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Longbourn by Jo Baker

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Longbourn: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Knopf (October 8, 2013), Sold by: Random House LLC, File Size: 1708 KB, Print Length: 353 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385351232, ASIN: B00CCPIITQ

 


Longbourn is a look at the world of Pride and Prejudice from a different point of view, from the view downstairs. It is the story of the servants who work at Longbourn, the home estate of the Bennets. The author, Jo Baker, has created interesting backgrounds for the lives of these people.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought it was well written and I liked the characters. I enjoyed tying the story into Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was an interesting look at the separation of class, especially in England during this time. I recommend this book as a very good historical read.

Favourite Quotes:

“She was as sweet, soothing and undemanding as a baked milk-pudding, and as welcome at the end of an exhausting day.” Page 50

“A blur of rich colours—one green velvet coat, one blue—and the soft creak of good leather, and a scent off them like pine sap and fine candlewax and wool. She watched their glossy boots scatter her tea leaves across the wooden floor. The two gentlemen were so smooth, and so big, and of such substance: it was as though they belonged to a different order of creation entirely, and moved in a separate element, and were as different as angels.” Page 195

“Fear now was a creature; it slithered around him, covered his face and got in amongst his hair and he could not breathe and he could not think, and he just stared across the wide poor land, and along the empty road, then spun to look back off the way they’d come from.”  Page 236

“ It was not the end, of course; it was just an end. Mrs. Hill’s thread may have become snarled up into an intractable knot, but others were still unspooling. One had wound all the way out through the wild Derbyshire hills, and then along the gentler lanes of Cheshire, and then drifted across to the flat lands by the sea.” Page 328

To purchase Longbourn from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Thirteenth Tale: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Atria Books (September 12, 2006), File Size: 768 KB, Print Length: 416 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385662858, Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc, ASIN: B000JMKRKC

Margaret receives a mysterious letter from the famous author Vida Winters, and Vida is ready to finally relate her dark secret tale, but Margaret has her own secret haunting past. During her research, and during the tale, a ghost is seen lurking in the old mansion at Angelfield estate, an old mansion that was burned and destroyed many years ago.

The Thirteenth Tale is Diane Setterfield’s debut novel. It is a gothic suspense novel and the story moves between the past and the present. The story is told by two people: an introverted biographer Margaret Lea as well as the fictional author Vida Winter. Margaret’s tale is told in a first person narrative, and Vida’s tale starts out in a third person narrative and then moves into a first person narrative. These two stories are about each of the character’s life.

One of the themes in this book is twins, which Ms. Setterfield has an interesting way of presenting, and at times a twin is seen in the reflection in the glass, or in a mirror, and in a shadow but often she appears pale and colorless. The Thirteenth Tale is the untold story of fictional author Vida Winter and is revealed by the end of the book.

I recommend this book as a very good read, and this standalone story is told in an interesting and intriguing manner.  The characters are unique but the story is sad and somewhat haunting.

Favorite Quote:

For I was spellbound. There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider ilk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic. (Location 202)

 

To Purchase: “The Thirteenth Tale” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Wizard and the Warlord by M.R. Mathias

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Wardstoned Trilogy

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Wardstone Trilogy, Book Three
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 593 KB, (Print Length: 425 pages), ASIN: B008E71GY00

Hyden Hawk knows he must defeat The Warlord, even if this evil creature was once his brother. The Dragon Queen was defeated but she is not gone. The Warlord can use her body as a tool to reach into the world. The Elves realize it is time to stop hiding and instead they must help the humans defeat this evil before it annihilates the world. The Warlord and his minions are extremely powerful, but can the High King and Hyden Hawk, with the help of the Elves, Giants, Dragons and Dwarves defeat this evil?

The Wizard and Warlord is the third and final installment in the Wardstone Trilogy.  Mr. Mathias has written numerous books, primarily fantasy novels, and he has also written a couple of Horror books as well. There are several protagonists in this fantasy tale and it is told in the third person narrative with the voice and thoughts of the main players.

This is the best book in the trilogy.  The story starts with the Elves and introduces their culture as well as some new characters. These new characters are skillfully brought into the storyline and connected with some of the previous players. There are numerous quests that occur which lead the characters into unique situations. Most of the characters grow and develop as the trilogy concludes. The characters are likeable and the comradery that exists between them is fun the read.

The book examines the idea of revenge and shows the undesired effects that can occur when revenge is the only motivator. Within the Warlord a small part of Gerard remains, and it is sad to see how evil power corrupted a sweet boy. Hyden Hawk hopes that he can stop The Warlord, the being who was once his brother, but he also hopes they can both still survive.

