Announcement

Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews is currently on hiatus. I hope to return to blogging sooner rather than later.

I will still be posting mini book reviews on Goodreads and talking books on Twitter so feel free to find me there.

Thank you and happy reading1


Thursday, July 31, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (37)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

 Winter Garden (Winter Garden #2)  Winter Garden (Winter Garden, #2)
Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth
Originally Published in July 2000

Though a celebrated French beauty in 1849, Madeleine DuMais's cleverness is her greatest asset --- and one she puts to good use as a spy for the British. When her expertise is needed in the south of England to break up a smuggling ring, Madeleine willingly puts her life on hold to help the crown ...

Arriving in the quaint resort town of Winter Garden, Madeleine meets her partner in subterfuge. Thomas Blackwood is unlike any man she has ever met. His quiet confidence and mysterious intensity send shivers of pleasure coursing through her ... shivers that slowly melt into a desperate passion. As duty gives way to desire, surrender holds its reward. And Madeleine will never recover from the touch of Thomas's hands on her body --- and the touch of his heart on her soul. 


***********
Wonderfully sweet story of two fabulous characters!  I fell completely in love with Thomas Blackwood from the moment we met him and was rooting for him to tell Madeline the truth.  Madeline was a joy to read with her intelligence and self-confidence despite a difficult past.  The espionage plot was interesting, but never took away from the love story.  I also enjoyed the secrets that the characters kept and how they were revealed at the perfect time.  Beautiful setting as well!

"Love expands your soul with something inexplicably fulfilling. If you die without ever having experienced it, you will miss life's only true joy."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "Big Jack" by JD Robb

Big Jack (In Death, #17.5)
Big Jack by JD Robb; Narrated by Susan Ericksen
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Romantic Suspense

Berkeley -- Published in 2003
Audiobook, 8 hours and 21 minutes
Read in July 2014
Purchased from Audible

THEMES
Alpha Hero, Kick-Ass Heroine, Murder Mystery, Novella

SUMMARY
In New York City in 2059, someone is pursuing missing gems from a decades-old heist…someone who's willing to kill for them. Sharp-witted and sexy, NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is used to traveling in the shadowy corners outside the law. And in a future where crime meets cutting-edge technology, she will attempt to track down the diamonds once and for all-and stop the danger and death that have surrounded them for years.
FIRST LINE
"She was dying to get home."

MY THOUGHTS
Big Jack is an interesting novella that takes place in 2059 as part of the In Death series, but it is also a continuation of Hot Rocks, a contemporary romance written under the Nora Roberts pseudonym.  I did read Hot Rocks and had some trouble with the slower pace after being so used to the constant action of the In Death books.  I'm kinda glad I made it through so that I had some insight into Eve's latest homicide case.  I think someone could definitely read Big Jack without touching Hot Rocks and be able to understand the basic plot, but you might lose some of the finer details.

The main plot of this book centers around some long-lost diamonds and a perpetrator who is willing to kill to possess them.  Things kick off with a bang when acclaimed author Samantha Tavish comes home from a lengthy book tour to find her good friend (and housesitter) murdered.  You see Samantha has just published a book where she describes her family's connection to the missing diamonds and the romance that blossomed between her grandparents because of them.  This leads the murderer to believe that she knows the location of the diamonds.

While I thought the case was pretty basic compared to some of the ones that Eve and her group have solves over the past few months, I still found this book to be entertaining and a great installment to a fabulous series.  It takes serious sleuthing and amazing powers of deduction to solve the murder which I always admire about Eve.  Readers also get to see their favorite side characters like Eve's billionaire husband (Roarke), her newly promoted partner (Peabody), and a slew of others.  Like usual, Peabody's antics never fail to make me laugh.  This book has her dealing with her new detective status which includes not having to wear a uniform.  Watching her try to establish a work fashion style was hilarious especially with Eve's commentary.

Big Jack is pretty deep into the In Death series, but I definitely think new readers could jump right in and understand what is going on for the most part.  With its connection to the Nora Roberts's romance, it could be a great segue for fans of Roberts who haven't yet discovered the wonders of JD Robb.  As always, Susan Ericksen's narration is spot-on and lifts the story to even greater heights.  On to the next book!

4 STARS



STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.


FAVORITE QUOTES
"Do you remember the first time we made love?" He touched his lips to hers as he said it. "We rode up in the elevator like this and couldn't keep our hands off each other, couldn't get to each other quick enough. I was mad for you. I wanted you more than I wanted to keep breathing. I still do." He deepened the kiss as the elevator doors opened. "It's never going to change."


