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The Return of the King

15 Dec

The Return of the King(PICK IT)

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Genre: Classics

First Published: 1955

Page Count: 277

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: Book 3 in The Lord of the Rings series

This final book in the trilogy concludes in a grand way and gives fans solid closure for one of literature’s most epic stories.

__________________Positives__________________

*Epic closure of journey     *Great Characters

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Drawn out ending

I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” Frodo Baggins has struggled across miles of Middle Earth to reach the land of the enemy and finally destroy the one ring to rule them all. While his old fellowship waits to see if he is able to complete his quest, they are given the difficult task of defending the lands of men against all types of nightmarish beasts that make up the army of the dark lord. Will a small hobbit be able to conquer one of the most powerful enemies this realm has ever known?

I finally decided I’d put off reading this book long enough, even though I never wanted the series to end. At least now I can say I’ve read everything in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, but it was still sad watching it all wrap up. Right from the beginning of this book, you are caught up in the grand battles and challenges of the characters, so this book feels like one epic climax to the entire series. Even after seeing the films, there are still many surprises along the way in this book. The reader is also exposed to nearly every character that was introduced in past books which make the story feel even grander because you can see how truly connected they all are in this quest and everyone has a role to play, big or small. The characters are what make this trilogy, and reading how each one fares, even after the end is very satisfying.

The only thing that I didn’t necessarily dislike but I found strange were the last two or three chapters of the book. It feels as if the book should end after the fellowship’s mission is completed but the book plays out to show the reader exactly what happens to each character in a happily ever after sort of way…in most cases. There is also the addition of a whole event in The Shire that the hobbits are a part of that didn’t really feel like it belonged to the rest of the book. While I enjoyed every page of these chapters, I felt they would have been better as an epilogue since they were more along the lines of The Hobbit and not the vicious battles and glory of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

This is a book you really only take on if you’ve read the other books in the trilogy. However, there are no other books that match it and it will forever stand the test of time. It may seem like a big commitment of time on your end but if you love reading or the films,  I would highly suggest reading through this series. I tried and failed to read them in middle school and finishing them now feels like a rite of passage as far as reading great literature goes. This is one series that cannot be missed.

*Film Adaptations: (Starring Elijah Wood 2003), (Starring Orson Bean 1980)

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The World Below

1 Dec

The World Below(PICK IT)

Author: Mike Phillips

Genre: Fantasy

First Published: 2013

Page Count: 197

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Note: Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Goblin King series

While I won’t be jumping for joy over the book as a whole, the story does have some redeeming qualities that make it worth checking out.

__________________Positives__________________

*Interesting characters     *Unique mythology

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Many grammatical errors     *Cringe worthy dialogue     *Sloppy  story layout

If he wasn’t careful, if all this didn’t come to an end soon, he might find himself living in the World Below with all the other freaks.” Below the human world lives a myriad of ancient and mythical creatures in what is known as the World Below. The vicious, tyrannical goblin ruler Baron Finkbeiner has his position threatened when the only weapon that can defeat him is mysteriously stolen. With the help of a beautiful faerie and a rag-tag team of goblins, human Mitch Hardy wields the powerful Blade of Caro and the fate of those seeking freedom from the evil Finkbeiner.

There is definitely the makings of a great series in the depths of this book. The whole mythology involving the World Below and the fact that this book is centered around goblins make it different from most fantasy books I’ve read. There are books about everything from vampires, to werewolves, to witches, but there are few books solely about goblins so it’s a nice change. However, you also get a glimpse of a lot of other magical creatures like minotaurs and imps which add to the appeal. My favorite characters in the story, which come into the tale way too late in the game in my opinion, are Mitch’s team of quirky goblin friends. They reminded me a lot of the seven dwarves because they’ve each got their own distinct personality. They add a lot more heart to the story and make you feel more invested in the goblin cause.

