Here I’ve compiled the remaining reviews from the books I read in 2017. There are 15 reviews in total, and I apologize if there are any typos or formatting issues since I haven’t really proofread them (oops). But, without further ado, here are my reviews:
Title: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1)
Author: Tessa Dare
Dates Read: August 22-30, 2017
Synopsis: When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
Review: This one was fun and sweet, and the part where Ash terrorized Emma’s father was priceless. I just wish there were a bit more plot to it to add some more depth, though. All in all, it’s a good start to the series, and I’m looking forward to The Governess Game, which is set to come out at the end of August this year.
- Any temptress in a harlot-red dress, he’d said, was asking to be ill-used. Emma hadn’t asked for anything of the sort. She’d sewn that gown herself, and she’d poured all her hopes into it. Not to sing a siren song or to invite lust. She wasn’t asking, Grope me behind the hedges. See me, she’d been pleading. Admire me. Love me. A mistake, and she’d paid dearly for it. Again, and again, and again (249).
- Most times, a girl needed to rescue herself (348).
- Tonight, Emma would be her own fairy godmother, her own dashing prince. Even her own knight in shining armor—or rather, her own lady in a sparkling gown (348).
Title: Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1)
Author: Sarah Morgan
Dates Read: August 30-September 13, 2017
Synopsis: What if the person who broke your heart, is the only one who can help you find your future?
Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.
Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realizes the one thing that was missing from her world all along.
Review: A very sweet start to the series. Although at times the British terminology thrown into the writing pulled me out of the New York setting, it wasn’t something that ruined the book for me. I’m glad I found another contemporary romance I could get into after the awesomeness that is The Hating Game.
- “How do you act confident when you don’t feel it?” “You pretend. You pretend all the time, Paige […] Carry on doing that and then one day you’ll wake up and realize you’re not pretending anymore. That it’s real […] And remember that even if a road is hard and bumpy, it doesn’t mean you should stop walking it” (Loc 1177-1184).
- Reach for the stars, and if they’re too far away, wear higher heels (Loc 1380).
- When you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to eat humble pie. It’s calorie-free (Loc 1582).
- Confidence is like makeup. It changes your appearance and no one needs to know what’s underneath (Loc 1946).
- “It’s never too late to live life bravely” (Loc 4010).
- If she was going to live life bravely, she needed to start right away (Loc 4033).
Title: Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2)
Author: Sarah Morgan
Dates Read: October 25-November 3, 2017
Synopsis: Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…
Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?
Review: One thing I really like about this series is that I can find things in each of the characters that I can relate to. With Frankie, it’s her struggle with bravery and vulnerability and realizing that the two often coexist, that it’s sometimes the bravest thing we can do when we let our emotions show through.
- Maybe friendship was loving someone even when you didn’t always understand them (22).
- “But the reality wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated.” “I think that’s often the case with life. Sometimes it’s because we manage to inflate things in our head, but sometimes it’s because we underestimate our ability to cope” (269).
She said it easily, wearing her emotions as comfortably and effortlessly as she wore her clothes. There was no embarrassment. No awkwardness. No qualification. Just Eva, whose heart was big enough to fill the whole of Manhattan (321).
Title: Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4)
Author: Tessa Dare
Dates Read: November 4-10, 2017
Synopsis: Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season–or any season–but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.
Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.
But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure–a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess–can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?
Review: I think Pygmalion stories will always have an appeal. Throw in the wonderful writing of Tessa Dare, and it’s sure to be a winner. I can’t really say much about this one other than that you should go find a copy and read it.
- Why did men have to ruin everything? The answer was simple, she supposed—because foolish women gave them the chance (104).
- It seemed any young woman at odds with her place in life—be she a genteel lady or a serving girl—might find a happier home within the pages of a book (126).
