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Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: 2016
Length: 626 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★

Three months after breaking the curse on Prythian and being resurrected as a High Fae by its High Lords, Feyre is haunted by her traumatic experiences as Amarantha’s prisoner. She flees north when her plans to marry the now unsupportive and oppressively overprotective Tamlin fall through thanks to the bargain she struck Under the Mountain with the High Lord Rhysand. There, in his mysterious Night Court, she discovers freedom, a kind of healing, and her own strange new abilities, but also that Amarantha may only have been the beginning of Prythian’s troubles. As the fearsome King of Hybern prepares for war, Feyre must attempt to make peace with her past, train herself for battle…and to make sense of her growing feelings for Rhys.

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Review: Born Wicked

Review: Born Wicked

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: 2012
Length:  330 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

In this alternate universe, late nineteenth-century New England exists as its own political entity run by a puritanical patriarchy called the Brotherhood. Cate Cahill, sixteen, has grown up being taught that she is inherently wicked–and not only because she and her younger sisters are all witches. More than a hundred years before Cate’s time, New England was a bastion of magic, religious freedom, and female power, but now the Brothers keep close tabs on girls’ behavior. Any girl who steps out of line can expect either to be sent to an insane asylum or a prison ship, and at seventeen, every girl must declare her intentions: to marry or to join a religious order called the Sisterhood. As Cate’s seventeenth birthday rapidly approaches, she becomes increasingly anxious to protect her vulnerable younger sisters even as she learns yet more dangerous secrets that further complicate her already-limited choices.

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Review: The Wicked and the Just

Review: The Wicked and the Just

Title: The Wicked and the Just
Author: J. Anderson Coats
Published: 2012
Length: 342 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ¾

The lives of two girls who feel they’ve lost everything–including estates they consider their birthrights–entertwine in thirteenth-century Wales when Cecily d’Edgeley’s father becomes an English burgess in the town of Caernarvon. Cecily feels her life has been ruined and dreams only of fancy gowns and returning to her childhood home, now occupied by her uncle. She struggles to adjust to living by new rules and among new people who are neither respectful nor submissive like the peasants at Edgeley. Meanwhile her new housemaid Gwenhwyfar, herself once the daughter of a lord, works to the bone simply for a meager supply of food and a few paltry coins.  She hates “the brat” and all the English of Caernarvon, and she’s hardly the only one. As Cecily grumbles about learning to walk like a lady and innocently torments (she thinks) her Welsh servants, tension fed by anger, fear, and hunger brews among the persecuted native populace beyond the city walls–tension that, before long, must boil over.

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Review: The Mermaid’s Sister

Review:  The Mermaid’s Sister

Title: The Mermaid’s Sister
Author: Carrie Anne Noble
Published: 2015
Length: 234 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Clara has lived her entire life in a small cottage on Llanfair Mountain with her adopted mother and sister. They’ve grown up with stories of how their Auntie found them as babies: Clara brought by a stork and Maren left on the doorstep in a clamshell.  When the girls turn sixteen, however, the stories become all too real for Clara as her sister changes before her eyes. Scales appear on Maren’s stomach, her fingers and toes grow webbed, and she is soon unable to live out of some kind of water. With heavy hearts, Clara, Maren, and their lifelong friend O’Neill eventually embark on a journey to the ocean. Yet after their wagon is sabotaged and they are kidnapped, they find themselves fighting for their very lives.

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Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Published: 2014
Length: 355 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★

Hopeless romantic Lara Jean has fallen in–and, she thinks, out of–love with five different boys in her life, and to each one she’s written a heartfelt and very private love letter to “get over” her crush and move on. Then, just before the beginning of her junior year of high school, her secret letters get mailed. Embarrassed, Lara Jean makes a contract with letter recipient Peter K., her former friend and crush, to make one of the other recipients (who also happens to be her next-door neighbor and, worse, her sister’s ex-boyfriend) believe she’s moved on. But as the months pass, she begins to wonder just how fake her fake relationship really is.

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Review: The Glass Casket

Review: The Glass Casket

Title: The Glass Casket
Author: McCormick Templeman
Published: 2014
Length: 337 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Standing there in the snow, one raven-haired beauty wrapped entirely in crimson and one pale-haired sparrow of a girl swathed in white. 

“We must look like a tragedy,” Fiona said. “We must look like blood in snow.”

A series of disturbing deaths suddenly plague the small mountain community of Nag’s End during the same winter that Rowan Rose’s mysterious cousin Fiona Eira moves there with her stepparents. Things go from bad to worse not long after Fiona and Rowan’s best friend Tom fall in love. Bodies pile up as Tom’s behavior becomes erratic and violent, and frightened rumors begin to fly. But not all is as it seems. Rowan must discover the truth about her cousin–and herself–before years of secrets destroy Tom–or Nag’s End itself.

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Review: Ungrateful Daughters

Review: Ungrateful Daughters

Title: Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father’s Crown
Author: Maureen Waller
Published: 2002
Length: 455 pages (includes image plates, notes, bibliography, and index)

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

In the summer of 1688, the queen of England finally bears her husband James II a healthy, legitimate son and heir. The newborn Prince of Wales is named James Francis Edward, but instead of being cause for celebration, his birth arouses suspicion, conspiracy theories–and treason. James II and his wife, Mary Beatrice, are unapologetic Catholics, something that inspires fear and loathing among many of his subjects. While ugly rumors of about the baby prince’s legitimacy and  identity swirl, fueled in part by James’ own adult daughter Anne, a small group of noblemen come together to do the unthinkable: offer the already-occupied throne to James’ other daughter Mary and her husband, William Prince of Orange, as a means of chasing Catholicism out of England once and for all.

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