A Curious Beginning

“After all, I might not intend to use him for a plaything, but I could still appreciate looking through the toy-shop window.” –Veronica Speedwell

 

This quote just caught my fancy while reading. It really shows Veronica’s personality and spunk. I loved how promiscuous Veronica was, it was so refreshing because she was so very smart about it with all of her rules and stipulations. It’s so hard to find such a forthright and independent female character in this time period that doesn’t swoon at every instance or completely muck up most of an investigation. Then comes along Mr Stroker to make her reconsider a few of her affair stipulations. While she doesn’t break any of them in this book I do believe a time will come in the future for her and Mr. Stroker to get together, at least I hope so.

Overall I really did like this novel. There were some parts that seemed pretty obvious to me and the beginning was interesting but slow on the mystery part. I enjoyed that they were both Natural Historians but from different branches, so they had something in common but were different enough to be interesting. For me it was a career of that time period that I hadn’t read in a novel before so it really made the whole book all the more intriguing. There were a few points of back and forth with trust issues, pot calling kettle black, and holding back/leaving out information that’s important. Once Veronica and Stroker finally get on the same page they become a remarkable duo of adventure chasing sleuths.

While they did solve the mystery there are still many questions left and criminals on the loose. I’m interested in seeing what the next book holds, if it will continue on with the same bad guys as the main focus or if they will be introducing a completely new mystery to be solved. I guess I’ll just have to go read the next book to find out.

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Just a little shelfie. Do you have a favorite bookmark? When I was younger I was terrible about losing bookmarks so to this day I mostly use whatever is laying around such as an old dentist appointment card or the business card to my local tea shop. Occasionally I use small photos of my twins that I didn’t use while scrap-booking or these lovely handmade teacup and tea kettle bookmarks I was given as a gift. Thankfully I am getting better at not losing them.

March Wrap Up

March has been a good reading month overall. I’ve started a new series, had a couple rereads, and am making nice dent in my owned TBR pile.

I was introduced to the Kay Scarpetta series by a relative and absolutely loved this first book. The next few were good but now on books #9 and #10 I’m really starting to question if I want to continue this series. Point of Origin had an interesting murder mystery, at least until Carrie Grant started making an appearance again. I really thought we were done with that plot line. The ending was very lacking as well. I’ve come to believe if there isn’t a body they are most likely not dead. Black Notice was basically everybody is against Kay, everybody wants to ruin Kay, or maybe it was just that Kay was being stupid. Its all very bureaucratic, he said she said with very little criminal insight. Overall not impressed. I’ve already started reading The Last Precinct (#11) and its not looking up. It seems to be a continuation of Black Notice with just as much he said she said and everybody out to get Kay. Bleh.

On to better books! As you know if you’ve read my previous posts Time Travel was my book groups theme this month. I read Legend by Jude Deveraux, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren. You can follow the links for the first two books to get a more in depth review but overall I seriously enjoyed them both. Unfortunately Waterfall felt a little lacking after reading two such interesting books. I’m not sure if it was the YA aspect or if it was because it felt so short. Overall the book was good, plot and characters, but it just felt too juvenile for my preferences.

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe was a delectable fun read. You can see my full review here!

I am really excited for what books April will bring. My book group is planning to read fairytale and folklore retellings! So far I have picked Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik! There are a couple other ones I’m looking into reading but these are my top picks. I am also reading Blood Rights by Kristen Painter for a different book group and for my own pleasure I am hoping to read The Redbreast by Jo Nesbon. Ive heard such good things about this series, I’m really looking forward to it.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading this month!!

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Outlander

For the month of March my book group is reading Time Travel themed books. My second pick for this theme was Outlander (my first being Legend). It’s been on my TBR list for a little while now and I’ve put off watching the show in order to read the book first. I find a book like this so hard to review. I enjoyed this book so much, much more than expected, therefore I find myself nit picking small silly things.

