Henri is a cooking apprentice and he wants to be a proper French baker. Then, the Italians start to invade France’s cooking scene and change their cooking traditions entirely. When Henri’s witty tongue gets him in trouble, he has to find the ingredients of gelato in a short period of time or he loses his apprenticeship and has to work for his uncle. In order to find the gelato recipe, he has to woo one of the Italians. At first everything is purely business, but then Henri starts to fall for the gelato creator.
I have to say; this book would have been far better if Henri
had been more likeable. Alix, a young apprentice, embarrasses himself because
he had diarrhea when he was presenting his hot chocolate to the master chefs
and a noble. Alix had a crush on Henri and saved him by providing him with
powdered sugar for his botched cookies just hours before. But does Henri stay
quiet and allow his friend a moment of humiliation in peace? No! He makes a
joke about how Alix the Chocolatier makes pudding from both ends, causing Alix
to run out of the room weeping, and no one even laughed at Henri’s “joke”
because he did this in front of the head chefs. Henri was never truly
apologetic for ruining Alix’ chance at being a French chef, and he only feels
sorry for himself because he has to find the gelato recipe now. I think I
disliked him from this point in the book, and he didn’t get any more likeable for
The overall story was pretty confusing and seemed to jump
around a lot. One minute Henri is being lectured by his uncle, the next he is
fooling around with a priest in a barrel. I could never predict where Henri
would be from chapter to chapter.
The only thing that I can say that I enjoyed in this book
was the romance. Henri didn’t believe in romance or love until he met the
gelato creator, he just believed in using sex for gain. Then, the gelato
creator changed everything. This love story truly saved the entire book for me,
even though it kept getting interrupted by the more annoying parts of the story.
I would neither recommend nor bash this story. It is a nice LGBT
historical romance novel that is just ruined by an unlikeable character. If you
are interested in reading and can get past this character, I would recommend it
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
I was looking forward to finishing the Wanderer series so much, but then I was hit with so much disappointment. I couldn’t believe how childish Jason and Helle acted in this novel, and it totally took me out of the story. I felt like I was watching two teenagers in an “on again off again” relationship, and they were supposed to be literal soulmates.
Jason is visiting his aunt Juliet who was hurt by Sam in a
car accident and burnt all over her body. He is distraught by seeing his aunt
in so much agony for months, and moves with Helle closer to her hospital so
that he can spend all day sitting with her. Helle is ok with this at first, but
then she starts to get jealous as he spends more time with her and won’t even give
her a second glance when he comes home. Helle knows Juliet is in love with
Jason, but Jason thinks that Helle is being selfish. He couldn’t think of being
intimate with Helle after seeing Juliet’s mangled body in the hospital day
after day, but he can’t figure out the words to explain this to Helle.
Honestly, they were both in the wrong a lot for some parts
of this book, but Helle was definitely pretty annoying. She barely even tried
to understand what Jason was going through after having to see how bad Juliet really
was hurt, and simply acted as if he was cheating on her. So, she decides to go
hang out with some other guy to get Jason back. Even if Jason’s aunt is weirdly
infatuated with him, hanging out with your dying aunt all day is not the same as
hanging out with some random guy all day. She wanted to act as if she was so
lonely, so bored in this new town, but she never made the effort to go and see
Juliet. She didn’t even join any sort of women’s groups to fill the time in her
day, she just sits at the house sulking all day and then sulks more when Jason
doesn’t come home ready to jump in bed with her. Now, Jason isn’t completely
off the hook. At some points in the book Helle really was insecure about their
relationship and needed Jason’s reassurance, but he didn’t even try to give it
to her. He was just pushing her away all the time, never explaining his
feelings, just “knowing” that she would always stay around for him no matter
what. Then when she isn’t there waiting for him anymore, he is shocked.
