January’s Book of the Month (Book Club)

As stated in my end of the year tidings post, I’ve decided to start doing a book a month in the new year that I will share with you on the first, and around the end of the month we will discuss!  Since this is the first of January 2016 let’s begin!

The book of the month for January is

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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It’s no secret that I love Pride and Prejudice, and this novel is a retelling of a classic.  This novel is written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, has been made into a movie, which I am quite looking forward to seeing.  It comes out on February 5th, and you can learn more about the movie here.  As always I would prefer to read the book first before seeing the movie or television show, though that doesn’t always end up being the case (see Austenland) I definitely intend to with this book.

P.S. The Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie is phenomenal.  Watch it!

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Review of Austenland by Shannon Hale

Remember that time I said I had done all of the reviews for the past year?  I forgot about this book, which I bought in hardcover and promptly inhaled.  This brings my total of novels read up to 56 for 2015!

Austenland: A Novel
By Shannon Hale

Star Rating: 

Genre: Romance

Number of Pages: 208

Date Started: December 24, 2015
Date Finished: December 26, 2015

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Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man―perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?Review:
I’m not going to lie– I saw the movie to this book first (because I hadn’t realized it was based on a book).  I absolutely adore this novel, and it is so much more than the movie.  I understand the choices made for the movie in regards to plotline and simplifying the plot for theatre, and the movie works, but this book is amazing.  In keeping with telling the truth, I will have to say that I have yet to see the BBC Pride and Prejudice– but I feel that it is now my duty to see it!

Jane has bad habits when it comes to dating.  She’s a hopeless romantic, like so many of us, and finds herself too easily caring and taken by any attractive guy.  Chivalry is not dead, and many, like Jane, hope to find a man who will be respectful and proper, while still having a spark of romance.  Hale shows what has oftentimes been proven true: sometimes, you need to stop looking because then you never know what might find you.

61JHvyUN4ZL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
New York Times best selling author Shannon Hale started writing books at age ten and never stopped, eventually earning an MFA in Creative Writing. After nineteen years of writing and dozens of rejections, she published The Goose Girl, the first in her award-winning Books of Bayern series. She has published seventeen books for young readers including the Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy and its two sequels, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, superhero YA novel Dangerous, and the first four Ever After High books. Her novels for the adult crowd include Austenland (now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell) and Midnight in Austenland. Shannon and her husband Dean Hale have collaborated on several projects such as Eisner-nominee Rapunzel’s Revenge and early chapter book series The Princess in Black. They spend non-writing hours corralling their four young children near Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

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End of the year tidings

My grand total of the year appears to be 55 novels read.  I feel as if this number should have been much higher, but in the end, so long as one is reading, that’s most important!

I have done all of the reviews for books I either missed in a massive update overhaul from the summer, and the three I’ve read this month, which means I can start the new year fresh!

Let me know if you’d like me to post about what book I’m reading before I start it, or a tentative list of books I might read.  Starting in January I’m going to start a bit of a book club, where I’ll state on the 1st the book I’ll be reading for the month, and at the end of the month we can discuss! 🙂

Review of Private by Kate Brian

Private
Private, Book 1
By Kate Brian

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult
Number of Pages: 227

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)cvr9781416918738_9781416918738_hr
Tradition, Honor, Excellence…and secrets so dark they’re almost invisibleFifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy — the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she’s on the outside, looking in.Until she meets the Billings Girls.

They are the most beautiful, intelligent, and intensely confident girls on campus. And they know it. They hold all the power in a world where power is fleeting but means everything. Reed vows to do whatever it takes to be accepted into their inner circle.

Reed uses every part of herself — the good, the bad, the beautiful — to get closer to the Billings Girls. She quickly discovers that inside their secret parties and mountains of attitude, hanging in their designer clothing-packed closets the Billings Girls have skeletons. And they’ll do anything to keep their secrets private.

Review:
Did Reed have to look, or did the Billings girls let her know exactly what they wanted her to?  Peer pressure and trying to find out what you really want are both quite important not just in high school, but in life.  Reed wants to rise above her parents in life, but she also wants to succeed in the private school she received a scholarship to, and she believes that being a Billings girl will help her rise up and conquer.

While knowing secrets does give Reed an advantage over some of the Billings girls, she has to consider if they actually care about her at all, actually like her, or if they only like her because they can take advantage of her and get her to do whatever they want.  Most of the characters are relatable and the situations Reed faces make you wonder who you can trust, and if you want her to trust any of her “friends” at all.

First in a series that I intend to keep reading.  Once you start, you have to know what Reed does next, and where her friends lead her.

21l4-9lybyL._SY200_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I am a total Jersey girl. I grew up in Bergen County, went to Rutgers University, lived in Hoboken for a year (requisite post-college party time) and then moved back to Bergen, got married, and bought a house ten minutes from where I grew up. I graduated from Rutgers with a double major in English and Journalism, worked as an Editor for four years, then decided I liked writing better and struck out on my own. You’ve been reading my books ever since!