Although this book is the final in the trilogy, the story can stand on its own, however to receive the most enjoyment the previous two books should be read first.  I recommend this book as a good read. It is an exciting epic tale filled with interesting characters, lots of action and numerous adventures.

Favourite Quote:

“The snow-capped mountains literally looked to be formed of molten copper as the sun inched down behind them. Then as the sun’s glow faded and the silvery light of the stars took over, the mountains appeared frosted in crystal.”

 

To purchase: “The Wizard and the Warlord” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Tower by Jade Varden

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Deck of Lies

Book Review: 2 Treasure Box Rating
Deck of Lies, Book 2
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2012), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 361 KB, Print Length: 162 pages, ASIN: B007RTX4V4

While Rain is figuring out who she and her family really are, she is also trying to find Laurel Riordan’s killer. Rain knows that the answer to these questions will either lead her out from under the craziness her life has become or will send her further down the spiral into doom.

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, currently there are 3 books in the series with book 4 coming soon. The books are YA fiction and are told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist.

The story continues in this installment and it becomes more interesting and convoluted as it unfolds. While Rain is working through the lies that created her life, she remains relatively unchanged. Her name may have grown and changed but she is still the same person.. Once again there were many surprising and shocking events, with an interlocking connection appearing between the characters.

This is not a standalone novel, and in fact it ended with a cliff-hanger. I am curious to find out what happens next and where this story is going to end. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

To Purchase: “The Tower” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Justice by Jade Varden

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Deck of Lies

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Deck of Lies, book #1
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 23, 2012), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 364 KB, Print Length: 154 pages, ASIN: B006PW51F6

Rain Ramey received a scholarship to the Sloane Academy, but when she arrived the other students made it very clear, that she didn’t belong. Rain’s whole life falls apart after the Queen Bee of the school plays a dirty trick on her.

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, currently there are 3 books in the series with book 4 coming soon. The books are YA fiction and are told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist.

Justice is captivating, but at times it was surreal, and had a soap opera feel. Rain is a likeable teenager who faces numerous challenges after it is revealed that her whole life has been a lie. There were numerous moments when I was shocked at the outcome. The story has several twists and turns, some expected, but others were totally unforeseen.

This is not a standalone book, but it is an intriguing start to an entertaining series. As soon as I completed this book, I quickly picked up the second book in the series, The Tower. I recommend this book as a good read.

To Purchase: “Justice” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Minar-Jaynes

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Inkbug Media (November 16, 2011), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, File Size: 452 KB, Print Length: 330 pages, ASIN: B0068RVK2Q

How is a young abused boy and a missing, wild and reckless young woman related? “Never Smile at Strangers” shows the reaction of a small town when a young woman disappears and outlines the derailment of an abused boy as he grows into manhood.

This is the first novel Jennifer Minar-Jaynes has published and it is a thriller/suspense.  The story is primarily told in a third person narrative from the point of view of a number of the characters.

The story was captivating from the first page, and I was interested to see where it was going and how it would end. There are several interesting characters that the novel centers around, and each of their journeys are cleverly woven together. Most of the characters were well rounded and the reader can understand the choices that were made. There were also some exciting scenes. Erica was one of my favourite characters; I found her character both likeable and fascinating.

This standalone story that is skillfully drafted, includes a great conclusion, and I recommend it as a very good read.

To Purchase: “Never Smile at Strangers” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series A Song of Fire and Ice

Book Review: 1 treasure Box
Book Five of A Song of Ice and Fire
Publisher: Bantam (July 12, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 4109 KB (1,040 pages), ASIN: B003YL4LYI


Throughout the seven kingdoms and beyond there is strife, death and disaster. Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons are huge and can no longer be contained, plus she is struggling to maintain her rule in Mereen. Jon Snow may be the commander of the Watch, but he too has enemies all around him. King Stannis is on the march, but what will he find when he arrives? Is there more beyond the wall than coming death? Book five addresses some of these outstanding items.

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in the series. Two more books are proposed to be coming in the future. We might need to wait a long time for the final books considering there was a six year span between books four and five and Mr. Martin has barely begun writing book six. This series falls into the fantasy genre and takes place on a fictional world that is similar to earth during the times of King Arthur, but it includes magic, strange beings and winters that can last up to 10 years. The story is told in a third person narrative from the numerous different characters point of view with each chapter bearing the name of the character it is focusing on.

This book dragged quite a bit and did not really seem to move the story forward much.  It takes place at the same time as The Feast of Crows but involves different characters. Considering the length of the book not much happened, although some of the things that did happen were a bit surprising.  It took me a long time to get through it and at times it was more of a chore than a pleasure to pick it up and read it. Although I still enjoyed the story and I thought the direction that Mr. Martin went with some of the characters was interesting.