While I enjoyed this story, there were definitely things about it that brought down my rating. For one thing there were a lot of grammatical errors and misspellings of words that need to be corrected. There were just too many to miss for me to let that one go. I also didn’t like the way the story was laid out. The beginning was really confusing and it had two story lines going with no explanation of how they related to each other until later on. You open the book and are thrown into the crux of the adventure without a real introduction to the mythology of the world or its characters. Another oddity was that sometimes there would be something that happened to one character and in the next chapter the author would backtrack and show that same scene from the prospective of another character but there wouldn’t really be any point to this. The new perspective just showed how or why a scene would play out but it didn’t add much to the story and I could have gone without it. The final thing that really bugged me about the book was the dialogue. It seemed so cheesy and it was a bit much from certain characters like Mitch. It was like the author was trying a bit too hard to create camaraderie among the characters and it felt forced.

The book does have its negatives but these are all problems that can be remedied. The good thing is there is a solid story and the foundation for a great series underneath it all. While I definitely would not pay the advertised price on the back of the book of $19.99, I did like it enough to be interested in what happens next for the characters.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

Mini Shopaholic

28 Nov

Mini Shopaholic(PICK IT)

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Chick Lit

First Published: 2010

Page Count: 414

Type: Hardcover

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: Book 6 in the Shopaholic series

There are few book series that consistently deliver creativity with their story lines, but Kinsella has once again proved that her shopaholic books can still touch your funny bone and your heart.

__________________Positives__________________

*New dynamic with new family addition    *Very touching surprise conclusion

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Becky’s antics can be maddening

Honestly, shopping beats therapy, anytime. It costs the same and you get a dress out of it.” Becky Brandon has had a lot on her hands since the birth of her daughter. With a feisty toddler to rein in, the disappointment of house hunting, and a ruined economy, Becky has to find a way to throw Luke a fabulous surprise birthday party while trying to control her endless desire to shop ’til she drops.

I can’t believe this is book six of the series, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. We’ve gone through plenty of crazed adventures with Becky in past books but this addition to the series really brings the whole collection together. Readers will love the addition of Minnie, Becky’s plucky little toddler that throws a whole new dynamic to the story line…and Becky’s shopping habits. However, Becky’s parents, her step sister, Jess, and even her husband Luke’s icy mother Elinor all have big parts in this book. It’s nice to see them all come together in this story like one big (dysfunctional) happy family. To wrap it all up, the conclusion of the book is very touching and impressed me the most when I think about all the other story lines in the previous books. You realize how much you love each and every character and how much you have enjoyed seeing Becky get to where she is in the story with her family and friends.

Although Becky’s shopping antics and other silly situations she finds herself in are meant to be seen as dramatic and foolish, sometimes I couldn’t stand the idiocy of Becky’s choices. She goes a little too far with her shopping and it was hard to believe that she could be that easily swayed to spend money the way she does. You want to hit your head against a wall or scream and tug your hair out because you can’t stand seeing her dig herself into an even deeper hole then she started in. However, if you’ve gotten to book six in the series, Becky’s behavior will be really old news and doesn’t dim the charm of the story too much.

Mini Shopaholic is my favorite book in the series because I love the fact that Becky is tackling motherhood in this story and the surprise ending is very different from what we are used to with Kinsella. I was sad to close the shopaholic chapter of my reading adventures, but I just learned another book is in the works!I can’t wait to see where Kinsella will take Becky, but if it’s anything like this book, readers are in for treat.

The Red Queen

11 Nov

The Red Queen(PICK IT)

Author: Philippa Gregory

Genre: Historical Fiction

First Published: 2010

Page Count: 377

Type: Hardcover

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: Book 2 in The War of the Roses series

There are a lot of historical fiction books out there and even a lot to choose from by this author, but this novel is a solid choice for those interested in immersing themselves in the lives of the dark, politically driven British monarchy.

__________________Positives__________________

*Unique main character     *Good ebb and flow of drama

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Main Character can be annoying

“I tell you that God will have my son Henry on the throne of England.” Margaret Beaufort has only ever wanted a life in service to God, but women don’t get to decide their futures in Medieval England. She is passed from husband to husband in order to further her house’s fortunes, but she sees this as nothing but a distraction from her true calling of being a great servant of God.  It is only with the birth of her child, Henry, that she believes she has finally found her calling, which is to make him the king of England.

