Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë.
“One ordinary girl, one extraordinary moment”
There are three things everyone notices about Alice. 1. Her super-hot rugby boyfriend. 2. Her sophisticated, totally gorgeous best friend. 3. Her very noticeable 38-inch long legs.
Alice is tall — just under six feet to be exact — but her self-esteem couldn’t be smaller. When her relationship starts wavering, Alice’s perfectly beautiful best friend somehow convinces her to join a modelling competition, “for a confidence boost.” But Alice is just a normal girl; she loves ice cream too much, has an unhealthy addiction to American TV and lusts after the elusive thigh gap. She can’t even walk in heels, let alone in a bikini, but she finds herself joining Runway Models anyway.
The finale is only a few months away.
Will Alice catwalk her way to self-confidence or fail, proving everyone right?
People can surprise you.
*This book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
My Review: Sometimes a book can surprise you. This kind of book usually isn’t my thing. I like my teen angst and drama with a side of supernatural- fantasy- death and destruction. It’s also told in first person present which I can’t stand but once I began reading it was hard to stop because I wanted to see Alice succeed. I wanted her to realize she was more than she thought she was.
Alice is charming once you get to know her. I have never been in Alice’s shoes regarding appearance (she doesn’t think she’s as pretty as her friend) but I think we can all relate to her in one way or another. We all have things we are self conscious about. We all have issues that we need to overcome. I enjoyed watching Alice become empowered and take control of her destiny. And when she tells Oscar (you’re going to love him) to stop acting like his talent is nothing, I knew for sure she was changing.
I liked Alice’s mom. Early on in the book her mom tells tells her that she can’t let a boy control her and that she needs to do what makes her happy. I liked that she flat out said it. She didn’t give it a soft sell. She was direct and honest. I think it’s hard to be that direct and honest with another adult, I can’t imagine what it’s like to give advice to a child.
This book is for anyone who wants to be something more than they are. This is a beautiful story about proving that you can believe in yourself and the transformation that takes place once you do. Don’t allow the title to make you think this book is about thigh gaps. It’s about a great deal more.
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Jackaby by William Ritter
Book Description: Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–seem adamant to deny.
1. This is my new favorite series.
2. William Ritter is my new favorite author.
3. Abigail Rook is my new favorite character. Her father, an archaeologist, tells her that field work is no place for a young lady. So what is a young lady to do? She leaves (or runs away from) her privileged upbringing, and steals her tuition to travel the world on her own. She’s utterly inspiring. She’s also smart, capable, and downright brave.
That probably tells you all you need to know regarding how I feel about this book.
I loved this book so much that I bought the audio version preformed by Nicola Barber. She is amazing. She added so much to this story. She is one of those narrators that can breathe a whole new kind of life into a book. I can’t imagine the voice of Abigail Rook sounding any other way now. If you read the book first and then listen to the audio you can fully appreciate how perfect of a choice Nicola Barber was for this series.
I liked all of the possibilities in this story. Abigail Rook is introduced to a completely different world that has been right under her nose. She is introduced to this world by R.F. Jackaby, her new boss, who has a house full of surprises. There is an unbelievable attic, a resident ghost and a special duck. This book is imaginative and magical.
I kept reading that this was Sherlock Holmes with monsters. I think the only thing they have in common is that the assistant is telling the story. Jackaby isn’t solving cases because he’s board and brilliant. He solves cases because he wants to learn and help. I’ll admit that he has a people problem but I think it has more to do with Jackaby being single minded and yet oblivious where people are concerned.
Don’t get me wrong I love the Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve just always had this idea that Holmes wasn’t completely honest with Watson. Like he was putting on a show for him. It was like Watson only got to see one side of him and Holmes only shared what he wanted to share. It obviously wasn’t his drug addiction. Jackaby doesn’t divulge too much either but it comes from a different place. Abigail is new and Jackaby has good reason to be protective of his assistants. He honestly likes Abigail and believes that the way she sees the world is important. He doesn’t want her to get hurt, not that that stops her because she can be single minded too.
Consume this book anyway you want. It’s fantastic. If you love well written supernatural mysteries with unique characters then you will love this book as much as I did.
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Performed by Moira Quirk
Book Description: When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (“Rue” to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do — she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.
Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
Book Description: Stephanie Plum might not be the world’s greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she’s being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren’t adding up, and Stephanie can’t shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college—and it’s not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it’s good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken’s killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.
My Review: This wasn’t my favorite Stephanie Plum book. It has an excellent main plot that is well thought out and well executed. It reminded me of the early days of this series. Things fell apart for me in the character relationships. Are we nearing the end of the series? It really felt like it.
