Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

The Accidental Empress
by Allison Pataki
Adult 
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.12 
Published by: Howard Books 
Published on: February 17, 2015
Pages: 512

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.

The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.

Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.

With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”
 

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

The Characters: I adored Sisi. She has to be one of the most interesting characters I've ever read about. I loved how spunky she is and yet how real the author made her seem.

The characters in this novel take on a life of their own. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: This is easily the best book I've read this year. It was amazing!!! Yes, I just used three exclamation points. This is writing at its best. I read all 512 pages in one day because I had to know what was going to happen next.

This is a book that is going to be on my shelf as soon as I can buy it. The novel is intriguing, the characters fascinating, and the backdrop in Austria all combined to make this the perfect read.

I would recommend this to anybody and everybody. Rarely, do I read a book that makes me want to go and recommend it to everybody I know...this was one of those books. 

So why 5 stars? It's fantastic!

Warnings/Side-notes: Some references to sex. They are all very tame. Appropriate for 12+. 

The Wrap-up: This novel was fantastic. I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next. 

Love,

Danica Page

Guest Post: Why Men Opt Out of the (Women's) Fiction World by Leonce Gaiter

Hello Fellow Page-Turners,

Did you know that only 20% of the fiction market ic comprised of men. Leonce Gaiter has written an intriguing article on why he thinks that is. Let me know what you think of Leonce's opinions in the comments below. 
Why Men Opt Out of the (Women’s) Fiction World
Fewer and fewer men read fiction.  They compose only about 20% of the fiction market according to surveys. Some lay this off to genetics, suggesting that the way men’s minds work discourages them from entering into another’s experience the way fiction demands.

“Boys and men are, in general, more convergent and linear in their thinking; this would naturally draw them towards non-fiction,” wrote author Darragh McManus, pondering the question.

Others, like Jason Pinter, suggest that the overwhelmingly female publishing industry simply overlooks books that appeal to men because they fall outside the female experience.  In other words, men now suffer the same fate women suffered at the hands of a male-dominated publishing industry for so many years—and payback’s a bitch.

Others suggest that boys are discouraged from reading at a young age by children’s books that fail to engage them.  Give them the proper material, the story goes, and young boys will engage with reading.  They point to the fact that young males were principal consumers of the Harry Potter books as proof.  “More boys than girls have read the Harry Potter novels,” according to U.S. publisher, Scholastic. “What’s more, Harry Potter made more of an impact on boys' reading habits. Sixty-one percent agreed with the statement ‘I didn't read books for fun before reading Harry Potter,’ compared with 41 percent of girls.”

I always balked at these rationales because I read fiction all the time.  However, thinking on it, I had to admit that I avoid modern fiction like the plague.  I have tried the popular plot-thick page-turners and the feel-good tearjerkers and the occasional cause celebre with a literary reputation.  So many have left me so cold, that I simply won’t shell out the cash for a paperback or e-book version, much less a hardcover. 

Trying to assess what I found lacking in most of the current novels I attempt, I find their utter reliance on the world around them (and me) supremely dull.  So many work so hard to place characters in a world I will recognize.  Too many work hard to create characters with which I (or their prime demographic audience) will ‘identify,’ and recognize as someone they could be, or someone they know. 

It then made sense that men would ask why they should read something “made up” about this world when there was plenty of factual reading material on that subject.  I have never approached fiction to re-visit “this world.” I’m already here.  Instead, I want an alternative—a vision of this world exhaled through the writers’ and characters’ hearts, minds and eyes.  Exhaled with the distinction of the smell of an individual’s breath. Fitzgerald’s Long Island in The Great Gatsby is his own creation, no kitchen sink recreation.  Fitzgerald’s people and prose warp this place into something utterly unique. 

Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles is his distinctive projection of that city. You don’t pick up Jim Thompson’sThe Killer Inside Me with the idea of identifying with the protagonist.  You don’t grab Faulkner to meet the boys next door or titter with recognition of your kith and kin.  You don’t visit Patricia Highsmith to look in a mirror. You pick them up to enter worlds as fantastical in their way as Harry Potter’s.  I read fiction to meet characters I otherwise would not.  I read fiction for the larger than life—not a retread of this one.  I want to watch and think with characters who are nothing like me, who dare what I never would, who experience in ways that I cannot. 

In an article titled, “Why Women Read More Than Men,” NPR quoted Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain suggesting a biological reason why women read more fiction than men:


The research is still in its early stages, but some studies have found that women have more sensitive mirror neurons than men. That might explain why women are drawn to works of fiction, which by definition require the reader to empathize with characters.