There are a lot of historical fiction books about queens out there. The dark queen, the white queen, the virgin queen, the red queen….they all start to blend together and I was hoping I hadn’t already read this book and forgotten about it. However, when you start reading The Red Queen, you can tell it is something completely different from what you’re used to from Philippa Gregory and other authors of the genre. This is not some saucy seduction tale of a young maiden making her way to the throne. The main character is the most chaste and religious of Gregory’s characters I’ve read and she is seeking a throne for her son instead of herself. Because Margaret is part of the backbone of her son’s campaign, the reader gets to see a lot more of the political backstabbing and plotting that was usually background noise in other novels. One can feel the uncertainty of the times, the desperation, and the helplessness of a woman trying to play in a man’s world.

Though Margaret is a strong female character, she can sometimes come across as self-righteous and extremely blind to her own faults. She spends the entire book trying to reassure herself that she is the embodiment of a perfect servant of God and that she is not easily swayed by things like greed and vanity. However, her emotions get the best of her near the conclusion of the book and it’s evident she is not immune to jealousy and pettiness. You really just wanted to slap her at some points, because her justification for her actions were so forced. She’s not a lovable main character in my book but with what she has to deal with, you can at least respect her ability to outwit and outlast the best of England.

I was losing faith in historical fiction since a lot of the stories seem very similar. However, The Red Queen is a fresh look into the past that has a good balance of history, romance, and politics. It’s also an interesting read if you’ve indulged in some of Gregory’s other books in The War of the Roses series as they all tie together. I’ve still got a few more books to read in that series, but I can’t wait to see the events from this book through another famous person’s eyes.

The Power of Body Language: How to Succeed in Every Business and Social Encounter

27 Oct

The Power of Body Language(PICK IT)

Author: Tonya Reiman

Genre: Self Help

First Published: 2007

Page Count: 312

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This book is a treasure trove of tips and tricks to interpreting body language, but it serves better as a quick reference guide then as something you can absorb in one read through.

__________________Positives__________________

*Helpful Illustrations     *Good flow of information     *Useful material for any situation

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Too much information to take in at once

Every flick of your wrist or change in your vocal tone reflects something about how you are feeling or what you are thinking to the person with whom you’re speaking.” Body language is important in all aspects of our lives. If you ever wanted to be able to interpret someone’s thoughts or feelings at work or out on the town, this is your book. You’ll even be able to use your own body language to turn any situation in your favor using your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body movements.

I had seen Tonya Reiman dissect celebrity and political figures’ body language on television before and it looked like a powerful tool to have in one’s arsenal. It might not be so critical for me to have this ability in my social life, but now that I’m out in the work force, this is definitely a skill that can come in handy. The author provides numerous techniques and examples of what to look for when studying someone’s body language and even provides illustrations and pictures of real people exhibiting the movement in question. There is a good flow to how the information is presented to the reader so that you can slowly master smaller body language expressions and then work up to bigger expressions or what multiple expressions can mean.

Reiman gives us a lot of information which can be hard to digest. I would have preferred to come away from the book with a very firm understanding of the subject. Instead I might be able to remember a couple of her tips at best. This is a book you’d need to keep for reference to refresh your memory for various life events like job interviews. I would have liked to feel a little bit more like a master interpreter after at least one go through the book.

I think this book is definitely worth picking up since it has a ton of information on body language interpretation. However, don’t expect to become an expert just by reading the book. It’s a good preview into the world of body language and what it can do for you, but if you really want to become a body language master, you’ll need to put more time and effort into your pursuits then just reading this book.

The Mist

12 Oct

The Mist(PICK IT)

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Horror

First Published: 1980

Page Count: 230

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Even at its short length, this story has a perfect give and take method of building your suspense that any horror fan will be glad they read it.

__________________Positives__________________

*Freaky premise     *Air of mystery from beginning to end

___________________Negatives_____________________

*One minor character choice didn’t fit the story well

The Harrison side of the lake was gone. It had been buried under a line of bright white mist, like a fair-weather cloud fallen to earth.” After a devastating thunderstorm rocks the vacation town of Bridgton, Maine, a mysterious mist rolls in bringing nightmarish creatures along with it. Trapped in a local grocery store, the shoppers must think of a way to survive and find a way out of their hellish predicament.