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
There are too many to show here, but I'm providing a link to the Goodreads listing and the listing from JD Robb's website.

CHALLENGES READ FOR

 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Authors I Own The Most Books From


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Authors I Own The Most Books From~

1. JD Robb (42 books; 19 read)
This is all because of the In Death series which I have been slowly accumulating and reading over the years.


2. Sherrilyn Kenyon (27 books; 25 read)
Kenyon's Dark Hunter paranormal series is very lengthy and I have kept most of those.  I also am slowly catching up on her science fiction series (The League).

3. Julia Quinn (24 books; 24 read)
She is the one that started my obsession with historical romance and I own almost all of her books.

4. Gena Showalter (20 books; 16 read)
This is a combination of five series (Lords of the Underworld; Angels of the Dark; Atlantis; Tales of An Extraordinary Girl; White Rabbit Chronicles).

5. Hannah Howell (19 books; 18 read)
Another historical favorite.  I'm obsessed with her Murray Family series and own almost all of them.

6. Eloisa James (18 books; 18 read)
She writes lengthy series and I am obsessive about owning all of them.

7. Lisa Kleypas (16 books; 16 read)
A classic in historical romance with a lengthy backlist.  The only ones I don't have are some of her older releases and her most recent contemporary series that I couldn't get into.

8. Kresley Cole (16 books; 15 read)
This is a combo of two series...her adult paranormals (Immortals After Dark) and her YA paranormal (Arcana Chronicles) with a random historical romance thrown in.

9. Molly Harper (16 books; 15 read)
This is a unique answer because I only own about three of her books in paper, but I have all of them in audio.  She specializes in paranormal and contemporary romance.

10. Nalini Singh (10 books; 9 read)
I have all the Psy-Changeling books (including some of the anthologies) and am starting to collect her Guild Hunter books.

Monday, July 28, 2014

REVIEW: "Isn't She Lovely" by Lauren Layne

Isn't She Lovely (Redemption, #0.5)
Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne
For Ages 16+ (Language, Sensuality)
New Adult -- Contemporary Romance

Flirt -- Published in October 2013
Ebook, 240 pages
Read in July 2014
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Dual Points of View, Retelling

SUMMARY
"Who knew that pretending you're not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?"

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she's pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn't exactly Ethan Price's type, either. He's probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund... or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie's a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan's brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan's privileged world, the "acting" begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating "them." And Stephanie faces a question she's too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?


FIRST LINE
"So, it's like this...in movies, there's this thing called the meet-cute."

MY THOUGHTS
Isn't She Lovely is an entertaining and heartwarming new adult romance between two people who couldn't be more opposite, but find out that they are great together.  It is a retelling of the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady story with the hero (Ethan) convincing the heroine (Stephanie) to pretend to be his girlfriend during the summer social season at the Hamptions.

This is a fairly common theme in romance (new adult and adult), but I was surprised how at how well it worked here.  Ethan and Stephanie meet while taking a film class and are partnered up to write an original screenplay so they decide to use this unusual situation as inspiration for their project.  This allows them to be very aware of the cliches involved and they comment on them fairly often.  I absolutely loved the meta vibe of the book which made this very popular theme feel fresh.

Another thing that worked for me with this book was the depiction of the characters.  Both Ethan and Stephanie are well-developed and fairly likable characters.  Ethan is a rich guy who is working towards taking over his father's company one day and, while that is a typical character type, Lauren Layne makes sure that readers understand why he wants such a life.  He is a genuinely nice guy that has a plan for his life that works for him.  Stephanie is also more than she first appears with her dark clothing, piercings, and brash attitude.  I thought her sarcastic comments were hilarious and she was very relatable with her approach to school and dealing with someone of Ethan's pedigree.  The dual POV style worked well in this story so that readers could really get to know both Ethan and Stephanie.

Because this is a New Adult romance, there are some angsty moments...mostly with Stephanie and her mysterious past.  There is a reason for the Goth style and prickly personality which was easy to predict, but handled in a respectful way.  Ethan is dealing with some issues of his own and it was nice to see an author use that to develop a character without making that his main trait.  Both Stephanie and Ethan work through their problems together even when they weren't technically together.  The chemistry between them was obvious and made me want to keep on reading to see what happened next.