What horseshit. Reading, and reading fiction, require no such thing.  They require that you understand and grow intrigued by characters and situations.  You need not imagine yourself as them or believe that they behave as you would.

Perhaps more men stopped reading fiction when fiction stopped presenting unique worlds, and settled for presenting this one so that readers could better “identify.”  Maybe we’re too megalomaniacal to “identify” with that.  We want words recreated, not rehashed. 

“Shall I project a world,” asks Oedipa Maas in Thomas Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49.”  Somewhere along the line, in tandem with the female domination of the publishing industry and fiction readership, the ideal of doing so fell from vogue.  Instead, writers rely on identification with this one.  Male readers seem have checked out.

+++++++++++
Leonce Gaiter is a prolific African American writer and proud Harvard Alum. His writing has appeared in the NYTimes, NYT Magazine, LA Times, Washington Times, and Washington Post, and he has written two novels.  His newly released novel, In the Company of Educated Men, (http://bit.ly/ZyqSuN) is a literary thriller with socio-economic, class, and racial themes.
BOOK LINKS
In the company of Educated Men

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: My Heart Stood Still by Lori Copeland

My Heart Stood Still
(Sisters of Mercy Flat, #2)
by Lori Copeland
Adult Christian 
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 
Published by: Harvest House Publishers
Published on: March 1, 2015
Pages: 224

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:


"The Sisters of Mercy Flats", begun in Promise Me Today, continues in this wonderful new Western-flavored historical romance. The McDougal sisters are experts at swindling men, and this time Anne-Marie enters into a bargain bordering on blackmail--with a Crow warrior.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

An Overview of the novel: Anne-Marie and her sisters never should have tried to swindle the man out of his money, even it it was to help the church. They were attacked by indians and would have died, had it not been for their rescuers.

The only problem is that Anne-Marie has no idea what happened to her sisters. All she knows is that now she's stuck with this indian if she wants to survive that is. 

But Anne-Marie is known for meeting trouble. This time might just prove to be too much. 

The Characters: I adored the characters. Anne-Marie was such a realistic character. It was fun getting into her head. She wasn't a perfect character, and some of the mistakes she made were quite comical. But she had a good heart. I loved reading about her.

I also loved Creed. He was so interesting to read about. I loved watching Anne-Marie and Creed interact.

I also thought that the secondary characters were well developed. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: This book was a fun fast-paced novel. There was never a slow moment. I kept turning the pages faster and faster, desperately trying to figure out what would happen next.

This novel explored issues of faith, devotion, loyalty, honor, and race/ethnicity in such a seamless way. And it did it all with a dose of humor mixed in as well.

This novel was a fun read. However, at the same time, I think it could have explored some of the themes/elements in the novel better. I also felt that certain aspects were rushed.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read. 

So why 4 stars? It was a fun, intriguing read that stood out from some of the others I read, but it definitely wasn't perfect. 

Can I read the series out of order? This novel can be read as a stand-alone. There are some details that reference events that happened in the first, but you won't be lost if you haven't read the previous one. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Some minor references of violence. 

The Wrap-up: An enjoyable read. I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next. 

Love,

Danica Page

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

An Uncertain Choice
(An Uncertain Choice, #1)
by Jody Hedlund
Young Adult 
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33
Published by: Zondervan
Published on: March 3, 2015
Pages: 256

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:


Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow. 


Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions:  I love Jody Hedlund and so I had really high expectations going to this novel. Hedlund didn't disappoint.

I loved this novel. Rosemarie has been told she's been vowed to be a nun, but then she's told she has a month to find true love. Three knights compete for her love.

That is a fantastic backdrop. The novel is definitely geared for the young adult audience. Several aspects of the novel are quite transparent. I had pretty much figured out the plot from the very first page, but I still loved the novel. 

It was a fun, cute read. I loved how Hedlund wrote the novel, and I really enjoyed the blend of humor and serious elements.

The novel is perfect for fans who love stories set in the medieval ages, competitions to win love, or for fans of christian fiction.

I found this to be a delightful read. 

So why 4 stars? It stood out from the crowd. I loved the plot and the writing. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Some tame references to torture and violence. 

The Wrap-up: A great read. I can't wait to read the sequel, at least I'm assuming there's one after the way this novel ended. Another great read by Hedlund. 

Love,

Danica Page

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guest Post: Suitcase Secrets: Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places by K.J. Steele

 Hello Fellow Page-Turners, 

Today I'm pleased to welcome K.J. Steele to the site. K.J. Steele recently released The Bird Box, which is receiving great ratings on Goodreads. This is the second novel that K.J. Steele has released. You can contact K. J. Steele at her website or this link
  
Suitcase Secrets
Finding inspiration for ‘The Bird Box’ in unexpected places.