I wouldn’t have been as mad if the drama had ended there,
but it seemed like another 50-100 pages of back and forth. Literally most of
the book was just filled with the “perfect lovers” arguing over things that
could have been eased if not solved by simple communication. Of course, Sam
made an appearance every now and then, but they were too busy arguing to really
deal with him. I feel like Sam could have easily had someone sweep up Helle
while Jason was at the hospital, but nope, everything was drawn out.
The thing that really saved this book for me was I think the
end of the novel. I’m not sure which event was the most exciting for me, but I
just remember being on the edge of my seat once the random relationship drama
was over. The “final battle” was definitely exciting to read, nothing to
complain about there!
Overall, I wouldn’t really recommend or warn against this
book. I suppose if you LOVE the first book in this series and have to figure
out what happens to the characters in the end that you might enjoy this one.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary
Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Walker Books US (June 25, 2019)
Praise for QUEEN OF THE SEA
The art, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s style, creates levity during perilous situations. The book is dense with dialogue, often feeling more like a work of prose than a graphic novel. As a result, this complex work will be more accessible to those familiar with graphic novels…Certain to charm sophisticated graphic novel devotees. —School Library Journal (starred review)
Meconis offers an atmospheric alternate history inspired by the childhood and succession of Queen Elizabeth I in this quietly ambitious graphic novel…Art in soft, earthy colors brings this singular story to life in styles ranging from simple line drawings to elaborately styled text illuminations. The island world is richly developed, both in its physical particulars and its close-knit community (fascinating digressions into topics such as convent time, hand gestures used at table, and chess and embroidery flesh out daily life), and Margaret proves herself an endearing heroine with a strong voice full of humor and wonder. Her perspective transforms a storm-wracked rock into a vibrant world of hidden treasures. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Meconis’ humor and storytelling gifts here wed seamlessly with her evocative pen-and-ink and gouache illustrations, which are rendered in warm earth and sea tones and brim with movement, expressively capturing even Margaret’s interior monologues. With its compelling, complex characters and intrigue-laden plot, this will have readers hoping it’s only the first of many adventures for Meconis’ savvy heroine. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Weaving faith, love, statecraft, and self-discovery into a tale of palace intrigue relocated to the halls of a convent on a remote island at sea, Dylan Meconis uses the trappings of the history we know to create a high-stakes adventure in an alternate past that feels so detailed and so familiar, you’ll find yourself wondering why you never read about it in school. This beautiful book swept me away from the first page.” —Kate Milford, author of the Greenglass House series
“Dylan Meconis is at the absolute top of her game. A gorgeously rendered, lovingly realized alternate history, full of personal revelations in the midst of political intrigue. A tale of growing up, and of understanding that the world is larger and stranger than it once seemed. (Plus it has a Terrible Recipe for Terrible Gruel.)” —Ben Hatke, author-illustrator of the Zita the Spacegirl series
“This is the book I was always trying to get my hands on in high school that never seemed to materialize. An adventure to lose yourself in, with an attention to historical detail to please the nerdiest among us. I fell easily and completely into this world and its characters, knowing I was safe in Dylan Meconis’s hands, and I’m really excited for more people to find out what I’ve known for a long time—that she is one of a kind.” —Kate Beaton, author-illustrator of Hark! A Vagrant
Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.
When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.
You can purchaseQueen of the Sea at the following Retailers:
Margaret has lived on an island with nuns and servants her entire life. The nuns are of the Elysian order, and their job is to pray for the sailors that sail on the waters near their island. They also take in those that need shelter who come to the island, and help those who are washed ashore from a shipwreck. Margaret knows that she couldn’t have been born on the island, but none of the nuns are willing to tell her where she came from. She was also the only kid on the island, at least until William came. This book tells the story of her adventures on this island as she learns about her family, true family, and friendship.