- “No, no. Not in a mirror. I know how mirrors work. They’re all in league with the cosmetics trade. They tell a woman lies. Drawing her gaze from one imagined flaw to another, until all she sees is a constellation of imperfections. If you could get outside yourself, borrow my eyes for just an instant . . . There’s only beauty” (256).
- “Squabbling over too little is just human nature. But it says a great deal about a person, what they do with abundance” (306).
Title: An Offer from a Gentleman (The Bridgertons #3)
Author: Julia Quinn
Dates Read: November 13-20, 2017
Synopsis: Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.
Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?
Review: This was a very nice twist on the Cinderella story. Julia Quinn really has a way of pulling you into a story, and I felt Sophie’s emotions so strongly and couldn’t wait for Benedict to figure out who she was. The best part of their relationship, though, is that they fell in love without his knowing that she was the girl from the ball. There was no doubt that he loved her for who she was, rather than because she was this ethereal beauty he’d seen only once before. One thing I love about Sophie is that she went for what she wanted, even if she thought it was crazy. In this sense she reminds me of one of my favorite characters, Calpurnia Hartwell from Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. And btw I totally pictured Lily James and Richard Madden as Sophie and Benedict while reading this…for reasons…
- Her beauty came from within. She shimmered. She glowed (34).
- She was ready for this. It was still wrong, but she was ready, and she wanted it, and for once in her life she was going to do something wild and crazy and completely out of character. Just because she wanted to (250).
- “But one of the things I love best,” he continued, “is the fact that you know yourself. You know who you are, and what you value. You have principles, Sophie, and you stick by them.” He took her hand and brought it to his lips. “That is so rare” (343).
Title: Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love #3)
Author: Sarah Morgan
Dates Read: November 23 – December 20, 2017
Synopsis: Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.
Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?
Review: Eva’s personality reminds me so much of my own, it’s almost as if this book were written just for me. And that’s all I can say.
- She didn’t want to be that friend. The one who constantly whined and moaned. The burden (Loc 142).
- She felt disconnected. Lost. She wished she didn’t feel everything so deeply (Loc 160).
- Be the sunshine, Eva, not the rain. She never, ever, wanted to be the black cloud in anyone’s day (171).
- “I may be a little vertically challenged, but I’m deadly when I’m cornered” (Loc 453).
- “I don’t intend to apologize for preferring to focus on the positive. I’m a glass half-full sort of person. That’s not a crime. You see the bad in people, but I see the good. And I do believe there is good in most people” (Loc 488).
- “I’m not vulnerable. I’m open. It’s not the same thing. I’m not scared of feelings, Lucas. That’s the difference between us. Feelings are part of life. Feelings are how we know we’re alive” (Loc 3542).
- “It’s good to be the sunshine, but sometimes it’s all right to be the rain, too. A good, balanced life needs both” (Loc 4067).
- “You can’t fix everything and you can’t make a person what you want them to be” (Loc 4136).
Title: The Sun and Her Flowers
Author: Rupi Kaur
Date Read: October 3, 2017
Synopsis: Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.
Review: While this collection didn’t touch me as deeply as those in Milk and Honey, I was still affected by them. I became a more empathetic reader when the experiences laid out in the poems didn’t match my own life. And that’s good. I cried a few times for people I’ve never met.
- “i reduced my body to aesthetics” (78)
- “sunflowers” (91)
- “despite knowing / they won’t be here for long / they still choose to live their brightest lives”
- “what is stronger / than the human heart / which shatters over and over / and still lives” (109)
- “never feel guilty for starting again” (160)
- “to hate / is an easy lazy thing / but to love / takes strength everyone has / but not all are / willing to practice” (207)
- “the lies they sell” (222)
- “human” (225)
- “their concept of beauty / is manufactured / i am not”
- “what is the greatest lesson a woman should learn” (233)
- “that since day one / she’s already had everything she needs within herself / it’s the world that convinced her she did not”
- “take the compliment / do not shy away from / another thing that belongs to you” (240)
Title: Furies: A Poetry Anthology of Women Warriors
Editor: Eve Lacey
Dates Read: October 9-12, 2017
Synopsis: This is the poetry of wronged and revolutionary women, the new verse that emerges when poets take a sinner and spin her anew. Here, Furies arise from history and myth to set the story straight once and for all. For many, the Lazarus trick spans only the space of a verse in which they tell their tale. The rest of the resurrection, the living on beyond the page, relies on the reader to keep telling and retelling, and then telling once more. Traditionally, ghosts haunt because they still have something left to say. This is their stage.
