Mini Reviews: Blackmoore + When the Moon Was Ours

MiniBless the mini review! There’s nothing like breaking up the monotony of full book reviews than a mini review. I’m on hiatus until the 22nd, but I thought I’d share a couple of mini reviews while I’m away. This week I have mini reviews for Julianne Donaldson’s Blackmoore and Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

Title: Blackmoore
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Series: N/A
Pages: 286
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 9th 2013 

      “Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.
      Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?”

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“The ocean wet the air, flavoring each breath with salt and freedom and foreignness. The towering building loomed overhead, darker than the darkening sky. The moors stood like a stretch of barrier—an impenetrable wilderness hemming and shielding and pushing this building toward the ocean. It was wild and dark and grand and tall and fierce and haunting all at one.”

If Kasie West is my go-to author for a light and satisfying contemporary read, Julianne Donaldson may just be mine for when I’m in the mood for a quick, enjoyable historical romance. Donaldson’s second novel Blackmoore had me swoony from start to finish. Kate Worthington is determined to escape the caged life she knows awaits her through marriage, so makes an impulsive deal with her conniving mother. If she can get proposed to three times while visiting Blackmoore, her mother will grant her the freedom to go to India with her aunt. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, Kate isn’t quite sure how to persuade one, let alone three gentleman into proposing, and there is also the issue of her long-suppressed feelings for her childhood best friend Henry Delafield. These two completely tore me apart. There was so much chemistry between Kate and Henry. I loved how the author incorporated Kate’s flashbacks because it gave their relationship so much more depth. Because of them, I could not put this book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Donaldson’s writing took a leap forward between Edenbrooke and this one. I was immediately taken in by the beautiful and haunting atmosphere of Blackmoore and would love to have explored this manor more. If you haven’t checked out Julianna Donaldson’s novels Edenbrooke and Blackmoore, I encourage you to do so.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★


Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: October 4th 2016

      “To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

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“All these things reminded her of his moons, and his moons reminded her of all these things. He’d hung a string of them between her house and his, some as small as her cupped palms, others big enough to fill her arms. They brightened the earth and wild grass. They were tucked into trees, each giving off a ring of light just wide enough to meet the next, so she never walked in the dark.”

Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours is one of the most stunning novels I’ve ever read. It’s a short novel, but I found myself pausing every few pages because McLemore’s writing was so beautiful, I needed a moment to truly appreciate it. Taking inspiration from the folklore of La Llorona, McLemore weaves a tale about a boy and girl trying to discover who they are in a world that doesn’t quite understand them. Miel’s past is a mystery, from the moment she emerged from the water tower, her past has been locked up deep inside her. Most people aren’t sure what to make of her and the roses that grow from her wrist, but she’s always found a companion in Sam, a transgender boy who’s always felt like an outsider himself. Sam is trying to understand his own gender identity while also trying to appease those around him. Though it was hard to read when people tried to take advantage of Sam and “expose” him, it was an honest display of how many believe they have more of a right to determine someone’s identity than the person themselves does. McLemore’s characters are a mix of vulnerability and strength; her story is both dark and whimsical; and her words are moving and breathtaking. It’s novels like When the Moon Was Ours that make me love the genre of magical realism even more. If you haven’t picked up Anna-Marie McLemore’s novels yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

The Friday 56: Edenbrooke

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“My cheeks grew warm at his soft look, and I had to turn away. I shivered in the light breeze, and Philip quickly shrugged out of his coat and wrapped it around my shoulders.”

This week I’m showcasing Julianne Donaldson’s Edenbrooke. If there’s a genre I’m really drawn to, but rarely read from it’s historical romance. I really enjoyed this one and actually just bought her other book Blackmoore, which I intend to pick up soon. I have a soft spot for historical romances (especially those that take place in the early 19th century), so if you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments. You can read my mini review of this one here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

Mini Reviews: A Tyranny of Petticoats and Edenbrooke

MiniI’ve never formally written any mini reviews on the blog before, mostly because I tend to review almost everything I read and concerning the books I choose not to, it’s either because I haven’t much to say or frankly, I’m just not in the mood to write one. This month was one of those rare occasions where I read and decide not to review more than one book. Since I planned to include something about each in my monthly wrap-up post, I thought I’d try my hand at a couple of mini reviews instead. One reason is that, unless you read my monthly wrap-up posts, you may not even notice I’ve read these books and I’d like the opportunity to share my thoughts with those who may not read them. Not sure if I’ll make a habit of these mini reviews, but it’s a nice option to have. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Title: A Tyranny of Petticoats
Author: Various, Edited by Jessica Spotswood
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: March 8th 2016 

      “From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.
      Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.”

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“Folks around here like to say we came from the stars. Perhaps it’s simpler to think of us not as human but as creatures made of stardust–that if you cut us, not blood but constellations will pour from our wounds.”

I have a weird relationship with anthologies. On one hand, I love the idea of a collection of short stories by various authors, linked together by a common theme, but on the other, I never know how to approach reading one. Do I pause between stories? How many is too many to read in a day? Can I truly appreciate each story individually if I’m trying to read an entire anthology in only a few days? The last anthology I read was Slasher Girls & Monster Boys and I confess, I did find myself comparing A Tyranny of Petticoats to it. While I really appreciated how diverse A Tyranny of Petticoats was, not many of the stories stayed with me. My favorite was Leslye Walton’s El Destinos, which imagines the Fates being reincarnated as young Mexican-American girls. Their story takes place a few years after the annexation of Texas and has that beautiful whimsical feel I’ve come to expect from the author. I’m a huge fan of Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and this short story once again exhibits what a phenomenal writer she is. Quote above is taken from her short story.

Rating: 3/5

★★★


Title: Edenbrooke
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Series: N/A
Pages: 264
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: March 27th 2012 

      “Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

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“I told myself that I would have plenty of time–an entire summer–to explore and enjoy this paradise. For that was exactly what it seemed to me. After more than a year in a cobblestone city, I felt like a bird that had just been released from a cage.

I picked up Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson because I was curious about it, having heard many good things and I wanted to dip into historical fiction more (still do, recommendations are always welcome!). It took forever for me to finally get my hands on a library copy. For such a popular book, there’s only one copy available in the entire library county system my library is a part of. I initially planned to read this book over a three-day span, but didn’t realize just how deep I’d fall into it (I ended up finishing it in a day). It’s been a while since I read a book whose main focus is romance and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Edenbrooke is full of swoon-worthy moments any hopeless romantic would sigh over. My only complaint is that I was sometimes frustrated by the naiveté of the protagonist Marianne.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★