There’s an opening quote about missing people that really piqued my interest. “Disappearances, after all, have explanations. Usually.” Seriously, the while quote really made me go into this thinking I might like it more than I originally thought. Originally I went into this book with a little apprehension that I wouldn’t like it or that it would get boring, 850 pages is a lot! Once I started though I could not put it down.

Gabaldon writes beautifully. Accents can be so tough but I feel that she writes them so that you get a feel for the language but not heavy enough to where you cant understand what the character is saying. The main and minor characters have such depth and are interesting without taking away from the main plot. The plot alone is amazing, she weaves this story connecting all of these people in a complicated but intriguing dynamic. Its such a detailed story and thankfully all of the details really add to it rather than bogging it down and making it boring. I can say I never felt bored while reading. There were a few times where it felt the characters where maybe getting a little to comfortable in the setting which was usually remedied but some conflict right around the corner.

The romance aspect was nice but maybe a little sappy even for me. This is me just being nit picky. As much as I like Jamie I find that I love him and Claire together more than anything which makes the story better (face it, at some point we’ve all shipped a main character with someone else or even ourselves so when the main couple are perfect for each other it makes me story better for me).

I really cant wait to see where this story goes. At the moment I have only checked the books out from my local library (Dragonfly in Amber coming soon!) but these book are definitely on my Wish List To Buy!

Have you read the series? Watched the show? Tell me your thoughts!

Whatever Bakes Your Cake

The Great British Bake Off is my crack. Seriously this is one of my absolute favorite tv shows. The ultimate downside is because I live in the US I have only been able to watch 3 out of 7 seasons. They’ve recently been added back to Netflix therefore the baking bug has bit me something fierce. I sit here re-watching Season 2 (which is actually Season 4) as I type while nibbling on this delicious Magic Vanilla Custard Cake. Not only does it drive me to actually bake but it also forces me to abandon my To Be Read books for a familiar sweet treat.

Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe is an adorable chick-lit romance packed with delicious goodies. Not only do you get a charming novel you also get recipes for the confections described in the book. Ill be honest and say I have not tried to actually make one of these recipes but I am determined to try one before I finish reading it this time. 

I remember really enjoying this read my first go around just a cute fun read with great friendships and a sweet romance. I am over half way through reading now and this time is a little different. The uncertainty Issy feels and hoops she jumps through to open her dream bakery bring to mind my dream to open a bookstore. I’ve done a lot of serious research and while it wont happen this year (or probably even the next) I WILL open my dream bookstore one day.

The friendships in this book are amazing. These women come from many different backgrounds but come together to form amazing bonds. Granted they all aren’t exactly friends in the beginning, its lovely to see the friendships form and grow.

Overall I love this book and highly recommend it for a fun delectable read!

February’s Reads

In January I read a whooping 9 books. February was a little slower only reading 5 books. Not bad though.

Brownies and Broomsticks (Magical Bakery Mystery #1)
By Bailey Cates

Loved this cute cozy mystery. Books that revolving around food and cooking are usually my favorites and this one was no different. I also picked this book up because of the Savannah Georgia setting which is right near where I live. It’s fun reading about places familiar to me even if they are technically fictional. The mystery was cute and not too easy to figure out. This was my favorite read of February.

Unhooked
By Lisa Maxwell

This was an ok read. I didn’t love it. As a Once Upon A Time fan the plot felt too familiar and there were a couple unanswered questions at the end that I felt were pretty vital. Gosh, that cover is gorgeous though!

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9)
By J.R. Ward

I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. A few times I’ve felt reluctant starting a book, the synopsis just not catching my attention, then once I read it I absolutely love it! I have yet to read one I didn’t like. While this book was mostly about Payne and Manny I did prefer the relationship growth between Z and Jane. The connection Ward weaves between people and relationships is just amazing.

Cause of Death (Kay Scarpetta #7)
By Patricia Cornwell

I’m steadily making my way through the Kay Scarpetta series. This book was good (better than the previous) but the crime portion didn’t interest me much and the ending felt too abrupt and didn’t really wrap everything up like I would have preferred.

Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta #8)
By Patricia Cornwell

While I enjoyed the crime portion of this book the personal relationships were really dragging me down. I can understand where Kay is coming from being set in her ways but she’s obviously in need of a personal human contact so hopefully she gets over this bump soon.

Talk about a plot twist!!

Legend by Jude Deveraux

Start: 3/4/17      End: 3/6/17

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Wow this book threw me for a loop. First off I don’t normally read time travel but my book group is reading books featuring time travel this month so I thought I’d start with this book since I’ve read Deveraux before and enjoyed her books. I expected a nice fluffy romance, girl travels to the past, falls in love, decides to never leave. So not the case.

This book was no thought provoking read but it was exactly what I wanted, pure entertainment in the best way. Yes there was one or two plot points you just had to ignore and some insta-love but come on, time travel fated lovers, what do you expect?

From the beginning I enjoyed Kady’s character, I am a sucker for a book about a chef, and of course was pretty wary of Gregory.  When we get around to meeting Cole he does seem like a nice man but his problem with telling fibs raked my nerves. In the end I understand his mindset and it makes all the difference.

Once Kady has met and listened to Ruth’s side of the story I was seriously stunned. Staring off into space can’t wrap my brain around it stunned. Never would I have guessed that plot twist but looking back it absolutely fit.

After leaving Ruth with the promise to visit the Jordan descendent in her time Kady returned having spent months in 1800 Legend Colorado only to have a few hours pass by in the present. Much had happened in that little time and it had changed Kady for the better. She had really found her confidence, realized her worth, and thankfully got rid of Gregory.

Kady and C. T. Jordan meeting for the first time was insta-love as to be expected. As cold and calculated as he seemed I liked him overall, unfortunately he does have that Jordan fib telling trait.

On their quest left by Ruth in her will they head to present day Legend, Colorado. After some more time jumping, lots of teasing flirting, and a little hanky panky everyone is where they belong and it’s happily ever after.

I have now found out there is technically a second book but it is a short story and I am working to get my hands on it. It seems to be about Cole and the woman he married. There are a few characters I would like to know what happened too so I hope it at least mentions them.

Overall I found the book to be a fun read and am now scouring more Jude Deveraux books to read.

Maximum Ride: Max

Maximum Ride 5By James Patterson

This is the fifth book in the series.

Not my favorite. As I have said before the first two books were the best. This one was better than the last. This book at least had a villain and they were able to mostly defeat him. By this I mean I will not be surprised when he shows up in a later book.

On this adventure Max and the flock have to save Max’s mom. Along the way Max finally accepts her feelings for Fang and learns how to deal with them although she is still always super jealous of other girls. The only thing that bothers me is most of the time Max thinks about civilians and what not when bringing down the evil guy but this time she didn’t really seem to care, all she was focused on was her mom. As great as this series could be I don’t think they live up to the potential. Kind of disappointing.

-Taylor

Maximum Ride: The Final Warning

 By James Patterson

This is the fourth book in this series with at least three books following. I listened to all of these by audio book and for the first two books I would sit in my car just a little longer to hear what happened next. They always kept me on my toes. Around the third book they began to almost slow down. This fourth book felt very watered-down compared to the first books.

This book starts out with Max and the gang looking for their next mission in saving the world. People high up in the government are lookinginto building a school or facility for the flock to learn at while the government studies them. The flock, always wary of people wanting to ‘study’ them, denies them and leaves. Max’s mother contacts them later claiming to have found a way for them to help save the world. They met and the next thing the flock knows they are headed to Antarctica to help research global warming. Angel gets lost in a snow storm after trying to get her very own Penguin (can’t
say I wouldn’t want one either) Max and Fang come to save her only to all be captured by some evil Frankenstein like soldier. Once the gang in bought in front of the Uber Director he reveals his plan to auction them off to as weapons for war all the while a hurricane is brewing outside. As the auction
begins and the Uber Director realizes that the flock is not so easily controlled the hurricane outside reaches category 4 and finally bursts through the windows destroying the Uber Director and his soldiers. Max and the gang stick it out through the storm and head back to Washington where Max’s mom and Jeb wait. Max ends up talking in front of the congress in the behalf of global warming and attends
the opening of a new school especially for the flock and other kids like them. In the end the voice in Max’s head comes back with more coordinates to save the world.