 

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Review of Put Up Your Duke by Megan Frampton

Put Up Your Duke
By Megan Frampton

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance

Number of Pages: 384

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)23314826
He was once happily bedding and boxing, but in the newest Duke’s Behaving Badly novel, Nicholas Smithfield has inherited a title and a bride . . .

To keep his estate afloat, the new Duke of Gage must honor an agreement to marry Lady Isabella Sawford. Stunningly beautiful, utterly tempting, she’s also a bag of wedding night nerves, so Nicholas decides to wait to do his duty—even if it means heading to the boxing saloon every day to punch away his frustration.

Groomed her whole life to become the perfect duchess, Isabella longs for independence, a dream that is gone forever. As her husband, Nicholas can do whatever he likes—but, to Isabella’s surprise, the notorious rake instead begins a gentle seduction that is melting every inch of her reserve, night by night . . .

To his utter shock, Nicholas discovers that no previous exploits were half as pleasurable as wooing his own wife. But has the realm’s most disreputable duke found the one woman who can bring him to his knees— and leave him there?

Review:
While the overall plot of the novel seemed to be two people accepting futures they hadn’t necessarily wanted, it seems that the entire conflict could have been resolved had Isabella actually spoken her mind to her husband.  Nicholas does very little that annoys and is a likeable character, but he’s very much a stock character, one that doesn’t seem to have any depth.  Story was alright for a quick read, but it isn’t one I would have regretted not reading.

512-URDTrtL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.

 


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Review of Confessions: The Murder of an Angel by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Confessions: The Murder of an Angel
Book 4 of the Confessions series
By James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Crime
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: December 27, 2015
Date Finished: December 29, 2015

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Synopsis:(From Amazon)
In the dramatic conclusion of the bestselling Confessions series, Tandy Angel’s next murder case could be her own!

Tandy Angel is losing her mind–or so she thinks. Even as she’s forced to fight for the family company, she’s imagining new dangers in every shadow. And as her detective prowess is called into question and her paranoia builds, she has to face the very real possibility that the stalker she’s convinced will take her life could be all in her head–or the very real danger that finally brings her down.

Review:
Sometimes suspicions and gut feelings can be right, and sometimes they have to be proven.  Sometimes it seems that everyone is against you, and you have to stand up for yourself.  Sometimes best friends will turn against you, and people you thought would be there for you forever betray you.  What is important is that you stay true to yourself, and don’t let others say that your feelings and thoughts aren’t justified.  Do as Tandy does– prove everyone wrong.

There were twists and turns I didn’t suspect, and again Tandy showed us just how bright she could be, but there were still so many questions left at the end of the novel.  I would love to know what Tandy would decide to do as an adult, what Hugo pursues, and who the father of Katherine’s baby is.  I really wish this wasn’t the end of the series since there is so much more I would like to see!

I absolutely love this series, but this book is a conclusion and definitely not the starting point, so if you’d like to get in on the action (which you totally should), it all begins with Confessions of a Murder Suspect.

618WCP0vm9L._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson’s books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

There is no author information listed for Maxine Paetro on Amazon.

 

 


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Review of Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Ticker
By Lisa Mantchev

Star Rating: 
Genre: Steampunk, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Young Adult
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: December 5, 2015
Date Finished: December 8, 2015

Synopsis:(From Amazon)91RBFPPpCNL
A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

Review:
This book is my first steampunk novel I have read, and I absolutely loved it!  There is mystery, crime, and the ticking away of Penny’s life.  Throughout the novel the relationships of the characters take center stage, and it is the relationships that move the plot along just as much, if not more, than the action(quite befitting of a novel about a clockwork heart).  There are hints of romance that develop but don’t detract from the story, which makes the story all the more believable.

I absolutely loved the fashion, descriptions of the fashion, and all of the neat mechanical inventions used throughout the novel.  If this is how all steampunk is, I’m glad that this book was my first taste, because I can’t wait for more!

71siuVKPRFL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Lisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. When not scribbling, she is by turns an earth elemental, English professor, actress, artist, and domestic goddess. She shares her abode with her husband, two children, and three hairy miscreant dogs.

She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Illuminata. Published by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan,) the series includes the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards-nominated EYES LIKE STARS (2009), PERCHANCE TO DREAM (2010), and SO SILVER BRIGHT (2011.) Her Kindle #1 Bestselling young adult steampunk novel, TICKER, is available from Skyscape. Her near-future young adult collaboration with Glenn Dallas, SUGAR SKULLS, is forthcoming from Skyscape.

Her adult urban fantasy collaboration with A.L. Purol, LOST ANGELES, is now available on Kindle along with its sequel, LOOSE CANON.

Her first picture book, STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS, is now available from Paula Wiseman/S&S, to be followed by SISTER DAY! and JINX AND THE DOOM FIGHT CRIME.

Stay updated with all the fun and glitter at her author website: www.lisamantchev.com

or get your Backstage Pass by becoming a Patron: www.patreon.com/LisaMantchev


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