Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quick Review: Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

(clicking on the cover takes you to its Goodreads page :)

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
 (June 2012)

Goodreads Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . This witty take on the classic Regency--Patrice Kindl's first novel in a decade--is like literary champagne!

If I had to describe this book in one word, I would call it "adorable."It was just the light-hearted, humorous book I was looking for. It was very Jane Austen-esqe, in the vein of Pride and Prejudice. The characters, the setting, and the events were all very unique and wholly entertaining.

I loved Althea's character! She spoke out of turn and very bluntly as often as possible. Mr. Fredericks was also an enjoyable character. Their banter was hilarious to read! I would adore a sequel to this book, it would be awesome to see how things work out for them!

As for Crawley Castle... I found it so funny how the house was constantly falling apart and Althea, our narrator, is all, "Oh, there goes that chair!" and just her casual comments on the state of the place in general. However, the castle itself doesn't get a very happy ending. :(

This is a short read that most could probably read in just a sitting or two, and definitely worth the time! I'll be keeping a lookout for more from this author also, this book was a treat to read!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

(clicking on the cover takes you to its Goodreads page :)

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
(September 2011)

Goodreads Summary:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

My Thoughts:
I know! I am way behind on reading this series. Sometimes--not often-- but every once in a while I like to wait a couple years to read a series. This way, when I finish the first book, I am not in agony waiting for the next one. However... I wouldn't be in agony waiting for the second one in this series either way. It wasn't horrible or anything like that. It just wasn't what I was looking for.

The Characters:
Elisa was a pretty likable character! She grew a lot over the course of the story into an excellent heroine. One of the things I especially liked is that she wasn't super thin. In fact, she was the opposite. It was a point of the book that she was larger in size and that it was sometimes a struggle and an inconvenience. I also think it sends a message to girls out there that you don't have to be a size 0 for guys to like you!
As for the love interests (the most important part of any story :D), I found Alejandro lacking in pretty much every aspect. I didn't care for him at all. He was distant and removed from things, and as was noted a few times in the book, a rather weak king. I guess he didn't have too much page time to really get to know his character. And then there's Humberto. He was kinda awesome at times, but... I don't know. He seemed kinda boring. 
However... Lord Hector was the best person in this book. Come on, who isn't rooting for him?! (Alright, SPOILER here!, so we don't really have a choice anymore since this book got all realistic and killed off the aforementioned flames... but who cares?! I was Team Hector before all that stuff went down haha!) I think he does come more front and center in future books-- or at least I hope so.

The Plot/Setting:
 This book could be slow at times, but when the action was there, it was there! I enjoyed reading about Elisa's adventures in the desert, her experiences in the castle, battle strategies... that's the stuff that's entertaining. The plot did drag on sometimes, but the action that is there makes it worth a read.

Though this book is set in a fictional world, all the names and titles of things were either French or Spanish sounding. I have nothing against either, it's just that I like fantasy worlds to not reflect the real world too closely. It seems as if this entire book could have taken place in Spain or somewhere and all you gotta do is slap some French names on stuff, and bam! Fictional world! I would also have appreciated more explanation into what the animagus are, but maybe that appears in the next book...? 

If you have problems with religion in your escapes, be warned! This book is loaded. I mean, she got the stone that's in her belly directly from God, so... you know. A lot of religion!

I was looking for a great fantasy, with some fictional creatures peppered throughout, and I got this. It could have been about a princess in the fourteenth century. I guess what categorizes this book as fantasy is the light use of magic; I was just expecting more. But, since it kept my attention enough to read it all in just a few days, I'm granting it 3/5 and thinking I'll give Elisa another chance in the next book, The Crown of Embers.