Review: Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

311156Now this is a swashbuckler to make your heart race! Notorious pirate Nicholas Beauvallet is haunting the waters of Spain, plundering and sinking any ships that come across his path. It’s this way that he meets Dona Dominica and her ailing father. He leaves the two in Spain, but not before giving Dominica a promise–a promise to infiltrate Spain and bring her back to England, regardless of the fact if caught he would certainly be put to death.

I love this book so much and I can’t believe that I waited this long to read this Heyer book! I have mostly read her Georgian and Regency era books (though I’m nearing the end of my read through of her historical works…) and I guess I was a little wary to branch out. Worried that it wouldn’t seem like a Heyer novel, or be as good. I was wrong on all accounts and I’m so glad I was. I can’t express enough love for this book, and I can’t wait to include it in my regular rotation of Heyer re-reads.

What I have left to read of Heyer: An Infamous Army, The Spanish Bride, The Great Roxhythe, Simon the Coldheart, The Conqueror, Royal Escape and My Lord John.

★★★★★

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Review: Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson

5151gQtpqgL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I love this book because it came at such a great time in my life. 2016 is newly here and I’m entering a time in my life where I am an adult, both in age and in responsibility but there’s always the doubts and the feeling that I’m just not adult emotionally or in personality.

In Sarah Anderon’s Adulthood is a Myth she illustrates various scenes of incredible social awkwardness, anxiety, misanthropy and depression that I can relate to, some of which I can even say “I’ve done the exact same thing.”

It really is empowering for me at this time in particular  to be able to read a book that I not only can relate to, reminds me that other people have the same problems and the same doubts that I have myself. This funny little book was the pick-me-up I needed to start off the year on a more positive note.

Also, I’m pretty sure once this is released I’m going to buy a copy for my best friend.

★★★★☆

Review: Madeleine is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum

madeleineissleepingI liked this book a lot. Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum has absolutely amazing prose and it’s hauntingly vivid. This book tells the story of a girl named Madeleine whom falls into a deep sleep following her mother dunking her hands into lye when she is discovered committing sexual acts with them. Unable to use her hands even in her dreams, since the lye has turned her hands into little paddles, she runs away to join a circus. At home, her mother and sisters take care of her in bed, her mother experiences success and failure which she blames on Madeleine equally. As the book progresses, Madeleine’s dream world and the real world begin to merge until it’s impossible to tell what’s real and what’s not.

I am a huge fan of books with surrealism, however I feel as though nothing was ever resolved in this book, that there was no logical ending. Nothing seems to come to a close. What happens to… any of the characters, really? Unfortunately this sense of things being completely unresolved makes the book as a whole feel pointless. Very pretty and interesting, but pointless nonetheless and that’s kind of a bummer.

★★★★☆

Review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

crackedYes.

That.

Give me some more of that kind of young adult. Meda has a completely unique voice and its consistent throughout. She’s just got the best inner dialogue and it hooked on it from page one with a deliciously dark opening scene that just promised this was going to be a good one.

Oh. And it was.

The supporting characters are likable too, I didn’t find myself overly annoyed with anyone (though I did brace myself, I thought initially when Jo was introduced it was going to be another love triangle with the book constantly bashing the “other girl”. But no such thing occurred and I am grateful.) Actually, the fact that there is no element of romance for the main character made me like it more (though if there was a sequel, I would not mind some Meda/Armand, for suuuuure. Sign me up).

It is a bit predictable though, once things get going. Because… you know what she’s going to choose. What else would she choose? You just know. So I would not call this book surprising, but come on, it’s enjoyable, well written, and its not following the same trampled path of every YA author out there.

Give it a go!

please note this review was originally posted on my Booklikes.

Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

fingersmithFingersmith made me realize that I really should not have put off reading Sarah Waters for so long. Fingersmith has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now. Since I’m officially trying to work my way through the women writers on my shelf however, Sarah Waters was an obvious choice. I’ve been hearing fantastic things about her work for years and all of it was completely right!

This is a fantastic novel with several twists and turns that I did not see coming. The story is about two orphaned girls, Maud and Sue. The only reason that Sue ever meets Maud is because she’s going to tip her the double. Both girls don’t know is there is something else guiding all the events, and the two girls are caught up in a plot that neither of them expected. Separated, both girls struggle with the longing that they feel for each other.

Needless to say, I love this book! It’s got it all: a tender and forbidden romance, a murder, a sane person trapped in an asylum, conspiracies, double agents, betrayals (after betrayals!), twists, turns, perverts, mysteries and suspense.

★★★★★

Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

agnesgreyThis a good example of a novel where things happen around the main character instead of the main character actively making things happen. Essentially, Agnes Grey becomes a governess because her family is in dire financial straits and being a woman, her options are pretty limited. The novel follows her experience with spoiled children and unbearable parents (it’s not just a modern phenomenon, as it turns out).

There’s speculation that this novel is based on Anne’s experiences as a governess herself since she worked as one for a few years becoming a writer and I definitely see it. Only a person who experiences how terrible children can be can describe it in such a way. If these indeed reflect her experiences, I feel bad for her. The first set of children Agnes had to teach was particularly ugly and I have no idea how anyone could stand it.

In any case, I like it less than Wuthering Heights but scores more than Jane Eyre.

★★★☆☆

Review: Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates

rapealovestoryHow does one rate a book like this? Because its terrifying, horrifying and all to real. This is the nightmare that all of us women have together.

It was a good book, I think in that it shows that society can really be crueler than you think. Two of the rapists were brothers and even their father thought they had raped Teena, yet he hires a lawyer to get them off with no punishment. No one will even talk to Bethie at school and call her a liar for telling what happened to her mother. Essentially, the whole town, the whole justice system, turns against them and to me, this was the most well done part of the book. The hatred and dismissal of the town people and a justice system that doesn’t care about truth really highlights why people often don’t report their rape–they’re afraid of exactly this.

I didn’t like that their rescue came in the form of a man who murders for them though. It’s my opinion that this softens the message, plus gives no hope for the rest of us. We can’t all go around killing people all the time. This becomes the relief for Teena and Bethie, and I didn’t really see any sort of emotional journey that they went through, just “they’re dead so now we’re safe and continue our lives.”

I also didn’t find it as engaging as I would have liked. It took me a really long time to read this tiny book.

★★★☆☆