Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly – Sharon Biggs Waller


A Mad, Wicked Folly – Sharon Biggs Waller

A Mad, Wicked Folly

Title: A Mad, Wicked Folly

Author: Sharon Biggs Waller

Release Date: January 23, 2014

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 431

Source: Library

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
           
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky is torn. Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

4 out of 5 stars


I picked this book up on a whim while I was at the library, and I’m so glad I did! I’m not going to lie, the reason I first picked this book up was because of the cover. It’s beautiful, and simple, and classic looking. I love the yellow dress on the front, as well. Then I read the synopsis, as one does, and was immediately pulled in.

It was set in London in the 1900s. It’s about an artist. A seventeen year old girl poses nude for her art class, gets sent home, finds her muse, is betrothed to a man…

Oh gosh it was so fun to read.

After picking this up from the library I went to Goodreads to see some general reviews, just to get a feel as to what I was about to read, and was a little nervous.

One of the first reviews I skimmed was a girl freaking out because of the first few sentences of the book:

“I never set out to pose nude. I didn’t, honestly.”

And people were so angsty about this. I don’t understand what the issue is. It is supposed to be sarcastic sounding. I feel like sometimes people look into things like this too much. It was that she never thought she would, but she ended up posing. She didn’t regret it at all, and I think that that showed a strong character.

Near the beginning when I found out she was betrothed to this guy, I was really against the other love interest, Will. I was being somewhat judgey of Victoria because she knew she shouldn’t be drawing this other guy, but I couldn’t dislike him. Wow. William Fletcher was my favorite character in this story because he was so happy and so encouraging to Victoria. If it weren’t for him she probably would have given up on her dreams of being an artist. Her family didn’t believe in her, and made it impossible for her to create, so she turned to Will and I’m so glad she did.

Their relationship was so cute. There were so many parts of this story that my heart just felt so happy and full. All of you know the feeling I’m talking about. The one where you almost have to make a high pitched noise because your heart is so happy. Cause yeah, same. I think the reason I liked their relationship so much was because it reminded me of my relationship. My boyfriend is supportive of me just as Will was to Victoria, and it was just so cute.

This book took a turn that I didn’t think it would take, but I really enjoyed it. I was not expecting to get a heavy suffragist theme, but I really enjoyed it. The women were fighting for equal rights, and I really respected that. I couldn’t have been put in Victoria’s place where she had to be prim and proper her whole life just so then she could be respectable in her class. I would be a suffragist because, I too, believe in equal opportunities for men and women.

I really love historical fiction, and this book just reminded me of that. I really enjoyed reading this, and loved that Sharon Biggs Waller had some of the history in the back of the book. I love when authors actually research their writing to make sure it’s historically accurate.

Overall, I really liked this book. It was a relatively fast read, and it put me in a historical fiction mood again! Pick up this book if you want a cute romance and a strong female lead.

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Review: Oleah Chronicles: Justice – Michelle Johnson


Oleah Chronicles: Justice – Michelle Johnson

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Title: Oleah Chronicles: Justice

Author: Michelle Johnson

Release Date: May 15, 2016

Publisher: Unknown

Format: eBook

Page Number: 431

Source: Author

After discovering the truth about her Oleah origins, Angel thought she could still have a normal life, consisting of normal things – like her seventeenth birthday party. But there is no such thing as normal for Angel anymore. She learned that the hard way after Sindrell – the most powerful sorceress in the universe – crashed her party, destroyed the city, and took her best friend, Julie, captive. Determined to defeat Sindrell for good, Angel must risk her life, along with the fate of the entire universe to get Julie back…alive. The only way she can do this successfully, is to embrace her Oleah instincts and learn what it takes to become a true warrior. Problem is, Sindrell has an insurance policy of her own that will put millions of lives in danger – including Zander’s – to ensure her quest for power is brought to fruition. One way or another. In order to protect Zander, and save Julie, Angel has to make a choice… but will it be the right one?


3 out of 5 stars

I received this book for an honest review!

Angel has just found out about being an Oleah, and she doesn’t know how to handle it. She just takes it day by day, and finally is starting to get used to being the princess of the Oleah. She is in love with her boyfriend Zander, who just so happens to be a vampire, and then her best friend is taken by Sindrell, the worst of the worst. Angel has to get Julie, her best friend, back from the evil side, and then all of the sudden something crazy happens. Julie acts as though she doesn’t want to be saved. Hmm. Angel gets he away from Sindrell’s grip, but in the hospital bad things happen to Julie. Angel doesn’t know what to do, and has to get advice from some Angels in Heaven. What will happen to her best friend?

Alright. This book kind of let me down compared to the first. Not a ton happened, and I was looking forward to it! I really enjoyed the first one, and was really anxious to see what happened next, and there honestly wasn’t a lot. Julie gets away from Sindrell from the help of Angel and Zander, but then Sindrell just happens to bite her right before she gets killed by Angel. Hmm. We know something will stem from this, but I didn’t think that Julie would hate Angel. It kind of made me sad, honestly.