I have never been a fan of the relationship between Stephanie and Morelli. I don’t like the character. His biggest failing is that he doesn’t accept her for who she is. It could also be argued that she hasn’t accepted herself. Twenty-two full fledged books; he doesn’t get it and she’s still in denial. That horse really can’t be flogged anymore, its desiccated bones can’t handle it. There isn’t anything left. That’s why the side story in this book bothered me so much. Morelli treats her badly. He always treats her badly but in this book it’s really terrible. The reasons he gives at the end are inadequate at best. Laughable, really. Then she forgives all in a really big way. A really, really big way.
I am not a Ranger fan either. Until this book it looked like he had commitment issues. He’s hardly in this one and things appear to have completely cooled between them. I think it’s time for a new love interest.
Stephanie’s mom finally understands why Stephanie likes bond enforcement by the end of this book. The apocalypse is near. What will they disagree about if the proper Mrs. Plum understands her daughter and no longer finds her exasperating? Apocalypse.
Lula and Grandma Mazur are just as fun and entertaining as usual. They are actually more fun and entertaining than usual because of the tense plot. Lula is hysterical as always. There are a few laugh out loud moments but I still think the apocalypse is near for this series. It needs new life. Hopefully in the form of a new love interest. I’ll give it one more book.
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by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
Book Description: Earth is an icy wasteland, devastated by an alien invasion hundreds of years before. Left with only steam power, the human survivors have formed into steampunk clans. And now these clans are at war.
Reeling from a Founders clan invasion, Captain Romulus Buckle of the Pneumatic Zeppelinfaces a desperate decision. Does he return home to bolster the Grand Alliance or attempt to rescue his sister, Elizabeth, who is prophesied to be the key to winning the war? With only an ancient automaton and the words of a madman to guide him, Buckle leads an expedition to the mysterious underwater city of Atlantis, where mythical monsters and human treachery make every move perilous.
My Review: The Luminiferous Aether picks up where The Engines of War left off. This book takes Buckle and company to Atlantis and it’s not as far out there as you may imagine. The author does a fantastic job of making the idea of Atlantis existing in Snow World appear to be normal.
There is plenty of action and when there isn’t, the characters are still in danger. Atlantis is full of political intrigue. I felt for Buckle. He isn’t on the Pneumatic Zeppelin for this book and you can feel his discomfort. You can tell that Buckle and company are uncomfortable being away from the ship. The fact that they aren’t on the Pneumatic Zeppelin doesn’t mean that Buckle doesn’t find extra trouble to get into however. What I mean by that is, on top of everything else that is going on with the Founders war, he is determined to find Elizabeth.
Speaking of sisters, there are several chapters in this book devoted to Max and her journey. She is quickly becoming my favorite character. I admire her strength and determination. A touching scene between Max and Balthazar illustrates my favorite thing about these books. There is real love between this makeshift family; between Balthazar and all of his adopted children.. The scene made me tear up. It was fantastic. I would probably go so far as to say that the chapters about Max were my favorite in this book. They were a nice contrast to the ones involving Buckle with his cacophony of dangers and general mayhem. That doesn’t mean that they were boring, they were simply smaller in scope since they involved a much smaller number of characters.
Another interesting thing about this book is that we find out why things are the way they are in the Snow World. We already knew that there had been an attack but now we learn how society was rebuilt in the image of the Victorian era. It’s genius.
I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who has read the first two. It is a fantastic addition to the series.
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I re-posted my review for The City of the Founders on Monday. I re-posted my review for The Engines of War today. Guess what I’m posting on Friday? Answer: Romulus Buckle and the Luminiferous Aether came out in December.
Originally posted Mar 2014
Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War
by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
Book Description: The frozen wasteland of Snow World—known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization—is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.
Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders’ prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there’s little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.
Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base—and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.
This installment is action packed. It doesn’t stop for even one second. It opens with Buckle looking for the remains of an airship that went down during the attack on the Devil’s Punchbowl (his home). He rides up a mountain with an insane guide-in the freezing cold-without Sabrina, Max, or anyone else for back up. I expect nothing less from our hero. Max follows him anyway, and I would expect nothing less from her.
It wouldn’t be a Romulus Buckle adventure if there weren’t beasties so of course Max has to save him and then he has to save her. The thing I love most about these books is that Buckle needs his family. He doesn’t always know it and he tries to keep them safe, but he needs them as much as they need him. I also love that he has an aura of invincibility. It makes it fun to read about the good captain.
The action in this book is breathtaking. There are out of control animals on the ground and in the air, a ball (the dancing kind), a duel, and even an airship battle. And Buckle tries get himself blown up again. There is also a touching scene with Imperial leader Katzenjammer Smelt and his children. It’s an important scene because it gives him some badly needed humanity. I hated him in the first book.
I’ve become a fan of the audiobooks as well. They are both read by Luke Daniels who does a wonderful job. If you love adventure of any kind then you’ll love this book.
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