I love graphic novels, but I have never read a historical fiction graphic novel. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but this book completely blew me away. Margaret was such a lively character, she reminded me of the girls that I grew up reading in the classic novels at the library like Pippi Longstocking and A Little Princess. She was full of life and lit up the rooms she was in, even on an island full of nuns and servants. She was imaginative, but she wanted to grow up to be a nun so she could help people. She never even thought of life off the island until more people from the mainland started coming to the island, but then she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even when she thought about mainland life, she didn’t start to rebel against the people who had raised her. Which I took as a breath of fresh air. Not all preteen/teenaged girls are crazy and rebellious, some really enjoy their lives like Margaret did. You can be imaginative without trying to run away every 2 seconds.
This had to be one of the most fun yet even still historically accurate graphic novels I’ve read yet. I learned small things about living on an island full of nuns in the 16th century as I read about Margaret’s life there as an outsider. There were traditions that these nuns upheld, stories that these nuns told, that I had never even heard about as a non-Catholic Christian. Even so, the book wasn’t so forcibly religious that a non-Christian person would feel uncomfortable reading it. The historic religious events were woven in with brilliant storytelling and beautiful pictures.
I read this entire book in about 2-3 hours, while on buses and trains commuting to and from NYC. This book was so addictive that it took me out of that uncomfortable and annoying commute and made me think about a completely new world while I was reading it. I can say that I definitely have not had that experience while reading a graphic novel before.
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new historical fiction book or a new graphic novel to enjoy. I cannot wait to read more by this author!
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.
Photo Content from Dylan Meconis
I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories since the first grade, and I’ve been making comic books since middle school (no, really! Seventh grade was a tough year for me socially, so I had a lot of time to draw). I started my first book-length comic (graphic novel) in high school.
Unlike a lot of people who become professional artists and authors, I didn’t go to art school or a creative writing program in college. Instead, I mostly studied history, literature, philosophy, and French in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. This means I have a brain full of weird facts, old books, strange art, and the extremely useful ability to read The Tales of Canterbury in the original Middle English. Except for the Middle English bit, it’s all come in very handy for writing and drawing historical fiction and fantasy.
I first started to get paid for making comics when I was still in college, when my first graphic novel was published online. After college, I worked as a graphic designer and visual communications consultant (which means “person who helps teach adults complicated stuff in cool new ways using pictures”). I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, global charities, technology companies, libraries, and a lot of other interesting organizations. I’ve made illustrations, animations, information graphics and cool presentations, explaining everything from how microchips work to the ways that clean drinking water can help communities in the third world.
For the last ten years, though, I mostly work as a writer, comic book creator and illustrator! Sometimes I make books totally by myself, and sometimes I get to team up with other writers or artists. It can be lots of fun, but it can also be very hard work. Luckily, I never get tired of making new stories.
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
Book one of The Emanska Series
His name is Farden. They whisper that he’s dangerous. Dangerous is only the half of it.
Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options.
Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await.
Welcome to Emaneska.
Book one of The Chasing Graves Trilogy
Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just
the start of your problems.
Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.
They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.
While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.
Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning.
Book 1 of The Scarlet Star Trilogy
Prime Lord Hark lies dead in a pool of his own
The Empire is in turmoil. The Emerald Benches are leaderless. Queen Victorious calls for justice. But none of this matters to Lord Hark’s thirteen year-old son, Tonmerion, who abruptly finds himself orphaned and now in the charge of an estranged aunt. An undertaker, no less, who lives far across the Iron Ocean, at the very brink of the Endless Land and all known civilisation. In a place they call Fell Falls, Wyoming.
In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, Merion finds no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A fae warrior named Rhin. An embittered, twelve-inch tall outcast of the Undering whose past refuses to let go of him.
But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages baying for blood. Secrets lurk in Merion’s bloodline.
Secrets that will redefine him.
Heart of Stone
Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.
Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.
Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.
Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.
Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.
Born Under Fire is a historical novel that tells the story of a girl coming of age and her drive to excel despite the devastating effects of long-term war. Born in Jerusalem under British rule in 1928, Shula grows up in a world in turmoil as Hitler rises to power and nations enter into war. Amid a landscape of ancient stone ruins next to modern Bauhaus architecture, and desert scrub ending at newly verdant farmlands, Shula grows into her independence as the State of Israel is born. Based on historical documents and events, Born Under Fire is also about the context surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, as well as the horrors and dangers of growing up in a conflict zone. Shula battles grief and depression due to the shattering events affecting her, her family, and the entire world. Despite this struggle, her resilient spirit enables her to reach great heights as a concert pianist..
