Book Review: How the Hangman Lost His Heart

How the Hangman Lost His HeartHow the Hangman Lost His Heart by K.M. Grant
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have struggled with rating this book. I don't really feel it deserves a 2, but I didn't like it enough to give it a three. So for the writing, cleverness, and ability of the author to be morbid without being utterly gruesome... I give it a 3.  But for the fact that I will never read it again and don't really care that I ever read it, and don't really think I'd suggest it to anyone... I give it a 2.

Overall, it was fine.  The characters were complex enough to be interesting, but simple enough to keep the book light.  The content matter was very grown-up, but the writing suggested a younger audience.  This book was placed in the YA section of my library, and I suppose it fits.  Adult (ish) content... child (ish) writing so it ends up being somewhere in between.  I think that if the author had pushed herself she could have written an impressive adult fiction (not the dirty kind) novel or even a truly stunning YA novel.  Alas the book just rests easy in the safe and simple category.

There were some ridiculous (and I mean that in a good way) parts, and some clever parts, and even one or two laugh out loud parts.  I don't think I'd rate it a waste of time, but it might be.  This one will definitely depend on the reader. (Most do, I know, but some books really are quite horrid and others are worth giving a chance for almost everybody.)


Book Review: A Proper Pursuit

A Proper PursuitA Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was impressed. I think I would rate this a 3.5, honestly. I thought it looked cute when I saw it at my friend's house and am glad I asked to borrow it.

Not a waste of time.

The main girl reminded me a lot of Catherine Morland in, Northanger Abbey with her wild and overactive imagination and silliness. She was lovely and cute and funny and fanciful and just a little ridiculous.

And Silas was lovely, too.

The book had a lot of silliness and fluffy-ness, but the main character, Violet spent the book having her eyes opened to the silliness and fluffy-ness of her world.  She had to spend a lot of time deciding what was worthwhile and where her place was in the world.  Set in a time when the world is on the cusp of change,  Violet has to find a place somewhere between the excitement of the new world and the safety and goodness of certain traditional values.

I was also really impressed with the obvious level of research that went into this book.  The knowledge the author has about the World Fair that year, what the exhibits were, etc.  She does a wonderful job bringing Chicago in 1839 to life.

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Book Review: Prank Wars

Prank WarsPrank Wars by Stephanie Fowers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I found the characters in Stephanie Fowers's previous books... obnoxious after a while (sorry to sound harsh... they just... grated the nerves) and so it kind of ruined the books for me. But this book???? Not so much. Fun, crazy action with a surprising twist halfway (ish) through with characters that are likeable and not nearly so whiny and harsh. She is bitter like the other two main character girls in "Meet Your Match" and the other one "Rules of Engagement", but there's less of her preaching than the other two and so it doesn't get old.

Not a waste of time. Clean. And I love Lord Byron's character. Love.

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Book Review: Blackmoore

Blackmoore: A Proper RomanceBlackmoore: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was soooo happy when a friend told me Julianne Donalson was having another book published.  She had already bought it and finished it in a day and so shegave it to me this morning. I gobbled it p.  Every bit as lovely and full of clean romantic tension as Edenbrooke with an entirely different plot that sucks you in until you have finished it.(minus the girl not thinking she could get the guy.  That part is the same.  It suits, though.  We, as women, often relate to that 'cause we have almost all felt it.)...

Be prepared, readers to let the dishes, laundry, and kids fend for themselves because you will not be able to put this sweet, thrilling romance down.

I will say I kept thinking of Phillip any time Henry spoke... they had a similar voice... but Kate was different and had a lot of different struggles.

Love. Love, love, love, love, love.  Clean, sweet, and absolutely satisfying.


Book review: The Family Under the Bridge

The Family Under the BridgeThe Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think that this book is a good way to help kids understand that people who are homeless aren't necessarily there because they are lazy and teaches them to respect All types of people. I know it did for me.  I loved this book growing up.

Armand certainly is lazy, though, and so that adds another layer to the story.  It is nice, too, to see him grow up and change.  I love that quote, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." by George Eliot.  Armand's character illustrates this well.

We read this with our four year old over the course of... maybe a month and a half. He was SO bored.  So... maybe for older kids that can understand deeper concepts and don't need a lot of humor and action, this would suit.  Little ones? Not so much.

Also, this book is set at Christmas, so if you are looking for a novel to read with your kids at Christmas time and want to try something different, this might be a good one to read.

Not a waste of time!!!


Book Review: Shadowlands

ShadowlandsShadowlands by William Nicholson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The problem with really short books... it's hard to give them four stars. This book was so, so, so great, but I didn't love it... I didn't have time to love it.

Nevertheless, really good book.  I love the image of C.S. Lewis questioning what he alway thought because he actually had an experience with it.  Life definitely has a way of testing our faith.  And that's good. Without adversity, there can be no strength.  I also love that he chose, after a time, to continue to have faith that it is all for our good... no matter how hard it seems.

A book that would be awesome for a book group because there's a lot to discuss.

Not a waste of time (I wanna see the film!)