I have only read two Stephen King books (the first being Under the Dome) but I will still confidently say this is my favorite of his books so far. It isn’t really a full book, but more of a novella. I was lucky enough to finally come across it in my local bookstore in the standalone version of the story that was published when the film came out. Even though King only gives you a partial glimpse of the horrors within the mist and what might have brought about its existence, it is what you don’t see and know about the mist that gives the book its power. Stephen King has said the film version of this book was the scariest adaptation of one of his books and I’d have to say that this book is one of his scarier premises that I’m aware of. There is something so frightening about being trapped in such familiar surroundings like a local grocery store in a small town surrounded by something as common in nature as mist.

There was only one thing I really had a problem with in the book. I won’t reveal what it is so that I don’t spoil the story for anyone. However it is a choice the main character, David Drayton, makes while he is held hostage by the mist in the grocery store that didn’t sit well with me. It went against everything that we knew to be true about his character and values from the beginning of the story. I suppose you could chalk his choice up to the pressures that apocalyptic scenarios put on people, which cause them to act differently than normal. However, his choice seemed really out of left field and didn’t add anything substantial to the story, so I could have done without that scene.

While The Mist is certainly a simple story, that doesn’t take away any of its horror punch. It gets right down to business by building up the terror and the length of the story is perfect for the tale King has crafted. Even the ambiguous ending leaves you something nice to chew on. Not every book needs to be X amount of pages long and filled with blood thirsty zombies to give you an uneasy night in bed, and King proves that here.

*Film Adaptations: (Starring Marcia Gay Harden 2007)

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

5 Oct

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister(PICK IT)

Author: Gregory Maguire

Genre: Fantasy

First Published: 1999

Page Count: 368

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 5/5 Stars

For those of us that miss the fantasy of childhood fairy tales, Maguire gives adults a chance at recapturing that fanciful feeling with the addition of an enticing, mature plot.

__________________Positives__________________

*Original take on a beloved childhood fairy tale     *Gloomier, mysterious feel

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Difficult vocabulary

…what is the use of beauty?” You may think you know the famous story of Cinderella, but as her ugly step sisters, Iris and Ruth Fisher, will show you, the reality of Clara van den Meer’s life is darker than the happily ever after story that time has painted.  Clara indeed possesses the otherworldly beauty that captures the prince’s attention as we know in the story, but hidden beneath that beauty is a person who has willfully chosen to shut herself away in her lavish home out of fear and habit. Her new step sisters must try to unravel the secrets of Clara’s past for the safety of their new families future.

Because I didn’t enjoy The Wicked Years series about the wicked witch of the west by Maguire, I didn’t think I would enjoy this book either, but I had bought it so I might as well read it. I thought it would be hammered down in politics the way those books were, but, in fact, this book was the perfect blend of fairy tale and reality. It’s exciting to read another take on a popular childhood fairy tale, but it’s even better when the story is so different from the original or any other adaptation. It is so unique, I almost felt the story could have stood on its own without being related to Cinderella. There are only a few references to the original story, such as her name or the notorious slippers, but those references all topple in at the end of the book, as if to remind you that you’re supposed to recognize this story. There is a darkly whimsical take to how Cinderella grows up that is actually more engrossing then the original tale this book is based on. However, the feisty anti-hero of the book, Clara’s pitiful stepsister Iris, is just as interesting to follow along with.

The one thing that struck me with this book was the vocabulary used. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here or anything, but I do read a lot of books with a lot of different verbiage. Therefore, I was secure in the knowledge that I should be able to concur any book that comes across my path. However, a lot of Maguire’s choice of words seemed almost made up. It probably didn’t help that the used book I had bought had every troubling word underlined, which only made it burst off the page the minute I’d laid eyes on it. I think it’s always good to expand one’s vocabulary and I like a challenge, but the words were so strange-looking on the page that sometimes I couldn’t tell whether I needed a dictionary or a decoder for some made-up language Maguire had penned.

This type of book is the reason I read. It lets you explore fairy tales again and not feel like you must have a simple plot and characters to experience that magic and mystery. There is only one more book by Maguire that takes on a twisted look at a popular fairy tale, but after reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, I really wish the author would take a stab at a few more of my childhood favorites. There are so few authors that can entertain adults in fantasy the way Maguire has done with this book.