Born of Fire by Rina Z. Neiman is a historical fiction
coming-of-age story about a young Jewish girl named Shula growing up during the
founding of the State of Israel. Jewish people are being targeted throughout
the world, and soon her hometown of Jerusalem is not even safe. Shula just wants
to be able to live peacefully with her family, especially her best friend and
older brother Avraham, but he wants to go off to be in the first Jewish Air
Force. When her town starts being bombed, her family realizes nowhere is safe.
Shula tries to make the best of this horrible situation by continuing to pursue
her dream of being a concert pianist.
I didn’t know anything about this war between Arabs and
Jewish people in Jerusalem and Israel, and so I came into this book completely
blind. This book can be a bit confusing when explaining events, as everything is
told from the POV of Shula. When the adults hide things from the children in
order to not scare them, the reader doesn’t know the complete story behind what
is going on either. I wish that there had been at least one or two adult POVs
in the story so that I could have learned the truth behind some of the events going
on in that time of history.
I loved that Shula was not some lovesick young teenaged
girl. There was a love interest in this story, but he was not the main focus at
all. He wasn’t even involved in the story for quite a few chapters. This was Shula’s
story about her family and her dreams, and it was not hijacked by any random
love interests. I also loved Shula’s parents. They were so selfless in the name
of their children. When Shula wanted to learn how to play piano, they made sure
that she got a piano and piano lessons. They wanted to give their children
their best lives even though they were quite literally living in a warzone.
Even though this novel was historical fiction, I felt as if
the characters were real by the time I got to the end. I wanted to learn more
about their lovies after the novel ended, I wish that there was a sequel to
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an
emotional and realistic historical fiction novel.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
“I went to high school in Israel in the late 50’s and heard many personal stories about the early years and the struggle for independence. Your book makes these years really come alive. Also, most of my relatives’ tales were set in Kibbutzim and rural Palestine. Your book describes life in Tel Aviv as just as heroic. Lastly, I share your mother’s love for Yemenite embroidery and am happy that your book calls attention to this beautiful art form.”
“This lovely coming of age story provides a view into the challenges, conflicts and dilemmas facing the European Jews fleeing Hitler’s reach and trying to make Palestine their home. It pulls no punches and honestly acknowledges the dilemmas posed by the creation of this new country, but as it tells the story from the eyes of a young girl, we see those intricacies as she would have seen them, allowing the reader an understanding not only of historical events that readers may not be aware of (the proposed partition, the ethical dilemma posed by Jewish terrorist groups, etc.) but also of the emotional journey of these refugees and their children. This story is an important reminder of the effects of war and provides a critical piece of history necessary for understanding the world today.”
Nima M. Vincent via Amazon.com, 5 out of 5 star review
“This story drew me in from the very first page. The vivid descriptions of smell, sights and taste, longing, disappointment and joy, evoked real emotion and made me wish I were sitting at the kitchen table with Shula and her aunts. I appreciated the many history lessons tucked into the adventures, and was relieved to discover details about this time period without being burdened by the author’s politics.”
Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.
What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman’s book BornUnder Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
Make sure you stop by Karen’s blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book – or thinking about writing one – this one is a post you don’t want to miss!
If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman’s blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won’t want to miss this!
Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess’ blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.
Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette’s Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.
Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples’ blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.
Winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Holt Medallion for Best First Book and Best Historical, Lori Ann Bailey writes hunky highland heroes and strong-willed independent lasses finding their perfect matches in the Highlands of 17th century Scotland. Writing about the people and places playing in her head helps her live out her dreams and delve into her love of history and romance. When not writing, Lori enjoys time with her real-life hero and four kids or spending time walking or drinking wine with her friends.