When a dead man speaks people listen. There is just something compelling about a voice that reaches out to us from beyond the grave. I’m not referring to spooks here, but rather to mankind’s phenomenal ability to impress ourselves onto the fabric of this world even long after the physical self has departed.

Music, literature, art, etc., are some of the common daily communications we have with the dead. The emotive essence lingers on. But for one fragment of society their voices came forward in a much humbler way.

When I set out to write my novel The Bird Box I spent some time on the grounds and in the buildings of a former insane asylum. Although the physical location was beautiful it was best described as a melancholy beauty. The memory of the former patients lingered.

I began to wonder about them. Not as patients but as people. Who were they? Before and during their committal’s? What had their lives been like? Their childhoods? Had they flown kites? Liked kittens? Plums? Had they been bold and adventurous or shy and cautious? What had formed their hopes and dreams and secret fears?

I went to the Mental Health Archives in search of answers. I found none. Researching patient files was often heartbreaking. Not so much by what was written there, but by the lack thereof.

After the initial admittance notes there was very little new information. Staff were busy and it was not uncommon to have whole lives –40–50–60– years condensed down to a few brief notes.

The brevity of it haunted me. Not that I blamed the staff. Their hands were more than full with practical matters. But still, it felt inhumane to me that whole lives had been pared down to a few paltry lines. I wanted to know who these people were. Above and beyond the narrow label of psychiatric patient.

I was soon to find out. Their voices began a torrent of stories into my mind. They demanded a place on my page. They had stories to tell; lives and loves, laughter and tears. They too had experienced great joys and devastating loss. They had suffered deeply as well and yet none of these things fully defined them.

Synchronistically, as I was writing their stories I was sent a link to Jon Crispin’s stunningly evocative photographs of the Willard Asylum Suitcases. Jon’s photographs visually dovetailed so perfectly with my written efforts to portray the person behind the label of psychiatric patient that I knew immediately I had to travel to the exhibit The Changing Face of What is Normal in San Francisco to further explore his work.

What followed was an astounding opportunity to speak with the dead. Or rather – listen. Displayed alongside some of Jon’s photographs were the original suitcases and their contents. Each suitcase, no matter how carefully or haphazardly it had been packed for that initial trip to the asylum, spoke volumes to me. Each one was a virtual time-capsule illuminating the individuality of its owner. Bibles and poetry books, family pictures, lotions, musical instruments, detailed diaries, loving letters. Objects as seemingly disparate from one another as mending kits and (in one case) a small hand-gun. Items that symbolically spoke of the desperate need to either mend or end the suffering.

Few people in our society’s history have been so reviled and disenfranchised as the mentally ill. Our discomfort and fear of those we could not understand or control led to some less than glorious years.

Those committed to the care of an asylum were in some ways excommunicated from the rest of humanity. They were held in institutions where their sense of autonomy was met with resistance. Their personal mail was opened and relieved of any unsettling or dissenting content. Their objections were routinely overruled. Not only did they become powerless they became voiceless as well.

Obviously it was far easier to silence people back then in an age before today’s instant and ubiquitous technology. Problematic dissenters were easier to erase; sometimes permanently.

And sometimes not so permanently as evidenced with the Willard suitcases. The contents of the suitcases serve to form an intimate choir of ghostly voices. They speak of each person’s individuality. Of their uniqueness. Some of them give evidence of seemingly competent minds while others show an obviously distorted grip on reality. Mental illness can be frightening. Perhaps to no one more so than to the person caught within its shifting shadows.

The people who filled the wards of the former insane asylums were as individual as they were unique. To paint them all the same would be but an erroneous reverse stroke of history. The contents of the suitcases they left behind now speak formidably for these long dead patients.

I have listened to their stories and endeavored to capture the echo of their hearts and minds in my novel The Bird Box. These were people who contributed to the diversity of life. And their lives mattered.

Love,

Danica Page

Review: Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams
by Elizabeth Camden 
Adult Christian Inspirational 
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.30 
Published by: Bethany House Publishers 
Published on: December 15, 2014
Pages: 368

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help. 


Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. 



Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress.


 
From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for themselves? 


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I have loved some books by this author and then had mixed feelings about some others. Naturally, I was curious to see what I thought of this one.

I loved several aspects about this novel and other aspects drove me nuts. I'll start with the things that I liked. 

I loved the characters and thought that they were very well developed. They seemed like real people. Both were flawed characters that definitely weren't perfect, and yet they were striving to put their flaws behind them.  I loved how they complemented, challenged, and helped each grow. 