*TV Adaptations: (TV Movie, Starring Stockard Channing 2002)

Northanger Abbey

15 Sep

Jane Austen: Seven Novels(PICK IT)

Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Classics

First Published: 1817

Page Count: 125

Type: Hardcover

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 4/5 Stars

It’s not one of Austen’s best stories but it will satisfy any of her fans with its entertaining characters and intrigue.

__________________Positives__________________

*Exciting second half of the novel

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Beginning is slow     *Dull main character

Beware how you give your heart.” Catherine Morland is lucky enough to spend some months with her generous neighbors on a trip to Bath which will expose her to more people of society then she would have access to in rural Fullerton where she lives. She instantly befriends the children of the Thorpe family, specifically one of the three daughters, Isabella. She also finds herself becoming close to the Tilney family which is due to the fact that she has become besotted with one of the sons, Henry Tilney. However, not everything or everyone is what they seem, and Catherine must discover who her true friends are and what it feels like to be betrayed.

I’ve only got three more of Austen’s novels to get through before I’ve conquered them all, so I figured I’d hurry my progress along and try Northanger Abbey. Though this is definitely not one of my favorite of Austen’s books, it still is a satisfying read because it contains all the elements of a good Jane Austen novel: interesting personalities personified in her quirky characters, romance, and some 19th century plot twists. It isn’t until you get to the second half of the book that you’ve been introduced to all the characters and their importance to the story starts to take form. Austen has some great twists that I didn’t see coming, but it all happens very quickly at the end. Once Catherine makes it to Northanger Abbey, that is when the novel really gets going, but the beginning in Bath is just as necessary even if it pales in comparison to the events at the end.

I was excited to read Northanger Abbey because I thought it would be a fun change from her other works with its concentration on Gothic literature. While there is reference too it a lot, there is really only one event that really plays off of the adventurous appeal of gothic novels. That was a little disappointing; I thought there would be more of a supernatural element to the setting that gives its name to the book. Besides that, the beginning of the book is a little slow since Catherine is mostly just getting to know her new friends in Bath and all of the intrigue unfolds once she gets to Northanger. In fact, there were so few pages in the book left once she got there, I was almost wondering if we were ever going to be introduced to the infamous abbey. I also found Catherine to be a dull character, especially compared to the witty or silly secondary characters around her. Like Fanny Price of Austen’s other book, Mansfield Park, Catherine was too good of a person and so innocent that it made her boring. I guess I’ve learned that I prefer Austen’s more bold characters like Elizabeth of Pride and Prejudice.

If you are a die-hard fan of Jane Austen, you of course need to check out this book. If you’re thinking of getting into Jane Austen I would suggest starting with one of her more popular works like Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice since those are sure to please. However, at the end of the day, Jane Austen is a fantastic writer and this book stands well against her previous works.

*TV Adaptations: (TV Episode, Starring Peter Firth 1987), (TV Movie, Starring Felicity Jones 2007)

The Wedding

2 Sep

The Wedding(PICK IT)

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Genre: Romance

First Published: 2003

Page Count: 276

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: Sequel to The Notebook

Though this book plays off the magic of one of Sparks most well-known previous novels, it has a very relatable love story that goes well with our current times.

__________________Positives__________________

*Interesting ending twist     *Noteworthy theme     *Good connection to the previous book

___________________Negatives_____________________

*None

It’s funny but have you ever noticed that the more special something is, the more people seem to take it for granted? Its like they think it won’t ever change.” Wilson Lewis  has spent his life tied to his career and he’s only starting to realize what this has cost him as he reaches his thirtieth wedding anniversary. He should be in a happier stage of his life with his daughter’s upcoming marriage but the possibility of his wife, Jane,  leaving him overshadows the gaiety of the preparations. With the help of his in-law, Noah Calhoun, Wilson must try to create the type of happiness in his own marriage that he has witnessed from his in-laws, Allie and Noah while there is still time.

