Monday, June 26, 2017

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

More info*
Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Waterbrook
Pages: 308
My rating: 3.5
Ages: 14+

Jane and her sister Celia run a fairly successful tea salon in San Francisco. But then the rent is raised to more than they can afford, they move their younger sister out to Austin, Texas, partly running from their past and partly because they have people willing to help them. Callum has just returned to Austin after a medical discharge from the marines. Sure that no one could love a man as broken as he is, he has come to terms with living alone--until he meets Jane.

This retelling of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility is populated by fun and interesting characters. While most retellings and adaptations of Austen's novel seem to focus on the oldest sister, this is told from the alternating points of view of the middle sister Jane and Callum Beckett.

This book isn't meant to be taken very seriously. I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece, but it's fun and enjoyable. Simple and easy to understand. I read it in less than 24 hours on the weekend. There are some recipes at the end of certain chapters, and quotes about tea and Texas at the beginning. I'd say that it is cozy.

There were a couple of small continuity mistakes here and there, but nothing that really bothered me.

No language or sex.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 300
My rating: 3 stars
Ages: 15+

Alice doesn't believe in luck; at least, not good luck. So when she buys her friend Teddy a lottery ticket as a joke for his birthday, she doesn't expect anything to come of it. But the next day, Teddy becomes the youngest winner of the lottery ever. Alice is scared what this change will do to her best friend--who she has been in love with for years.

I usually love Smith's characters; however, I really didn't like Teddy. Even at the end. He had ignored and brushed off Alice so many times, got mad at her for sharing her opinion, and never seemed to try to see things from her side. Then he would get jealous and childish when she seemed interested in another person. Even at the end of book, I still just couldn't find myself liking him.

That said, I did like the book and the concept of it. Who hasn't thought what they would do if they won the lottery? How would life change or not change? How would it affect your friends and family? Though, really, the story was more about Alice growing and learning about family and friendship than Teddy winning the lottery. And the writing was spot on.

There is some mild language, but no sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 400
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 10+

Peregrine was raised thinking she was a Lakti--a member of the ruling class. Then a fairy comes to her and tells her that she is a Bamarre, the oppressed people who were conquered by the Lakti generations ago. Perry must make the decision to continue to live as a Lakti or to embrace being a Bamarre to save her people.

This is a prequel to Levine's The Two Princesses of Bamarre, telling the background of the freedom of the Bamarre that is referenced. To be honest, it's been a long time since I read Two Princesses, but this book stood on it's own. I just wanted to pick up on the Easter eggs and allusions.

Levine has been one of my favorite authors since I was a kid, so I was excited when a new book came out. This has shades of multiple fairy tales and stories, without being tooI don't know if this is her best book, but it was exciting and a good read, especially if you are a fan.

There is no language or sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 388
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 16+

Lucy in secure in her life as a Pastor's Kid, relying on her faith and her relationship with her family to guide her life. But when her mom is diagnosed with cancer, Lucy's faith fails her and she starts pushing back against the things she was taught. Instead of helping with her parents' church camp over the summer, Lucy becomes a counselor at the "hippie" camp. It's there that she learns about who she really is and what it means to love and be loved.

I just really love Lord's writing. It's so approachable and easy to read, but with a depth that usually comes from much more complicated writing. I like the view of Lucy's crisis of faith--I think it's something that a lot of people go through. She still held onto the things she was taught, and still wanted to be faithful, but was angry at God.

There comes a time in every teenager's life that they need to learn for themselves and stop relying on their parents to tell them how they should be. And there comes a time when a child learns more about their parents as people, with histories and faults. Lucy learning these things and growing as a person and a friend was natural.

Also, I cried several times.

There is some swearing (about four f-words) and mention of sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.