I loved that the novel was set to the backdrop of the Library of Congress. That was fascinating. 

Also, another part I enjoyed was how real the novel felt. The relationship didn't feel forced. 

Things I didn't like. I thought the characters made some really stupid mistakes. It left me so frustrated. They kept throwing away their chance at happiness or just being stupid. 

Other than that, I really enjoyed the novel. 

So why 4 stars? It stood out from other novels. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and the writing. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Some tame references to violence. 

The Wrap-up: The perfect novel for fans of romance, historical fiction, or Christian fiction. An intriguing read. 

Love,

Danica Page

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Promo Post: The Botanist by L.K. Hill

Hello Fellow Page-Turners,

Today I'm pleased to be doing a promo article for The Botanist by L. K. Hill. L.K. Hill is the author of over 5 novels, including The Street Games series.

The Botanist will be released on March 31,2015. Readers can connect with L.K. Hill at her website and on Goodreads.

L.K. Hill is a novelist who writes across three genres. Her crime and historical fiction are written under her initials, L.K., while her scifi/fantasy and dystopian are written under her full name, Liesel K. Hill. She lives in northern Utah and comes from a large, tight-knit family. She plans to keep writing until they nail her coffin shut. Or the Second Coming happens. You know, whichever happens first. 

Here's the synopsis for The Botanist.

In the heat of the desert, Detective Cody Oliver inadvertently stumbles upon a strange garden adorned with exotic flowers. Upon closer inspection, he finds the garden is but a cover for the scores of bodies buried below. Soon, the small town of Mt. Dessicate plunges into chaos as journalists, reporters, and cameramen from across the nation descend upon the tiny, desert town to get a piece of the action.

Along with the media, a mysterious woman appears—she may be the only person who has come face to face with the killer, dubbed the Botanist, and lived to tell the tale. If Cody can't piece together a timeline of the land the crime scene is located on, decipher how the woman's mysterious past is connected to the killer, and bring the Botanist to justice, he may lose the people he values most. 

You can add it to your Goodreads shelf here

What do you guys think about this one? It looks interesting.

Love,

Danica Page




Review: Steadfast Heart by Tracie Peterson

Steadfast Heart
(Brides of Seattle, #1)
by Tracie Peterson
Inspirational Romanc
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.45
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Published on: January 1, 2015
Pages: 336

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Lenore Fulcher isn't pretentious despite her spoiled upbringing. Her deepest desire at the age of twenty is to find true love. However, her father believes she's wasted enough time searching for a suitable husband, and he wants to marry her off to one of his business partners--thirty-seven-year-old James Rybus. But the idea of marriage to a man so much older is out of the question for Lenore.

Kolbein Booth, a lawyer from Chicago, arrives in Seattle looking for his headstrong sister who he believes may have answered an advertisement for mail-order brides. Sick with worry, he storms the Madison Bridal School, demanding to see his sister, only to learn she isn't there. But Lenore Fulcher is, and something about her captures his attention.

Is this the man Lenore has been searching for? She may not have long 

to find out...
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I have read several of Tracie Peterson's books. I have loved so many of them, and then I felt like I kind of went through a dry-spell. There were just many by the author that I didn't end up liking.

So I went into this book with mixed feelings. 

This wasn't my favorite book by Peterson, but I did really enjoy it. I thought that the elements of suspense and intrigue were well-done. I also enjoyed the characters. 

The book, in my opinion, follows the story of Lenore's friend Abrianna more than I thought it followed Lenore. I almost felt like Lenore was the secondary character. That was an interesting decision. In that regard, I feel like the synopsis is kind of misleading.  

I felt much more attached to Abrianna. It kind of seemed like Lenore was just kind of thrown in at random times in the story.  I also was not a fan of the insta-love aspect of the novel. Lenore and Kolbein saw each other and bam! they were in love. I thought that the friendship among Abrianna, Kolbein, and Wade was much more founded in reality. 

However, I really liked Abrianna and so I was okay with the novel being centered on her.

The writing of course was great albeit slow at times and I thought that Peterson did a great job crafting a story that was both memorable and left me wondering what would happen next.

For fans of christian romance with a pinch of suspense, this novel proves to be a fun read. 

So why 3 stars? Because it's not about Lenore. I didn't think Lenore was well developed as a character. Abrianna, Kolbein, and some of the other characters seemed much more real to me. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Some tame descriptions of violence and some very tame sexual connotations. 

The Wrap-up: An intriguing read that left me wanting to know what happens next. 