Finlay Cameron, the bastard son of an English earl and a Scottish mother, weds stunning, outgoing Blair Macnab to ensure her clan’s loyalty to King Charles. She’s everything he’s ever wanted in a wife, but he suspects she may be plotting his murder.
Always considered to be nothing more than a pretty face, Blair Macnab yearns to prove her worth. She refuses to be used as a pawn for political gain, but when confronted by a blackmailer, her only option is to marry the brawny Finlay Cameron.
In Finlay’s arms, she feels safe for the first time ever. Until she learns that her blackmailer is hot on her trail and her secrets could soon be exposed…
I don’t read that many Highlander romances, but this one stuck out to me in particular. Usually, the illegitimate child storyline comes into play for a historical romance based in London, not Scotland, but this book was a bit of both.
At first, I was a bit confused. I thought that Blair was going to marry her betrothed’s brother, but then she was able to run off with Finlay! Thank goodness she was able to, however, because Henry and his family definitely wouldn’t have given her a good life. Her relationship with Finlay gets off to a rocky start as he has to take her on horseback on a long journey the day after their wedding, and she is so ill on her wedding night that she feels that she is failing her husband. But the longer that they spend on this trip, the closer they get to one another, and the more that they realize that they love each other.
The romance in this story was amazing. Finlay and Blair definitely had chemistry, and they respected one another. Blair had already gone through a really poor relationship before, so she wasn’t sure exactly what a good relationship was. Finlay knew that she was beautiful, but he didn’t want to push this already broken woman too far. They dance around each other until they feel comfortable with one another, and then it still takes them a few chapters to realize how strong their feelings for one another truly are.
The side story about Finlay believing that Blair was out to kill him played out in an interesting way. It definitely wasn’t my favorite part of the story, it was pretty clear that Blair was madly in love with Finlay and would do nothing to hurt him. But it was interesting seeing Finlay try to figure out what exactly was going on with his wife, learning more of her backstory in the process.
My other favorite part of the story was learning about Finlay’s family. Illegitimate children always have interesting stories in romance novels, so I was hunting for all the clues as Blair and Finlay pieced together the truth about Finlay’s parent’s relationship. It was a sad story, but I enjoyed it. I did want to punch Finlay’s brothers though, they were so awful to him. It was no wonder that he was a bit emotionally closed off.
I read this entire book in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down. 307 pages later, I am happy that I read it, and I hope to read more romance stories from this author.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adult Highlander romance.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Brandon, the former Marianne Dashwood, is now a widow, and not yet twenty-five.
Her former admirer Willoughby is as unhappily married as ever, and the thought
that she is free to marry again drives him to distraction. He has continued in
his dissolute lifestyle, which Marianne abhors, while his wife Sophia’s life
has been poisoned by jealousy of Marianne.
Marianne urges him that the only possibility of happiness for Willoughby and
his wife is for him to give up his empty pursuit of pleasure – but now the
Colonel is gone, Marianne finds that she can no longer push aside thoughts of
Willoughby easily herself; she must find some way of occupying her own empty
hours. Willoughby retains his rascally charm, which an older and wiser Marianne
is determined to resist; Elinor and Edward are as astute as ever, while Sir
John and Lady Middleton are as foolish. Mrs. Jennings remains determined to
marry off all her associates as before, while Sophia Willoughby is even more
sour as the wife of the man she wanted, and Willoughby’s friends are suitably
This sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ strives to emulate some of the light ironic touch of the inimitable style of Jane Austen; it is both funny and sad, and is told as dark comedy.
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The union of the Willoughbys’ only resembled that of the
Brandons’ in being childless. Unlike the latter couple, they had no common
interests to compensate, unless an unfortunate tendency to over indulge in wine
and other stimulants could count as a mutual source of diversion. It is true
that they did share in common a manner of relating to each other that involved
raised voices behind slammed doors, angry silences and periods of cold
civility; but this shared inclination brought them no closer together.
