Book Review: The Devil’s Blade


Mark Alder
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 2nd April 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

The story of Julie D’Aubigny is well known. Her tumultuous childhood, her powerful lovers, her celebrated voice. Connected to most of the nobility of 17th century Paris, feted for her performance, unwilling to live by the rules of her society, she took female lovers, fought duels with noblemen and fled from city to country and back again.

But now the real truth can be told. She also made a deal with the devil. He gave her no powers or help, but he kept her alive for only one reason. To take revenge…

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Book Review: To Have and To Hoax


Martha Waters
rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
published: 5th May 2020
spoilers? tried to avoid

Goodreads

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and To Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

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Book Review: Enter The Aardvark


Jessica Anthony
rating: ☆☆☆☆
published: 23rd April 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Only one thing stands between Alexander Paine Wilson and his destiny… and it has long ears, spoon-like claws and a tubular snout…

Republican congressman Alexander Paine Wilson is determined that nothing will stop him in his campaign for re-election. Not the fact that he is a bachelor, not the fact that his main adversary Nancy Beavers – married, with children – is rising in the polls. Nothing. That is, until one hot day in August, he receives a large parcel via FedEx. Inside is a gigantic taxidermied aardvark.

This aardvark has a surprising history – from the Victorian naturalist who discovered it to the taxidermist who deemed it his finest creation. But for Wilson, the entrance of the aardvark sets off a chain of events that threaten to ruin his entire career.

Constantly surprising, brilliantly comic and piquantly provocative, Enter the Aardvark is a tale for our times, a biting satire with a tender underbelly.

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Book Review: The Earl Not Taken


A. S. Fenichel
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 17th March 2020
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Left standing on the side while their contemporaries marry into society, four young ladies forge a bond to guard each other from a similar fate…

Finishing school failed to make a proper lady of Penelope Arrington. But as a Wallflower of West Lane, Poppy has a far more vital role—she and her three best friends have made a pact to protect each other from the clutches of dangerous, disreputable men. So when one of them is about to be married off to a duke sight unseen, Poppy makes it her mission to divine the prospective husband’s true character. If only she didn’t require the aid of London’s most unsuitable rake.

Rhys Draper, Earl of Marsden, has known the headstrong Poppy since she was a young girl naïve to the ways of men. To her eternal chagrin—and to his vague amusement—they have been at odds over the memory of their embarrassing first encounter all these years. Now, with his services in need, Rhys sees a chance to finally clear the air between them. Instead, he is surprised by the heat of their feelings. If the two do not tread carefully, they may end up in a most agreeably compromising position…

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Book Review: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow


Natasha Pulley
rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
published: 3rd March 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Step back into the enchanting world of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. This extraordinary sequel takes readers to Japan, where time, destiny and love collide to electrifying effect.

For Thaniel Steepleton, an unexpected posting to Tokyo can’t come at a better moment. The London fog has made him ill and doctor’s orders are to get out.

His brief is strange: the staff at the British Legation have been seeing ghosts, and his first task is to find out what’s going on. But staying with his closest friend Keita Mori in Yokohama, Thaniel starts to experience ghostly happenings himself. For reasons he won’t say, Mori is frightened. Then he vanishes.

Meanwhile, something strange is happening in a frozen labour camp in northern Japan. Takiko Pepperharrow, an old friend of Mori’s, must investigate.

As ghosts appear across Tokyo and the weather turns bizarrely electrical, Thaniel grows convinced that it all has something to do with Mori’s disappearance – and that Mori might be in far more trouble than any of them first thought.

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WTRIYL: Six of Crows

I am back with a post that does not involve any sort of book review, TBR, or monthly round-up! (Yeah, I’m surprised too.) Today I’m reccing books that you should read if you liked Six of Crows.

First though, you might spot a really obvious miss on this post (The Gilded Wolves). That’s because my first instinct is always to rec that book for this, so I tried not to to mix things up a little.

Of course, you should read it anyway whatever, but. Yeah.

Enjoy!

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Book Review: The Silvered Serpents


Roshani Chokshi
rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
published: 22nd September 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

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Book Review: Once a Fallen Lady


Eve Pendle
rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
published: 29th January 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

He woos her with books, flowers, and chocolates. She can’t say no to him, but can’t say yes to love.

Lydia Taylor’s roof is leaking, her chickens are out of control, and she can’t afford the rent. When her daughter falls ill, the last person she wants knocking at her door is Alfred Lowe. The school teacher’s stern scowl makes her feel like he can see through her façade of a respectable widow and judge all her secrets. If he wants to achieve his dream of his own school, Alfred Lowe needs to marry a wealthy lady. But he’s drawn to the enigmatic Lydia Taylor, and the illness of her daughter makes him realize how important she is to him. The injustice of the greedy landlord, or a dirty chicken house, he’ll take on anything for her.

As the crisis of Annie Taylor’s illness deepens, Alfred woos Lydia with chocolate, savory pies, flowers, and novels. But the past creeps into the present, casting a long shadow. They must choose whether they can love, despite the risk to everything they’ve ever wanted.

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Book Review: The Beautiful


Renée Ahdieh
rating: ☆☆
published: 8th October 2019
spoilers? maybe unintentionally but I’ve done my best to limit them

Goodreads

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

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Book Review: The Fountains of Silence


Ruta Sepetys
rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
published: 3rd October 2019
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Madrid, 1957. Tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine while Spanish citizens are gripped by a dark secret.

Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, hopes to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography -and fate – introduce him to Ana, a hotel maid, whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

Daniel and Ana’s lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city – a darkness that could engulf them all. . .

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love and the hidden violence of silence.

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