So Julie ends up meeting a “nurse” at the hospital who injects her with an unknown substance (blood from Lucifer?) and then she craves blood. I kind of knew what was happening long before it happened, but I was a little surprised by the ending of the book.

All in all, not a lot happened in this book; it was really short. I am anxious to see what happens in the next book, and how Angel and Zander’s relationship progresses. You got a little more background on him, so I’d say that was my favorite part. Again, can’t wait to read the next book!

Huge thanks to Michelle Johnson for sending me a copy of her book!

Series:

Oleah Chronicles: Truth

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Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – Beth Hoffman


Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – Beth Hoffman

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Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Author: Beth Hoffman

Release Date: October 26, 2010

Publisher: Penguin Books

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 306

Source: Young Adult Literature Class

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her mother, Camille, the town’s tiara-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock, a woman who is trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, CeeCee’s long-lost great-aunt, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. There, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity—one that appears to be run entirely by strong, wacky women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons; to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones; to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

A timeless coming of age novel set in the 1960s, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship, and charts the journey of an unforgettable girl who loses one mother, but finds many others in the storybook city of Savannah. As Kristin Hannah, author of Fly Away, says, Beth Hoffman’s sparkling debut is “packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart.”


4 out of 5 stars

CeeCee Honeycutt lives with her mentally unstable mother, Camille, in northern United States. Camille is obsessed with beauty pageants because when she was younger she won a large pageant. CeeCee is taking care of her mother as if she were her child, and when something severe happens, she goes to live with her Aunt Tootie. CeeCee isn’t happy about this right away, but learns to love Tootie and Oletta, the house cook. She moves down to Savannah and lives in a fancy southern house, and adjusts quickly to her new life. Cecelia makes friends with some neighbors and eventually a young girl she ends up going to school with.

This story is so touching and so sweet. The book is innocent, and was really fun to read. I love CeeCee because, like me, she’s a reader. I mean, reading about readers is one of the best things. Anyway. I really enjoyed this book because of the southern lifestyle that CeeCee got to live. I personally believe that I should live in the south in a fancy house and have fancy dinner parties and such. It would be so relaxing and nice. And there is sweet tea everywhere in the south. MMMM.

I really connected with CeeCee throughout this book, and I could definitely see myself rereading it in the future. I don’t particularly understand why this book was marketed towards adults, but I feel like any young reader would enjoy this book a lot. Along with the fun times you got to read about in this book, you also understood some of CeeCee’s other emotions as well. She was frustrated with both her parents, she was scared about starting a new life, she was angry, sad, happy. You felt the emotions with her, and I think that shows a great author.

I recommend this book if you like the south, enjoy young adolescent stories, and just want a good read. I would compare this book to Anne of Green Gables in a way because of the lightheartedness of the reading experience.

If you’ve read this let me know in the comments what you thought of it!

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Review: The Lighthouse Thief – Bo Burnette


The Lighthouse Thief – Bo Burnette

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Title: The Lighthouse Thief

Author: Bo Burnette

Release Date: June 19, 2015

Publisher: Tabbystone Press

Format: eBook

Page Number: 140

Source: Author

A historic lighthouse. A mysterious thief. An intolerable cousin.

The Fourth of July on Saint Simons Island always brings plenty of excitement. But when 14-year-old Ethan invites his contrary cousin Connor to spend the holiday week, he stumbles upon a little more excitement than he bargained for. As he drags Connor around “his little Island,” Ethan overhears a seemingly malicious plot to vandalize the historic lighthouse. When a mysterious stranger starts stalking him and Connor all over the Island, Ethan is caught up in an unexpected quest to save his beloved lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Thief blends mystery, history, humor, and heart into an exciting story of discovery and friendship.


 

4 out of 5 stars

I got this book sent to me by Bo Burnette himself, so huge thank you for that! Again, I love when I get contacted by authors to read their books; it’s always such a fun process. Anyway, Ethan’s parents leave for a cruise to Alaska, and he stays with his aunt in his house on the Island. His least favorite cousin, Connor, comes to stay the week with them as well, and he’s dreading the “vacation.” When Connor gets there it’s very awkward for the both of them, but they learn to set their differences aside and become close friends. They become so close in a matter of a week because they solve a mystery together; the boys overhear a conversation from two men about stealing something from the lighthouse on the 4th of July. They decide to figure out how to stop them, and end up getting followed by the men. Ethan feels attached to the lighthouse because he’s always grown up around it; he doesn’t want to see something bad happen to it, so the cousins find a way to help out.