All in all, I found Isn't She Lovely to be a fun look at the retelling trend without making it sound like a parody or satire.  The main characters were interesting and worked well as a couple.  The plot was fast-paced and rarely melodramatic which I think is rare in this genre.  I am definitely intrigued to see more of Lauren Layne's work in the future.

I received a free copy of this book from Flirt and Lauren Layne via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


4.5 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Glow -- Implied or subtle descriptions of lovemaking.

FAVORITE QUOTE
"Tell me this is a bad dream.  Tell me that you didn't seriously hunt me down in North Carolina looking like you got separated fromt he rest of the Hells Angels."

CHALLENGES READ FOR


Thursday, July 24, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (36)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

How to Marry a Marquis (Agents of the Crown, #2) How to Marry a Marquis (Agents of the Crown, #2) How to Marry a Marquis (Agents of the Crown, #2)

How To Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn
Originally Published in 1999

When James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale, offered to help Elizabeth Hotchkiss find herself a husband, he never dreamed that the only candidate he could propose would be himself...

SHE'S TRYING TO FOLLOW THE RULES
When Elizabeth Hotchkiss stumbles upon a most intriguing book, How to Marry a Marquis, in her employer's library, she's convinced someone is playing a cruel joke. With three younger siblings to support, she knows she has to marry for money, but who might have guessed how desperate she's become? A guidebook to seduction might be just the thing she needs—and what harm could there be in taking a little peek?

BUT HE'S MAKING HIS OWN
James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, has been summoned to rescue his aunt from a blackmailer, a task that requires him to pose as the new estate manager—and he immediately sheds suspicion on his aunt's companion, Elizabeth. Intrigued by the deliciously alluring young woman with the curious little rulebook, he gallantly offers to help her find herself a husband...by practicing her wiles on him. But when practice becomes all too perfect, James decides there's only one rule worth following—that Elizabeth marry her marquis.


************
Julia Quinn is the author who got me obsessed with historical romance and this book is one of the most charming in her backlist.  I loved both the hero and heroine who were great as individual characters and even more adorable as a couple.  It isn't anything revolutionary or super thought-provoking, but I love it because it is just a light-hearted romance that makes me happy.  Plus Lady Danbury has a wonderful turn as a secondary character!

"For the love of God, woman, there's only one rule in that bloody book worth following."
"And that is?" Elizabeth asked disdainfully.
"That you marry your damned marquis!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

REVIEW: "Summer Is For Lovers" by Jennifer McQuiston


Summer Is for Lovers
Summer Is For Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Victorian England

Avon -- Published in September 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 349 pages
Read in July 2014
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Beta Hero, Unique Setting

SUMMARY
Though she was just a girl when they first met, Caroline Tolbertson’s infatuation with David Cameron remains undimmed. Now fate has brought the handsome Scotsman back to Brighton for what promises to be an unforgettable summer. Soon, Caroline will have to choose a husband, but for now she is free to indulge her curiosity in things of a passionate nature.

That is, if David will agree to teach her.

Past mistakes have convinced David he’ll make a terrible husband, though he’ll gladly help the unconventional Caroline find a suitor. Unfortunately, she has something more scandalous in mind. As the contenders for her hand begin to line up, her future seems assured…provided David can do the honorable thing and let them have her.

When a spirited young woman is determined to break Society's rules, all a gentleman can do is lend a hand…or more.



FIRST LINE
"David Cameron didn't want to die."

MY THOUGHTS
Summer Is For Lovers is my first Jennifer McQuiston historical romance and it definitely will not be my last.  I started it because of the seaside setting and thought it would be a nice summer read.  What I got was an entertaining beach read with a wonderful heroine and great chemistry between the couple that had me turning pages late into the night.

Caroline Tolbertson and David Cameron meet when she saves him from dangerous waves when she is only twelve years old.  Afterwards, they go their separate ways until over a decade later when David returns to Brighton in order to help his mother improve her health.  He meets up with Caroline by accident once again and, after a series of events, they decide to team up in order to win a swimming contest.  Caroline is a powerful swimmer with an unusual stroke and she tries to teach David her techniques in order to help him win the prize money which they will split.

What really makes this book stand out, for me, is the couple of Caroline and David.  They are both wonderfully likable characters that have some issues to deal with and they do it together.  Caroline is sweet and socially awkward which made her super relatable to me.  Her biggest problem is the fact that she feels responsible for her mother and sister which makes her desperate to find someone to marry, but she can't get anyone to look past her height and unorthodox personality.  David is a Scotsman who has a mysterious reason for trying to kill himself a decade earlier and why he is avoiding marriage so much.  While I didn't like how long he hid his past, I did like his charming nature and the fact that he fell for Caroline so quickly.