It could be further urged on their behalf , that in this
conduct, they provided society with the diversion of much talk, and their staff
with constant entertainment; – for Willoughby’s confidential valet knew all
about his improper pursuits, while his wife’s lady’s maid could recount how Mrs
Willoughby had cursed him for a fortune hunting libertine in full hearing of
the servants, and of how savagely he had kicked shut her sitting room door
before retorting that, ‘Devil take it, in his whole worthless life, he had only
cared for Mrs Brandon, and he’d be damned if he pretended anything else to
please a scolding…’
But the reader does not wish to hear any more of this.
Seemingly their staff lacked any discretion, and soon enough, the content of
the Willoughbys’ exchanges leaked out into polite society, which showed still
less decorum in repeating them assiduously. Many a man had dined out for a
month on his knowledge of episodes that ought to have been cloaked in decent
silence, and Miss Steele was one of many maiden ladies agog for the latest
“Not another word, damn it!” he exclaimed, coming again to a
stop and turning on her in a fury she had never seen in him before. “I cannot
endure to hear this from you, of all people. As to my wife, it must come to a
separation; we are so at each other’s throats. Then, Mrs. Brandon, you
recommend to me a life devoted to duty?” He stood breathing quickly, while
unseen by either of them, a hare bolted across their path. Willoughby’s
normally fractious mount did not even notice. Throughout their talk, it had
showed remarkable patience at being stopped and started at every other minute,
and now stood gently waving its ears, almost as if it felt for its master’s
He rushed on, “No doubt that is how you plan to waste your
youth and beauty. No, I cannot find comfort in a life devoted to good works.
Mrs. Smith’s tenants must go to the hell in a handcart along with their master,
when he comes to inherit. Lord, but I am well served for my former misdeeds and
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Green is lives in the UK, has a geekish fascination with English Literature and
History, and an irrepressible sense of humour.
The Ambitious Barrister and the Maid
by Marianna Green
GENRE: Steamy Historical Romance
Sarah-Ann Jennings is quite happy to satisfy her master’s lust. Forced into domestic service by a penny pinching aunt, she is determined to make enough money to secure her own future and that of her eccentric younger brother. She rather enjoys him, besides.
There is, of course, no question of any emotional entanglement between them. Mr. Alfred Grand is a cold-hearted fortune hunter in search of a wealthy wife, after all.
For all that, when Sarah-Ann comes to suspect that somebody may be trying to poison him for reasons of their own, she is ready to put all her energy and determination into finding out who it is. This steamy romance set in the mid-Victorian UK is definitely for over eighteens.
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I love historical romance stories, and so I was excited to read this story. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
Sarah is a good maid. She listens to the head maid Mrs. Carr, and she listens to everything that Mr. Grand says. When Mr. Grand takes a liking to her, she doesn’t hesitate to fall for him. It is improper for a maid to fall for her master, especially when he is an eligible bachelor looking for a rich wife to marry. He needs this rich wife to save his estate, but he can’t seem to stop falling for his maid.
I thought that this book would be just an adult historical romance, but then I realized that it was going to be a bit different. For starters, Sarah was 17 at the start of the novel. At first, I thought that it was weird, but then I realized that she was probably old for an unmarried girl at the time. Mr. Grand never forced her into anything, he just knew that he liked her and she reciprocated his advances. The start of the novel was more focused on sex, but then things got even more interesting as the story progressed.
Sarah and Mr. Grand were together, but they started having feelings stronger than lust towards one another. The main conflict of the novel was when they were discovered and they were battling with others and with themselves to figure out what would come next in their lives. This novel may be steamy, but it does have a plot, and that plot can truly draw you in.
The only thing that I have to say is that it took me quite a bit of time to get to know and enjoy the characters. It may have seemed at the start that Mr. Grand was cold, but he fell for Sarah quickly in this short story. Then, the rest of the story seemed to fly by, and I was left wanting more. If only this was a series so that I could learn what happened to the other characters in the household in more depth! The story was short enough for me to read in one afternoon but long enough for me to be sad when it was over.