I really enjoyed this book! It read like a Nancy Drew book, and it was a fun read. I love middle-grade mystery novels because they’re just so easy to read, and they’re very lighthearted. I think that the main plot of this book was to show the power of friendship. The two boys really didn’t like each other before they actually spent time together, but ended up having a lot of fun together. Being a middle-grade novel, I think that that should be the main focus of the story. I really enjoyed the writing style, and the characters were fun to read about. It was really nice to read a lighthearted book after something that tore at my heartstrings.

Huge thank you to Bo Burnette! I really enjoyed reading your story, and keep writing! You’re young; you have a whole life of books, reading, and writing ahead of you. Good luck!!

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Review: Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1) – Victoria Aveyard


Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1) – Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Queen Song

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Format: eBook

Page Number: 55

Source: Barnes and Noble

In this 55-page prequel novella set in the Red Queen world, Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.


5 out of 5 stars

I was just browsing through my Goodreads friend updates, and I saw this book! I had no idea that it existed. Um. How did I not know about this?! I loved Red Queen and read it back in April with my book club. I couldn’t wait to dive back into this series, so of course I purchased it on the Barnes and Noble website with some gift cards I got for Christmas. I immediately told my best friend, Brooklynn, about it because she also loved this book. (her review) She read this short novella on my Nook account, and then wrote her review and was telling me that I had to read it, so I started it last night and finished it this morning. I loved this novella. I have always been a huge fan of novellas; I love getting the extra little pieces to stories. I love the world Victoria Aveyard has created, and can’t wait for Glass Sword to come out. It is seriously going to be so great.

This book was basically about Queen Coriane and her relationship with King Tiberius. When you’re reading Red Queen you don’t see the vulnerability that Queen Coriane has; it’s really great to see that side of her. The way the relationship progressed was adorable, and it was completely different that what I thought it was. If I remember correctly, in Red Queen it isn’t said how Coriane and Tiberius met. I thought that she just won the Queenstrial thing that they do, but he actually picked her. I also liked how Coriane wrote in a diary every day, and towards the end it was more of a worry journal. She wrote everything she didn’t want other people to know in this journal. It was also quite adorable to read about Cal when he was just a little baby. He sounded like he was so cute. :) There were definitely some ‘aww’ moments in this novella.

I would choose to be Queen Coriane, because I saw her vulnerability throughout this. You wouldn’t think you could get that much information from a 55 page book, but you definitely can. She had a decent childhood, and ended up marrying for love, which doesn’t happen in this society. I really enjoyed reading from her perspective, and seeing her side of things. Victoria Aveyard has a gorgeous writing style that I can’t wait to continue reading about in the next novella, Steel Scars.

Series:

Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

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Review: 1984 – George Orwell


1984 – George Orwell

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Title: 1984

Author: George Orwell

Release Date: June 8, 1949

Publisher: Signet Classics

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 268

Source: Required reading

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia” -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

2 out of 5 stars

Plot:

Winston is different from everyone else in society. He thinks for himself, and has desires no one else has had for decades. Winston knows something is wrong in their little world of Oceania. His job is to edit the texts of history; he has to change everything in order to match what Big Brother says in his speeches to the society. One day he meets a girl with dark hair who works in the Fiction Department, and she is also different from everyone else, just like him. She gives him a secret message, and they meet up more than once. Somehow Big Brother finds out about everything and bad things happen to Winston and the girl. What happens to them? How do they figure everything out?

I really did not like this book at all. I thought that it would be good because it is one of the first dystopian novels, and I’ve read quite a few of those, so I just assumed it would be great and have wonderful world development, but I was wrong. There was no reason for Winston to be different. In The Hunger Games Katniss had to volunteer for Prim in The Hunger Games; that was her spark. In Divergent Tris discovered she was Divergent and had to protect herself from the leaders of Dauntless. Both of them had reasons to be different, and had a choice to do so. Winston was just thrown into being different by Orwell. It was really pointless, because I didn’t care about him. I didn’t care what happened to him, because he had no story!

I also don’t understand how he had these “sexual desires” per say, because the whole society has been trained since before he was alive that sex is only used to reproduce. I just don’t get why Winston was even considering having sex because he shouldn’t have even known. Ugh.

Characters:

There were only two main characters in this book, Winston and Julia. Neither of them were very intriguing, but both of them were considered different by society’s standards. Neither of them had a story, and it was so frustrating. You can’t connect with characters with no back story to relate to. Winston edited history, and Julia worked in the Fiction Department. Nothing really happened in this book. Their relationship was a fluke and it was just so random.

Who Would I Be?:

I guess that I’d be Julia. She wasn’t interesting, and she was a random addition. I understand that she probably represented a little rebellion in the story, but it was pointless rebellion. They had no reason to rebel because their life was pretty decent. Yeah they were being controlled, but they had jobs and understood the way society worked. Their motto was War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. The way they explained it made sense, to an extent, but it was a very backwards and round-about way of thinking of things.

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