Love,

Danica Page

Monday, February 23, 2015

Released Today Review: More Than Comics by Elizabeth Briggs

More Than Comics
(Chasing the Dream, #2)
by Elizabeth Briggs
New Adult 
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 
Published on: February 23, 2015 
Pages: 163

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:


They're friends online - but can they be more in real life? 

Writer Tara McFadden has been friends with artist and drummer Hector Fernandez for years, long before his band became famous on reality TV – yet they’ve never met in person. They finally have a chance to connect offline when they’re both sent to Comic-Con to promote the graphic novel they collaborated on. 

Hector's secretly been in love with Tara for as long as he can remember, and once they meet, she sees him in a new light. All the years of longing lead to an incredible night of passion after one of his concerts, but neither is sure if their online relationship can translate into a real life romance – or if this will ruin their friendship forever. 

Over four crazy days at Comic-Con, Hector and Tara must decide if they want a future together. But when their story seems to be over, it’s up to Hector’s entire band to make sure he and Tara get their happy ending.


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions:  I liked the first one in this series, so I jumped at the chance to review the sequel. I wasn't expecting it to be about Hector, but I was thrilled that it was. 

I loved this one! The first one was good, but for whatever reason I felt like I could connect with these characters more. I loved watching Tara and Hector interact. Maybe it's because I love when long-time friends start becoming a lot more than friends.

Any novel in which I like the characters is one that I enjoy reading. The book didn't necessarily explore any hard-hitting or dark themes. And yet, I loved the glimpse-into-the-life feel of the novel.

I don't like comics, but I did enjoy this one.

A great read for fans of the new adult genre. 

So why 3.5 stars? It stood out from other novels that I've read in the genre. It wasn't my favorite, but I did really enjoy it. 

Warnings/Side-notes: This is new adult, so there's several instances of strong language and sexual content. It's on the tamer side as far as new adult goes. 

The Wrap-up: An enjoyable, quick read. Definitely can't wait to read more from the author. 

Love,

Danica Page

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell

Like a Flower in Bloom
by Siri Mitchell
Adult Inspirational 
Asked to Review
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.10
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Published on: January 6, 2015
Pages: 363

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Victorian-Era England Comes Alive in This Witty Romance

For years Charlotte Withersby has worked as an assistant to her father, an eminent English botanist. As she approaches the old age of twenty-four, her father pushes her out into society, swayed by an uncle who believes God's only two roles for women are marriage and motherhood. When one of the Withersbys' colonial correspondents, Edward Trimble, returns to England, he's drafted as the new assistant so Charlotte is free to marry. This suits Edward's plans quite well, since the last thing he wants to do is reunite with the family he is ashamed to call his own.

Though Edward proves himself vexingly capable on the job, Charlotte won't surrender the job without a fight, and schemes with her best friend to regain her position. Perhaps if a proposal seems imminent, Charlotte's father will see his error and ask her to return. Charlotte tries to make headway in her town's social life, but reveals herself to be unaware of all the intricacies of polite society. Though Edward pitches in, tutoring her in society's expectations, she just seems to make things worse. And the more she comes to know of her father's assistant, the more trouble she has imagining life without him. Caught in a trap of her own making and seeing the hopelessness of her prospects, will Charlotte get to keep her work or will she have to cede her heart? 


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

The Characters: I loved the characters in this novel. Charlotte was a great character. She was quirky and I loved how honest she was. Charlotte has been cooped up helping her botanist father, and she hasn't really been out in society. That all changed when her uncle and father decided she needs to go off and get married.

Charlotte was less than overjoyed by that prospect. Watching her debut in society was hilarious.

I loved the secondary characters as well. The interactions between Edward Trimble (the man Charlotte hates for stealing her job) and her were very intriguing as well. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I love when authors have quirky characters. That was one of my favorite parts of the story. I really enjoyed reading this novel. It made me laugh and smile. Any book that can do that is one that I really like. :) 

This novel is a historical fiction novel that delves into a quirky character. It's also a christian fiction novel. I liked how Mitchell didn't force the christian themes into the story. It seemed very natural and I actually liked how it was developed.
I really enjoyed it. However, I thought that the beginning was kind of slow. I also thought that Edward's character could have been better developed. For that, I gave it 3.5 stars. 

This story seems perfect for fans of historical fiction. I think fans of Deanne Gist will enjoy this one. 

Warnings/Side-notes: None. 

The Wrap-up: A funny, cute, and enjoyable read. One that I definitely enjoyed. It's been awhile since I read a novel from this author, but I was once again reminded how much I enjoy her writing. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next. 

Love,

Danica Page

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