I would definitely recommend this steamy historical romance novel to anyone looking for a new adult book to read.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
The man’s eye fell on me. I would have liked to think that he was wholly moved by pity at the sight of the tears welling in the eyes of the scrawny creature that I then was. There was indeed a spark of sympathy in his, but also some calculation.
That might seem to be a long word for a housemaid, but I had been educated to be a young lady.
Mr Grand was a man who thought ahead. He saw something in me that interested him. It wouldn’t do for now, for though sixteen, I had much filling out to do. He was ready to wait, just as he was prepared to wait for the right chance to further his career. He was a man who saw potentials closed to those with a less penetrating gaze. In pursuing his goals, he was patient.
“She will do very well, Mrs. Carr,” he gave that cold smile he sometimes used. “That solves your little problem. Now, as to mine –”
The housekeeper was indignant enough to do what servants, even the higher ones, should never do. She cut him off, which was bad enough, and then she contradicted him. “Hardly, Sir. I have no time to train her, and -”
He drew back. She could not have done more to ensure I got the post. He looked down his well-shaped nose at her and cut her off in turn. “I just hired the girl, Mrs. Carr. That makes an end to the matter. See about her box and the rest.”
Later on, I was willing to bet, he would see about my box himself.
Marianna Green is lives in the UK, has a geekish fascination with English Literature and History, and an irrepressible sense of humour.
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. I
by Collins Hemingway
Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a prim and proper life as a single woman. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she—and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?
Go with Jane Austen as this thinking woman, and sensitive soul, seizes the opportunity for meaningful love with a man who inspires her and understands her independent spirit—the one man worthy of her mind, heart, and soul.
This story started off with Jane and her best friend going on a hot air balloon excursion. Even though I know little to nothing about hot air balloons, Hemingway perfectly described it. I felt like I was in the sky myself! I was even scared when Jane and Ashton had to figure out how to fly the patchy balloon on their own and was exhilarated when they landed. Then I remembered that this book took place in the early 1800s and that their family is worried sick as they are spending a day or two waiting for a letter to arrive about the pair’s safety. This perfectly depicted how some things like balloons had been invented, but the world was still far from being modernized in any way.
The first part of this book is getting to know Jane and Ashton. They aren’t together but are just friends. Jane thinks that she is already too old for marriage at 26 years old, and instantly declines Ashton’s offer of marriage. Then, most of the rest of the book is in letter form. This was a beautiful way to write the story, as several years go by, but the characters have to actually wait for the letters to arrive and be responded to. Readers can see how much passion was poured into each letter, as the barrier between friend and lover starts to disintegrate.
I knew little to nothing about Jane Austen before reading this story, and I love how the small tidbits about her life were thrown into the main romance storyline. Like she sends a letter to Ashton about the books that she had been working on, and about all the female authors that she had been having conversations with. It seemed more real. She wasn’t able to do much in society as an unmarried woman, but she decided to spend time with the other talented women of her time. Hopefully, we will get to know who some of these women were in future series installments.
The one thing I didn’t like that much about this book was that some things moved a bit too quickly. I felt like we were rushing from the balloon incident to being at home with Ashton and then Ashton was away again. If those parts had slowed down a bit, I would have loved every second of this read!
I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new historical fiction romance to read.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series
“A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page.”—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars
“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.” —Blueink Starred Review
“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.
As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.
Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.
Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.
Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.
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Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has a wonderful day with plenty of food with friends and family. I am personally enjoying my day with my family, and watching a few Christmas movies.
I have officially read 300 books (so far) in 2018, and I might add a few to that list once I make sure that I have reviewed all the books that I read on my Kindle. Here is my list of favorite books that I have read in 2018!
15: The Forest Beyond The Earth
This book made it to my list because it had such a unique ending. The worldbuilding was great, and Wisp was a charming protagonist, but the ending really made the whole book come together for me.