This is not a standalone story; in fact it ends with a shocking cliff-hanger. Even though I was disappointed with this installment, I am still looking forward to The Winds of Winter, hoping it will be an improvement.  Dance with Dragons is still a must read for any Song of Ice and Fire fans.

Questions to ponder:

Do you like the HBO series The Game of Thrones?

If you have been watching the TV series, do you like the direction they are going?


To Purchase: “A Dance with Dragons” from Amazon, click here or on picture above.

 

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Book Review, Fantasy, Goodreads, Kindle

2 Comments

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Only The Strongest Survive by Ian Fox

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, File Size: 522 KB, Print Length: 250 pages, ASIN: B006AO1QKS

Emely Donnovan is a successful business women with many enemies. Her cut throat business tactics have made her a target for revenge. The Langdon brothers, who lost their business due to their own carelessness as well as Emely’s machinations have decided to make her pay. This is the story of her journey through torture and redemption.

Ian Fox has written several books in the suspense category.  Only the Strongest Survive is not only suspense but it is also a love story. It is told in a third person narrative, primarily from the point of view of the main protagonist, Emely Donnovan, but at times it moves over to the point of view of the main antagonist, John Langdon.

This is an interesting tale which is intriguing from the first page. The story follows several unique avenues and I was never quite sure where the story was going or how it was going to end. There is plenty of action throughout the book as well as several hot sex scenes.  I liked the characters and I felt there was a good character arc for both Emely and John.

This is a standalone story which builds quite nicely up to an exciting and satisfying ending. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

To Purchase: “Only the Strongest Survive” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Goodreads, Kindle, Romance, Suspence

1 Comment

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The Truth About Us by Dalene Flannigan

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Dalene Flannigan (November 5, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 319 KB, ASIN: B00642CEB6


A horrendous, life changing event impacts three young college students. To protect themselves, they swear to keep it a secret. After graduation, they drift apart, each finding ways to escape their past. Twenty years later, one of the friends decides the truth must come out, but at what cost? This story examines each of their lives, how they have reconciled with the past and how revealing the truth will affect them.

The Truth About Us is Dalene Flannigan’s second novel, she has also written a couple of plays. This book is a drama and it is told in an alternating first person narrative by the three main protagonists. Three women who roomed together in college. The story takes place about 20 years after they graduated. Grace is now a successful, independent woman who makes documentary films about violence against women. Erica is struggling with her marriage but loves her two children and is trying to make her life work. For Jude, life has been difficult so she turned to drugs, and became an addict, but recently she has found Jesus, This has led her onto a new path and she is putting her life back together.

The story was well told and intriguing from the first page. Ms. Flannigan is a gifted story teller as she baits the reader, slowly releasing facts while drawing us in. Each of the characters are well drawn, well rounded people who we care about. I found the book hard to put down. First I was curious to find out what the secret was, and then once it was revealed I could understand why they wanted to keep it a secret. I could also see how the secret impacted each of them and lead to their current lives.

The Truth About Us is a standalone book, with a well developed plot and a great ending. If you enjoy reading a good story about women, then I recommend this book.

To Purchase: “The Truth About Us” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Posted by on December 19, 2011 in 3 Treasure Boxes, Book Review, Drama, Goodreads, Kindle

1 Comment

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The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing LLC (April 21, 2010), Paperback: 304 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1608444182

A horrendous event occurred in Stevie’s life when she was sixteen which continues to haunt her. The story starts when she abandons her loving husband, Ash, when she is in her late twenties. Her past won’t leave her alone. This is a tale of love, betrayal and secrets which continually tears at Stevie’s heart.

The Secret of Lies is Barbara Forte Abate’s debut novel. This drama is told to us with a first person narrative using the voice and thoughts of the main protagonist, Stevie Burke. She is a young woman and the story follows her tale as she grows from a young teenager of twelve until she is in her late twenties.

The story grabs our attention from the first page and keeps us involved right up until the last page. It starts in the present, alluding to a tragedy, and then flashes to the past.  Tension is immediately created and as the tale unfolds, I knew something bad was going to happen. I loved the beautiful word pictures that Ms. Forte Abate creates when she describes the beach house and the summers that Stevie spent there with her sister, aunt and uncle.

The book still needs a bit of polish, but overall it was well written. I liked Stevie’s character, but I did not see any reason that Ash would be so devoted to her.  She was rather selfish, self-absorbed, and not very nice to Ash. I understand why she was the way she was, but I still had a hard time believing that Ash would be interested in Stevie.

I recommend this book, it is a good read. The story will keep you entertained as the characters are developed and it is an interesting look at the dynamics of family.

To Purchase: “The Secret of Lies” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Posted by on December 19, 2011 in 2 Treasure Boxes, Drama, Goodreads, Kindle

3 Comments

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