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Manor of Secrets

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manor of secrets

The Manor of Secrets more like the manor of inconsistent characters and spoiled heiresses. I can see where Longshore was trying to go with this but it was poorly executed. I spent most of the book rolling my eyes and waiting for it to be over.

I think we were supposed to like the main character, Lady Charlotte, but I had a hard time considering I wanted to smack her for most of it. She is completely unaware of the position of power she has and how the affects how she is treated by her staff. She “makes friends” with one of the kitchen girls, Janie but regularly asks her to take risks that could cause her to lose her job. Charlotte who has spent her whole life ignoring the staff suddenly decided that they she should venture downstairs and turn the whole social dynamic on its head. Of course she’s not doing this to better the lives of her staff, nope she’s doing it because she wants adventure.

The book claims that the Manor is full of secrets but it really has one that you can figure out fairly early on. The pace and the lack of mystery make the story drag. On top of that characters change depending on what Longshore wants to happen in the story. It was beyond frustrating to see a character stand up for themselves on one page and on the next cower and cry.

The book has a very campy feel to it. And there’s a poorly written tacky love triangle. We all know how much I love, love triangles…. So not only is there a love triangle but it’s written with an attempt to be dramatic and just comes off as ridiculous.

SPOILER

No one no matter how awful they seem are actually awful. By the end of the book any and all transgressions are forgiven and everyone is BFF’s. *gag*

Does it pass the Bechdel test?

Yes

Trigger Warnings:

No known

Final Rating:

gold-star (1)

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The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

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 the heist

Ah a new series by Janet Evanovich, co-authored by Lee Goldberg. I’m happy to report that this series seems far more promising than Evanovich’s Lizzy & Diesel one. O’Hare, a FBI agent, has been chasing Fox, a con man, for years and she finally catches the bastard. But now O’Hare’s boss wants her to team up with Fox to catch a bad guy the FBI just can’t nab thanks to some pesky laws. Wackiness ensues as they try to put together a team that will help them catch their mark.

This book had the typical romantic male lead, Fox, totally overstepping his bounds. Fox likes to push O’Hare’s buttons, one way he does this is to Facebook stalk her sister and then talk to O’Hare about what he saw…because that’s not creepy. This isn’t written as a horror novel, it’s a romantic comedy so Facebook stalking is considered cute and endearing.

Don’t get me wrong creepy, stalker romantic lead aside this book is laugh out loud funny. This is why I keep coming back to Evanovich’s books. I am able to get past the semi-fleshed out characters, casual sexism, racism and misogyny because the books are stupid funny. None of these flaws are too blatant to drag you out of the book to vent on a social media site, but if you expected a book with Evanovich’s name on the cover to be sort of progressive sorry, you won’t find that here.  I always wonder what happened to Evanvich to be so obsessed with food and big breasted women, if anyone knows can you fill me in? One day, when I want to get trashed, I’m going to make a drinking game out how frequently she mentions food in a negative way and talks about her big breasted characters breasts.

O’Hare is supposed to be a top FBI agent and ex-Navy Seal but I have a hard time believing that. She seems fairly helpless and unable to adapt to changes quickly, although, she doesn’t shy away from a physically altercation. O’Hare has the same blind stubbornness as Stephanie Plum but is a lot better at rescuing herself.

I can’t read too many of Evanovich’s books too quickly or the fact that she has a standard blueprint for all of her books gets to me, but on the days when I need to laugh I don’t mind grabbing one of her books off my shelf.

Does it pass the Bechdel test?

Yes

Triggers

No known

Final Rating:

gold-star (1)gold-star (1)gold-star (1)

I Capture the Castle

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i capture the castle

I loved this book but kind of in the way you love your grandmother, sometimes her ideas and the things she says really aren’t things that people say anymore, you’re a little embarrassed buy this but you can still see the value. This book was originally published in 1948 and reading you’re not the least bit surprised. The book is written as 17 year old Casandra’s journal, I’ve always been a fan for this style of writing. If you want me to love a book just make it sound like I’m reading someone’s journal. I wonder what that says about me? Oh well…

Abuse is handled as a very normal, even expected thing. “Oh father -do you think that’s what has been the matter with you – that you stopped getting violent? Has repressing your temper somehow repressed your talent?” (299) Her father, James Mortmain, wrote one successful novel and then the neighbor caught him brandishing a cake knife at his wife, even though its frequently stated that James wouldn’t have really hurt her. He was just upset, but the cake knife incident landed him three months in jail.  Once he is released from jail, James takes a 40 year lease on a crumbling castle in the country, moves his family there, and never writes again.  I’m not really sure his temper ever really does go away, just the physical abuse. James spends his days in the gatehouse and people are never to disturb him or question him in any way. If they try they are either glared at or spoken to very sharply, even if it’s his wife.