14: Charm: A Cinderella Reverse Fairytale
I really do love reverse fairytales, and this trilogy was my favorite reverse fairytale one all year! I loved reading about Charm and Cynder, a princess expected to marry, and a servant with a secret. To anyone looking for a reverse fairy tale trilogy to read that has fairly cheap novels, this is the one.
13: Spellbinding His Ranger
I enjoy LitRPG novels, but this novel took things to another level. Not only did it have the LitRPG elements I love, but it also included a real-life romance between characters in a guild. This is also a series, so I am excited to see who falls in love in the third installment of this series.
12: Trouble In Glamour Town
I had heard some stories about how dangerous/difficult it was to work in Hollywood in the 1920s, but this book truly took inspiration from those stories and turned it into its own world. I love all of Mallery’s historical fiction novels, but this one definitely taught me some things that I would have never guessed about old Hollywood.
11: The Mermaid’s Escape
This book was what truly got me into the Reverse Harem genre, and I loved reading the series. Unfortunately, it finished this year, but I am totally into McAllen’s new series. I will never forget this mermaid reverse harem tale.
10: Tales From Piney Grove
Not many people know what it was like to grow up on a farm as a sharecropper, and it is a piece of American history that is being purposely forgotten. Morrison tells you everything in this novel, their joys and sadnesses, their wins and their losses. Then, he tells you about how it is now in Piney Grove, and it truly opened my eyes. Definitely a worthwhile read.
9: The Radium Girls
I was truly saddened after reading this book, and partially scared. I was sad for the teenage girls who were tricked and lost their lives because of radium. I was scared because many of the stories took place in a city truly close to mine, and I know my city also had some really bad factories in it at one point. I know that these poisons don’t go away, so I wonder what/who is truly hiding in the cities graveyards and parks. Truly frightening thoughts!
8: Don’t Look At Me
This Beauty and the Beast retelling really stuck with me, and I fell in love with how the story was told. I will definitely be rereading this novel in 2019!
I never really got into reincarnation fantasy novels, but this YA one sold it for me. It had parts that were historical fiction, other parts that were romance, and other parts still that were fantasy. I even loved the sequel to this one, can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
6: This Mortal Coil
I have read a lot of fantasy YA novels, but I hadn’t read a great science fiction YA novel in a while before this one. This book, wow. It completely blew me away, and restored my faith in YA science fiction novels!
5: Nevermoore: The Trials of Morrigan Crowe
This book has some of the best worldbuilding I’ve seen in a middle-grade fiction book in a while. I loved the sequel as well, even though I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet. Stay tuned, I will definitely post my review soon!
4: Off And Away
I definitely wasn’t expecting a picture book to be on my list of favorite books of 2018, but here we are. The art in this book was absolutely stunning, and I was completely drawn in by the story. I am keeping this book for as long as I can, and I hope to be able to see more by Atkinson soon.
3: In A Time Never Known
This historical fiction novel was long, addictive, and so intricate that I felt as if the characters were leaping off the page. I have heard that there is also a sequel in the works, so I can’t wait for that as well!
2: The War Between Us
I never thought about how World War II would affect Korean-Americans. They weren’t all sent off to internment camps, but people in America would still discriminate against them because they “look Asian.” This story tells a romantic tale of true love in spite of ignorant surroundings.
1: Elizabeth’s War
Looks like I truly loved the historical fiction books that I read this year! I still think about this book, and how it opened my eyes about the Civil War. Even though the Union is deemed as a “hero” in the history books, the Southerners weren’t “evil.” Some, like Elizabeth and her family, were simply minding their own business on a family farm when the war broke out. All of a sudden, they were on the front lines, making difficult decisions for the good of the family. This book and Crossfire in the Street were truly amazing reads this past year, and I hope to see more from D.L. Rogers in 2019.
That’s all for now, I will have a 2018 Wrap UP Post as well later this week that includes my goals for 2019. Have a great day everyone!