I don’t know if you can tell or not but I didn’t really like this book at all very much, nowhere near as good and action packed as the earlier books. Although I do plan to finish the series hopefully they will not
go downhill from here.

Your thoughts?

-Taylor

The Deception of the Emerald Ring

 By Lauren Willig

This is the third installment in the Pink Carnation series and by far my favorite. As any series goes I highly recommend reading the first two books before this one, otherwise you will be very lost in a great deal of the plot.

Eloise Kelly is a history major researching spies, from the French and English war, in London where she meet Mr. Collin Selwick who happens to be a decedent of the great Purple Gentian. After Collin abruptly ended Eloise’s research through his family papers, she obsesses over reasons for why her cell has yet to ring with his number on the called id. Continuing her research she comes across the hasty marriage between Letty Alsworthy and Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe.

As Letty does her best to thwart the midnight elopement between her older sister and Sir Pinchingdale, her identity is mistaken and causes quite the scandal. Because of the man Geoffrey is, he does the honorable thing in asking for Letty’s hand in marriage. As soon as the “I do’s” are over Geoffrey heads to Ireland in aid of the Pink Carnation. Letty, not wanting to stick around to hear the town talk of her groom not being able to stand his new bride and leaving her, she catches a boat to Ireland traveling under the name of Mrs. Alsdale. Letty is soon caught up in the plans of the Pink Carnation to extinguish the brewing Irish Rebellion and possibly help her marriage.

Although sometimes it throws the reader off switching between the time periods, Willig creates a wonderful complex story. Most if the time I prefer reading the historical romance parts of the book but Eloise’s story captures my attention as well. Sometimes she may seem desperate and needy but then again most women are even though they’d never admit it. All together I would definitely recommend this book and series to all of my friends.

My favorite character in this series has to be Jane. She is a smart woman who is well respected and, what I relate to most can become any person she wants. She is my favorite spy also since she can blend in or stand
out when necessary, has a sharp mind, and always a cunning retort. My least favorite of course would be Captain Pinchingdale, even though he was just bought into the story plot he has rightfully won this title. Before Jasper came along the title belonged to Lord Vaughn for his haughty behavior and superior outlook on life. I am interested to see inside his head and how his love story unfolds in the next book.

Again I am new at this and would love your feedback. Please let me know if there is more you’d like to know or anything I can do to improve.

-Taylor

Royally Crushed

Royally Crushedby Niki Burnham

This book is actually three books in one. Royally Jacked, Spin Control, and Do-Over.

I was in the mood for a royal love story, after the whole royal wedding and what not, and I saw this at Books-a-million so I had to pick it up. I had actually already read at least the first book and most of the second but I re-read it all and thought it was a cute book. Definitely a feel good read. Although the character is young and only about 16 there are some serious emotional problems Valerie has to go through only making the story better.

Basically, Valerie moves to a small country across the ocean with her father where she meets and goes to school with Prince Georg. They become fast friends but once school starts things become a little more complicated. As any young couple they have their parents overseeing their every move, but when you try to date a prince not only are your parents watching but so is the entire country.

Although I don’t believe this story would ever happen to me in real life it’s a good book to make you believe in happy endings.

So I saw on my stats board that people were searching for the actual location for the setting of this book (if I understadn it right). I forgot the places name when I was first writting this so I went and found its set in Schwerinborg. Hope that helps. =)


Since this is my first post I would love to know what you think. Is there something else I should add? Should I go more into the plot even though it may have some spoilers? What do you like or dislike? I would also love to know what your reading, recommend, or would like me to read and review. Let me know your thoughts. =)

-Tay