Category: Book Review

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare Review

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5; Castles Ever After, #4)Title: Do You Want to Start a Scandal

Author: Tessa Dare

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Castles Ever After #4, Spindle Cover #5

Goodreads Rating: 4.08/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: Another great historical romance from Tessa Dare. This one features a mystery and the hero is a spy! Such a fun read. I love it when historicals have interesting subplots like this.

It’s kind of like a historical romantic James Bond story.

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare Review

When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After, #3)Title: When a Scot Ties the Knot

Author: Tessa Dare

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Castles Ever After #3

Goodreads Rating: 3.97/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter… and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: I really enjoyed this. It’s a totally fluffy feel-good read that manages to avoid being too cute.

I totally identify with Maddie’s desire to avoid society and her shyness though not to the same extent (she tends to have panic attacks) and Logan *swoon* new book boyfriend right there.

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Harry Potter: A History of Magic Review

Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Title: Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Author: Ben Davies, Natalie Dormer
(narrator), J.K Rowling, Britsh Library

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:  
Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the official book of the exhibition, a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the brilliant curators of the British Library. It promises to take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. Each chapter showcases a treasure trove of artefacts from the British Library and other collections around the world, beside exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive. There’s also a specially commissioned essay for each subject area by an expert, writer or cultural commentator, inspired by the contents of the exhibition – absorbing, insightful and unexpected contributions from Steve Backshall, the Reverend Richard Coles, Owen Davies, Julia Eccleshare, Roger Highfield, Steve Kloves, Lucy Mangan, Anna Pavord and Tim Peake, who offer a personal perspective on their magical theme. Readers will be able to pore over ancient spell books, amazing illuminated scrolls that reveal the secret of the Elixir of Life, vials of dragon’s blood, mandrake roots, painted centaurs and a genuine witch’s broomstick, in a book that shows J.K. Rowling’s magical inventions alongside their cultural and historical forebears. This is the ultimate gift for Harry Potter fans, curious minds, big imaginations, bibliophiles and readers around the world who missed out on the chance to see the exhibition in person.

Format: Audiobook

Pages/Hours: 11 hours 39 minutes

Ownership: Library

My Rating: ★★★★★

Tags: History, Alchemy, Interviews, Exhibition, Behind-the-Scenes

Harry Potter A History of Magic
Instagram @elainehowlin_

Review:  This was so interesting! I loved the interviews with Stephen Fry, Jim Kay and Jim Dale and all the little snippets about Rowling writing the first Harry Potter book. And I loved all the actual history of magic and creatures that inspired Rowling.
Natalie Dormer was a great narator as well.

You will love it if you’re a history fan or a Harry Potter fan.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire Review

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Series: Wayward Children #3

Goodreads Rating: 4.09/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

Beaneath the Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book:  I think this one would be 3.5 stars (probably the lowest rating I’ve ever given a Seanan McGuire book). I just didn’t find the story as interesting as the others but it was still very enjoyable.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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“Children have always tumbled down rabbit holes, fallen through mirrors, been swept away by unseasonal floods or carried off by tornadoes. Children have always traveled, and because they are young and bright and full of contradictions, they haven’t always restricted their travel to the possible.”

― Seanan McGuire, Beneath the Sugar Sky

Wayward Children Series

 Every Heart a Doorway

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Beneath the Sugar Sky Beneath the Sugar Sky

In an Absent Dream In an Absent Dream

Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Review

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Red Queen #1

Goodreads Rating: 4.07/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: Ok, I’m not (usually) a fan of YA but I really enjoyed this. It was so suspenseful with lots of action and intrigue that kept me guessing. The love triangle didn’t even annoy me.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_