This book has sat on the shelf a long time simply because I hated The Notebook. I know it’s because I greatly preferred the film adaptation, which isn’t really fair when judging a book, but it made me wonder if it’s sequel could possibly do any better. Thankfully, it was radically better than what I expected. I enjoyed how the author weaved The Notebook into this story which I think adds to its romantic, magical feeling. Noah and Allie Calhoun are up there with Romeo and Juliet as far as I’m concerned when it comes to famous lovers in literature, and any connection to them adds to the power of the romance in this story. However, this book could really stand on its own as far as the story goes, which is great because the author isn’t making this The Notebook 2; it is its own unique world. It feels like you’re getting something new but with some added magic of the past; it’s a fantastic combo. The message in this story also really hit home for me as well. The whole point is not to get caught up in things that don’t matter when your life comes to an end; in Wilson Lewis’s case it was his job that consumed him but it was his wife and family he had neglected. I think this is something our society totally ignores and it is really sad. A glowing career or numerous accolades don’t amount to anything if you are alone at the end of your days without any memories to keep you company.

I really had no problems with this book for what it is. If you don’t like romantic novels then obviously this isn’t for you. However, it is a quick read with a solid plot including romance and heartache that really touch you. What else would you expect from Sparks at this point? It’s also great because, unlike his other books, which I seem to have a knack for figuring out in the end, this one has a satisfying twist at the end I didn’t see coming.

If you enjoyed The Notebook (the film or the book), I would definitely check out The Wedding because it gives you some nice closure to that story while also showing you another side of that family. After finishing the book, whether you’ve lived your life like Noah Calhoun or Wilson Lewis, you will definitely be left reflecting on how short life is and where your time and energy can most meaningfully be spent in the future.

The Huntress

31 Aug

The Huntress(PICK IT)

Author: Susan Carroll

Genre: Historical Fiction

First Published: 2007

Page Count: 490

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Note: Book 4 in The Dark Queen series

Even after creating three expansive books in this series, Carroll still manages to roll out an interesting story that stays true to what fans expect from this author.

__________________Positives__________________

*New mix of main characters     *Different feel then previous books in the series

___________________Negatives_____________________

*Slow unraveling of the plot

The comet blazed against the night sky, brighter than any star its ghostly head trailed by a streak of fire.” Young Meg Wolfe has been spirited away to London by her protective father, the rogue Martin Le Loupe, in order to protect her from a fanatical coven that believes her to be the powerful sorceress known as the Silver Rose. Fiery huntress, Catriona, has been dispatched by the Lady of Faire Isle to protect the child from those that could wish her harm, including the dark queen of France herself, Catherine de Medici. Though Meg only wants to please her father and grow to be a proper English woman, she can’t seem to forget her dark past or the possibilities of her not so ordinary future. The question is, will she use her powers for good, or turn to the darkness like her evil mother?

For some reason whenever I see the books in this series that I have left to read, I’m never very excited to jump into them. However, they consistently impress me with their stories and characters which has made me stick to the series. This book was no exception and I think it was my favorite. Thus far, each book has been about a different sister of the Lady of Faire Isle or about Lady Arianne herself. This one mixes it up by following Lady Arianne’s loyal friend Catriona and her interaction with the familiar Martin Le Loupe and his daughter Meg. Adding Meg to the mix also puts a new element to the series because you are constantly second guessing what her intentions are for her magical abilities. This book feels different from the rest because it isn’t just about the heroine dealing with some drama while also falling into a passionate love affair. Le Loupe’s mysterious daughter adds a new dimension that keeps you reading to find out what she’s hiding and where she will steer her future.

The only qualm I have with this book, and this is one I’ve had with all of them, is that the plot takes awhile to unfold. The story is well paced but at the same time there are points where I’d wish that I was already at the height of the climax instead of enduring the slow dance of the buildup. This is what usually makes me look back at the books negatively. With frilly historical romance books I usually prefer them as quick reads, so these books always look daunting on the shelves and I remember feeling a little worn out from the length of one of these books by the end. However, if the stories weren’t as great as they are, I wouldn’t keep picking them up so I guess it’s not that big of an issue in my case.

This book has brought my excitement back for this series and I actually can’t wait to read the next book. Hopefully, I’ll remember this positive feeling next time I glance at my book shelf and not the length of the book. Make sure not to miss this book; the twists and turns, the romance, and the historical elements mesh into a great read.