Another aspect of Summer Is For Lovers that I loved was the setting.  It takes place completely in Brighton, the popular beach town.  I have heard about it in a ton of historical romances, but this is one of the few stories that focused so much on it.  Jennifer McQuiston obviously did a lot of research on the town and how the ton utilized it.  One of my favorite scenes involved the bathing machines which reminded me of an outhouse on wheels.

All in all, I found this book to be charming and romantic.  It was the perfect read for my beach vacation and I read it very quickly.  I definitely recommend it for readers looking for a light-hearted historical romance.

4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

CHALLENGES READ FOR




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Characters On A Deserted Island


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On a Deserted Island~

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
1. Katniss Everdeen -- Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
This was the first person to come to mind!  She obviously knows how to survive in unfamiliar territory and her archery skills will come in handy when it comes to food.  I could have chosen so many characters from this trilogy like Finnick or Johanna, but Katniss is still number one.

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
2. Tarver Merendsen -- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner
This is a character who spent much of his book stranded on a deserted planet (rather than island) and he was forced to survive along with a girl who is obviously not made for such an adventure.  Since I'm horrible at anything involving the outdoors, I need someone with that type of skill and patience.

Obsidian (Lux, #1)
3. Daemon Black -- Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
He's strong and powerful so I think he would be good for battling any dangerous creatures that might be on the island.  Plus he's nice to look at and I would probably take all the enjoyment I could get in such a situation.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)
4. Jamie Fraser -- Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Another character who knows how to survive in unfamiliar territory though his specialty is the wilds of 18th century Scotland.  You can never have enough hunters and gatherers when stuck on an island.

Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, #13)
5. Vasic -- Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
This one feels like cheating, but I decided to add him anyway.  Vasic is a powerful telekinetic whose specialty is teleportation.  I would definitely want him on the island because he could probably just teleport us to safety.

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
6. Claire Randall -- Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I chose Claire because she is a skilled nurse and healer.  I' m sure someone will get sick or injured during our island stay and I think her knowledge of herbs and other natural remedies would come in handy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
7. Hermione Granger -- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I would think I would want someone who is good in a crisis and wonderful at problem solving.  Hermione is amazing at getting through tough situations as she showed during the great Horcrux hunt in Deathly Hallows.

Rapture in Death (In Death, #4)
8. Eve Dallas -- In Death series by JD Robb
She's a tough lady who also doesn't take crap from anyone.  I would think in such a situation that there would be arguing and Eve would be a great mediator.

Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark, #10)
9. Malkom Slaine -- Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole
He is a vemon (half-vampire, half-demon) that has spent much of his life isolated in a cave.  He knows how to survive on his own and I'm sure he would be glad to teach me.  Plus, like with Daemon, he's handsome and would be fun to hang with.

Highland Warrior (Murray Family, #9) (MacEnroy, #3)
10. Fiona MacEnroy -- Highland Warrior by Hannah Howell
She's very skilled with knives (her nickname is Fiona of the Ten Knives) and that would come in handy with hunting, protection, and cooking.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (42)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness 
I love this trilogy featuring a historian witch and her vampire husband.

Neanderthal Marries Human (Knitting in the City, #1.5)
Neanderthal Marries Human by Penny Reid
I adore Penny Reid's writing and I'm excited to see more with Janie and Quinn.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
I've been meaning to try this contemporary romance for a long time and finally found it on sale.

Destiny's Embrace (Destiny's, #1)
Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
I have had my eye on Jenkins's historicals and was excited to see them go on sale.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister, #4)
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
I literally squealed when I saw that I got approved for this on Netgalley.  I am obsessed with Milan's historicals and am reading/love this right now.

~RECEIVED FROM GIVEAWAY~
I won the June giveaway for the Review Pile Reading Challenge from Rachel at Fiktshun so I got to pick two books from Amazon.

Burning Dawn (Angels of the Dark, #3)
Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter
One of my favorite paranormal writers and I'm excited to see the tortured angel Thane get a happy ending.

Champion (Legend, #3)
Champion by Marie Lu
I still haven't read the second in this dystopian trilogy, but I wanted to have the complete set so I could finish it in one swoop.

***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ...
Maybe This Time by A.M. Arthur
Caroline and the Duke by Sabina Darby
Temptation in Shadows by Gena Showalter
Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling

I REVIEWED...