess I wanted more cute hero/heroine moments? What? Not a suitable complaint? Well, okay… Some parts were slow BECAUSE there needed to be more hero/heroine moments. 😉

Anywho…

“Flights of Fancy” by Jen Turano gets a 4 and a half star rating, and I’m looking forward to what shenanigans will occur in the future books of this series.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

*Thanks to the author and publisher for a complementary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Additions. 📚

Yay, a Top Ten Tuesday Post!!! I haven’t joined in on these since… well, a long time. Happy to be doing one again! Oh, and you can find others’ Top Ten Tuesday posts at The Artsy Reader Girl.

Today’s prompt is called “Recent Additions to My TBR List.” So I’m sharing ten of my most recent TBR additions…

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“House of Salt and Sorrows” by Erin A. Craig—- A retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses with a ghostly aura. Mwhahaha, me like.

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“Curse and Consequence” by Savannah Jezowski-— This one looks like a Mary Robinette Kowal book, but with a lot more comedy. 😍

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“Five Feet Apart” by Rachael Lippincott, with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis—The trailer for the upcoming film looks equally adorable and heartbreaking. Want to read the book first.

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“The Night Tiger” by Yangsze Choo— Just found this in the past week. Would have been an anticipated 2019 release for sure. Isn’t the cover BEEE-AUTIFUL???!!!

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“To Court a Queen” by H.L. Burke—- Fairy book! Hee hee, yesssss.

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“Girl with Flying Weapons” by Aya Ling— One of my dear friends and I have started buddy reading books with Asian influence. She found this one to add to our TBR, and I’m sooooo excited. 😄

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“Pathways” by Camille Peters— I could be wrong, but the synopsis for this one gave off some Beauty and The Beast vibes… Also, LOVE THAT COVER!

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“Dragon Pearl” by Yoon Ha Lee— I don’t read a lot of MG books, but this was had me sold with it having nine-tailed foxes.

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“In the Shadow of Croft Towers” by Abigail Wilson— A Mysterious, Gothic looking Regency? *holds out hands*

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“Dark of the West” by Joanna Hathaway-— Awesome title? Check. Lovely cover? Check. Likened to The Winner’s Curse series? SO many checks.

And there you have it, lovely readers. What are some books you’ve recently added to your TBR???

“Caraval” by Stephanie Garber— Book Review

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Scarlett Dragna has wanted to see the magical performance of the games of Caraval since she was a little girl. Now engaged to a count (who she only knows through letters :-/ ), she is ready to put childish dreams away in favor of feeling a sense of security. Yet when her wedding draws nigh—days away, fyi—she finally gets the chance to go to the wondrous game. And it is there that she is thrust into a spectacular adventure where not everything is what it seems… 

My Review:

It was worth the hype. Hype is scary, y’all. It makes a book look more enchanting, but it also fills me with a sense of caution so that I give it a stinky eye as I buy it. 😉😂  So yes, this book gave me a little more faith in radical book adoration.

Entrancing Writing. I love it when descriptions are dripping with dazzling words. (Also makes the writer part of me want to sob because I want to write like that! 😭)

The OTP. Ya’ll, this pair. I love it when characters grow to love each other. I want to stand on a virtual stage and share more detailed reasons why I love their romance, but it would be full of spoilers. So here’s a heart: ❤.

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Lots of plot spinning. It was basically like riding a carousel that kept switching directions, and even pulling a Mary Poppins by abandoning the carousel all together. O_o

Enchantment and Whimsy… Caraval was just the sort of place that stretches the mind with extraordinary delights. It was alike to Alice in Wonderland with its quaint oddness, yet also a Carnival in Italy? Yeah, that makes sense to me. Both of these wrapped together? L-O-V-E-D it.

Negatives…

It was magical, but overshadowed by darkness. Scarlett and her sister are mistreated by their father. There’s violence. People also doing what they please because Caraval supposedly has no consequences… So it was not a puffy and 100% cute read.

I loved the main couple, but there were some romantic moments that made uncomfortable. My cheeks were red beacons.

Now I can finally say I’ve read “Caraval!” I kind of totally regret avoiding this book for so long, but maybe the wait lowered my expectations so that it was much better than I anticipated? Whatever the case, this book was overall a four and half star read. I recommend to lovers of remarkable YA fantasy, those who like being transported to crazy places, and fans of The Greatest Showman cause it was also kind of like a Circus book. 😉

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

The Improbable Rereads of 2019

Once upon a time, I was not a HUGE fan of rereading.

Me during that time: “There are so many books I want to read but haven’t. There is no need to revisit a book unless it is The Lunar Chronicles amazing…”

Well, Grace in the past. You were a misguided soul back in the old days. Because rereading is an awesome thing. And last year I had a larger than usual desire to reread books. I think it was an emotional thing where I just needed my old book friends because life was stinky???

To my disappointment, I did not get around to doing all the rereading I wanted in 2018 (😭), so I’m hoping to get to more in 2019.

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1. Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl— I have much adoration for this severely underappreciated bundle of magic…eh, series of fantasy books. It has been over 8 years since I first read book 1, and I miss this world.

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2. The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani— I started rereading the School For Good and Evil series last year, but life happened and I only finished the first 2. So Book 3 is one I really want to get to before I start the sequel series.

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3. Ellie Sweet books by Stephanie Morril— Such a cute duology. And contemporary set novels aren’t my favorite, so wanting to revisit these books says a lot for their awesomeness.

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4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh-— I want to freshen my memory before reading book two because my brain has decided to be mortal and forget things. 😐

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5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer—- One of the few series I have read more than once  (ecxept Winter), and I need to do it again because they are 💛.

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6. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson— I read an ARC of this one and liked it well enough (the ending was exceptionally amazing),  but had some content issues. 😞 Some years have passed since, and I want to give it a second chance because I’ve been curious about its sequels. (All the praise is influencing me…)

7. First Two Books in The Unblemished Trilogy by Sara Ella— I want to read the third book, but want to go through the first two before I try. Thankfully I have them on audio.

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8. The “Blood of Kings” trilogy by Jill Williamson— One of my favorite series EVER. They are staring at me from the top of my bookcase, begging me to go on an adventure once again.

Will I get to all of these? I don’t know. But Imma gonna try.

*laughs madly*

Are you planning on rereading any books this year?