September Book Reviews: Blood & Beauty and The Devil of Nanking

SEPTEMBER BOOK REVIEWS

It is the middle of October and I’m finally posting my September book reviews. I’ve been falling asleep within about 20 minutes of reading and that has been the bulk of my reading time. Thankfully I have been on a break for the last week, which has been extremely nice, and I’m refreshed enough to try to post more regularly again.

In September, I read 2 books, one of which I finished early the morning of October 1. I’m going to include it here since I read it for the last couple of weeks of September.


Blood & Beauty: The Borgias by Sarah Dunant / 2013 / Random House / ★★★★★

It’s no secret that I adore reading historical fiction (and watching historical shows), and the family in this book is one of my all-time favorites to research. There’s something about the Borgia family that intrigues me and I’m always interested in finding out more about them. This was a wonderfully researched and written book. While reading it, I could tell that Sarah Dunant had done extensive research on the time and place of the book, as well as the people involved. It had events from several different points of view, not just members of the Borgia family, and that kept my interest while I was reading it since I do already know quite a bit about them. I loved finding out more about Caterina Sforza and I’d love to research her more since reading this book. My favorite part of the book was experiencing the transformation of Cesare Borgia from reluctant cardinal to condottiero, leader of a military connected to the Papal States. This is a huge part of his story, as well as the shows I’ve watched about the Borgias, but reading about it was great. Dunant also did a wonderful with Lucrezia and writing about her life as the daughter and sister of two powerful men, and her discovery of who her family was to other people. The follow-up to this book, In the Name of the Family, is high on my list of books to read. I believe that it focuses more on Machiavelli and his relationship with the family, so I’m excited to read it. Read More »

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August Book Reviews: Shopaholic, YA Historical Fantasy, Graphic Novels, and Agatha Christie

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5 books read in August! I’m so glad that I was able to read that much despite going back to work and having a few stressful weeks. I finished my vacation read, a YA historical fantasy, 2 graphic novels, and listened to an audiobook.


Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic, #7) by Sophie Kinsella / 2014 / The Dial Press / ★★★★

I found this to be a strong Shopaholic book. There were parts of it that I wasn’t sure I would like at first, and a couple of times Sophie Kinsella surprised me in the direction she went with some things, but overall, this was a nice read. Becky is always a little less serious and responsible than you think she should be, but her growth is obvious in this book. Her saving grace, for me, is that she rarely does anything to hurt someone. And something I enjoyed the most in this book is that there were other people with their own drama, some of which didn’t involve Becky too much. 4 stars. Read More »

July Book Reviews: I Hate Everyone But You, Jane Eyre, TWD, and Sherlock

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6 books read this month! The bulk of that is graphic novels and I did end up in a reading slump while on vacation (sadly!), but I was reading, and I’m glad to have read these particular books. I’m considering it a great reading month.


I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin / September 5, 2017 / Wednesday Books / ★★★★

This book continually impressed me while I was reading it. I knew that it would be funny, and I felt that I had a hang on the characters from the jump since I love Just Between Us on YouTube, but there’s so much more to this book. It’s a heartwarming and, at times, heartbreaking book about two best friends leaving each other for college. But, in this day and age, you can still be with someone even if they’re not physically there. I loved the format of the book, told in emails and texts between the main characters. It reminded me of a lot of the books that I read when I was younger and I think it will be a wonderful addition to a lot of YA TBRs this fall. It will be coming out around the time that people are going off to college, so I highly recommend it for friends who are parting ways. And, if you’re interested in reading more diversely, it is a LGBTQA+ book, and the level of communication that these girls have with each other is extremely organic. It deals with friendship, mental illness, coming out, female sexuality. On a scale of no emotion to me being a sobbing mess by the end, I was somewhere near the uplifted crying level. I don’t know where that lands on the scale… but 4 stars!

I received an E-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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June Book Reviews: Once and For All and The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

Happy July! June was another slow reading month for me, but I feel like I savored the 2 books that I read and was able to enjoy them in some new ways. There was a lot of outside reading done, which is something I wish I was able to do all the time. I also read for hours in bed and I haven’t done that in a long time. Both of these books are on my Summer TBR, so I’m feeling accomplished about that.


Once and For All by Sarah Dessen / 2017 / Viking Books for Young Readers / ★★★★★

Let’s talk about this beautiful Sarah Dessen book. Now, I knew that I would like it, but it exceeded all of my expectations. Before I read it, although I do have an unread sampler that I picked up months ago, I didn’t know anything about the plot. Within the first 50 pages, I was hooked with this story and the characters. Louna may be one of my favorite contemporary characters that I’ve read in a long time. She’s honest, extremely professional, and strong. Although a bit standoffish due to heartbreak, she’s still a loving person and her journey throughout this book feels natural. I also love Jilly and Ethan and Ambrose and William and Natalie. Basically, everyone. They all add something important to this book and I like that there are glimpses into their personal lives. The wedding planning business is perfect for a summer read, and I do love books that go into detail oriented events for a bit of fun, and the different stances on love throughout this book gives you something to think about. I don’t want to say too much about the romances in this book because I think that going into it not knowing was one reason I rated it 5 stars, but her romances are always a nice touch to the experiences of her characters. If you’re anything like me, this book will make you cry and laugh and leave you with a positive feeling.

Also important to mention is how gorgeous this book is physically! The cover looks great on a computer screen, but you must see it in person, especially with that dust jacket off. The colors are perfect.

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March Book Reviews: YA/NA Contemporary and Sherlock (!)

I had a fun reading month! Not only did I read 3 books, which I consider to be wonderful, but I found them all exciting in their own ways.


Boomerang by Noelle August / July 8th 2014 / William Morrow Paperbacks /  ★★★

I started reading this in February, but it took me a bit longer to finish than I would have liked. Overall, I liked the characters and thought that the relationship was cute and funny and sometimes frustrating like the best ones, but I felt like the book was a bit longer than was necessary. Something I loved was that it was written by two people! I’ve never read anything by either of the writers, but their writing styles worked really well together.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick / April 15th 2014 / Dial Books for Young Readers / ★★★★

As soon as the weather began to warm up, I started craving some contemporary YA, and this one just so happens to be set in a beach town. There’s something about that setting that I love! Maybe it’s the perfect weather or the tension of the romance… Hmm, or both. There were a lot of things in this book that I really liked, including Gwen’s job, her family life and relationship with her cousin, and finding out some things from her past. Loved almost all of the characters! I’ll definitely be looking forward to more of Fitzpatrick’s books.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle / 1887 / ★★★★

This was a big deal read for me. My expectations were high considering how much I love the BBC series and the Sherlock stories that I’ve studied before. Thankfully those expectations were met! I was surprised by certain parts, which I wasn’t expecting to happen, and I had a lot of fun reading this book. I absolutely loved learning more about the origin of these classic characters and stories. I started the second book almost immediately after finishing this first mystery.