Casandra is an endearing protagonist. Even though their family is dirt poor Casandra never seems bitter about it, unlike her sister. Casandra always’ tries to make the best out of a situation even if she doesn’t completely know what, if anything, she should do.

A lot of reviews I read for this book all said it was written for 15 year old girls, which quite frankly kind of pissed me off. This is a coming of age story written from the perspective of a 17 year old girl, many coming of age stories with male protagonist are viewed as books everyone should read. The male reviewers frequently stated that they now had to do something to “prove” their masculinity, because of course reading a book with by a woman about a young woman is so completely threatening to your (from what I could tell) cis, heterosexual, masculinity. These reviews just reinforced that we have a society that views males as the default.

I really wasn’t in the mood to read a coming of age story, I read the first few pages and then decided that I would read it later. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t get the characters out of my head, I still can’t. I ended up needing to finish the book, not wanting to. There were times when I kept wondering what kept drawing me back in and the best answer I can come up with is Dodie Smith is a brilliant writer. All of the characters were fleshed out and had a distinct voice. If you’re comfortable with your sexuality and want to read an incredibly well written and timeless book, grab this one.

Does it pass the Bechdel test?

Yes

Trigger Warning:

Abuse

Final Rating:

gold-star (1)gold-star (1)gold-star (1)gold-star (1)

Tarnished

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tarnished

Tarnished by Karnina Cooper is a steampunk, mystery, paranormal book staring Cherry St. Croix. Cherry is a high society outcast who instead of going to parties would rather spend her time preforming experiments. She is an orphan and unfortunately has not come into her inheritance yet and must work as a bounty hunter to make up for what her allowance doesn’t cover.

Something Cherry’s allowance doesn’t cover is her opium addiction. Cooper, at least in this novel, doesn’t portray this as a bad thing, it’s hard to tell if this is because the book from Cherry’s point of view. Cherry’s addiction doesn’t seem to be terribly awful, she is never really afraid of going through withdrawal. She also is using the drug, like many addicts do, to self-medicate. Cherry has terrible nightmares and the only way she can get a good night sleep is drugged.

Cooper set up in this book the drama for a love triangle in the next books of the series. Cherry gets to choose between the Earl, Cornelius Kerrigan Compton, who is in good standing with society, and Micajah Hawke, who is part of the literal underbelly of London. I loved the idea of London being split, high society is up on stilts in the London sky to get away from the smog and the rest of the people are still on the ground. This means flying gondolas! It’s a great take on steampunk London.

This could be an incredible series as long as Copper doesn’t exchange fast paced mysteries for drawn out angst over which man to choose.

Does it pass the Bechdel test?

Yes

Triggers:

Child molestation

Child abuse

Abuse

Drug use

Final Rating:

gold-star (1)gold-star (1)gold-star (1)gold-star (1)

I’m back!!!

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Argh it’s been so long since I posted a review! I’m so sorry muffin’s! Between moving and the holidays I’ve been out straight. I was hoping that I would be able to get some reading/reviewing done before now but people actually wanted to see me over the holidays…weird right?

I’ve missed you all tons! Now time to bring on the reviews!

No new review this week!1!1!

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Did the world stop yesterday?!?! There was no new review!

“But it was Tuesday yesterday!” you say

I know, I know and I’m so sorry. I’m in the middle of moving and I haven’t even finished reading a book in the past week. Hopefully we’ll be back on schedule next week.

A Dark Dividing

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a dark dividing

 

A Dark Dividing by is Sarah Rayne is a gothic mystery spanning over 80 years.  It has a multiple POV, which jumps back and forth though time. The book introduces us to Henry, a down on his luck reporter to do an in depth article on a photographer, Simone Anderson. Henry’s article isn’t on her photography though but on her twin sister and mysterious mother.

The most interesting character was Charlotte, if the whole book had been about her I would have loved it. None of the people are really the main characters, its Mortmain House, an old workhouse and orphanage. All of the characters end up here at one point or another.  The scenes in Mortmain house are supposed to be most suspenseful and scariest but they just didn’t quite cut it.

It starts out strong but about halfway through I was just waiting for it to end. The last 50 or so pages drew me back in. There is supposed to be some horror in the story but when it appears it’s pretty mild. I’m disappointed I didn’t like this book more. It had great potential but it really couldn’t hold my attention.  This was the first book I’ve ever read by Sarah Rayne so I think I’ll give her another chance.

 

Trigger Warnings:

Slurs

Child Molestation

Rape

Sexual Assault

Does it pass the Bechdel test?

Yes

Final Rating:

gold-star (1)gold-star (1)gold-star (1)