Furies is the first poetry collection from For Books’ Sake, compiled following an open call for submissions that attracted over 700 entries from across the globe, resulting in an anthology of incredible, powerful poetry from some of the world’s most exciting emerging and established women writers.
The Furies poetry anthology is edited by Eve Lacey, and includes a foreword from Jenni Fagan, acclaimed author of The Panopticon. All profits from the collection (a minimum of £5 per copy) will be donated to Rape Crisis England & Wales.
The poets featured in Furies are: Patience Agbabi, Kalliope Amorphous, Jodie Ashdown, Claire Askew, Kaddy Benyon, Emily Blewitt, Malika Booker, Diana Brodie, Nic Campeotto, Vahni Capildeo, Geraldine Clarkson, Meg Cowen, Imtiaz Dharker, Jo Dixon, Francine Elena, Suzanna Fitzpatrick, Victoria Gatehouse, Rebecca Goss, Françoise Harvey, Sandra Ireland, Ailie Kerr, Anna Kisby, Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Sophie Mayer, Jennifer Militello, Devon Miller-Duggan, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Bridget Minamore, Helen Mort, Shelley Puhak, Angela Readman, Susan Richardson, Isabel Rogers, Julie-ann Rowell, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Claire Trévien, Amber West and Rebecca White.
Review: I liked many of the poems in this collection, but I almost wish it were shorter. After a while it kind of seemed to drag on, and I just wanted it to end. It’s not something I think I’ll read again, but I’m glad I did. It had been on my radar for a couple of years.
- “There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.” — Adrienne Rich, Sources (Loc 158)
- “Dear Antigone, I take it as the task of the translator to forbid you should ever lose your screams.” Anne Carson, Antigonick (Loc 158)
- Fragments and objects survive, dust refuses to settle. Poetry is an act of transubstantiation and museums provide the prompt. For such recent rebels as the suffragettes, there are still remnants, relics and dust, and every time we inhale their bodies, we exhume their soul (Loc 223).
- “To Sing as Legends Do” (Loc 419)
- “Wrecker” (Loc 451)
- “Garden” (Loc 475)
- “Litany” (Loc 483)
- “Lord, Stop Her Climbing Mountains” (Loc 512)
- “Featherweight” (Loc 709)
- “A Daughter Sings from the Earth” (Loc 799)
- “Bunny Girl” (Loc 837)
- “My Garden” (Loc 932)
- ” Lilith” (Loc 1295)
- “The Wife of Bafa” (Loc 1418)
- “Angria” (Loc 1436)
- “Poltergeistrix” (Loc 1474)
Title: Night Sky with Exit Wounds
Author: Ocean Vuong
Date Read: October 13, 2017
Synopsis: Ocean Vuong’s first full-length collection aims straight for the perennial “big”—and very human—subjects of romance, family, memory, grief, war, and melancholia. None of these he allows to overwhelm his spirit or his poems, which demonstrate, through breath and cadence and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the fiercest hungers.
Review: I couldn’t breathe while reading some of these poems. They reached into me and carved out a piece of my chest. I could feel and see the pain in the words on the page.
- “Trojan” (9)
- “Aubade with Burning City” (10-12)
- “A Little Closer to the Edge” (13)
- “Headfirst” (20-21)
- “The Gift” (24-25)
- “Self-Portrait as Exit Wounds” (26-28)
- “Homewrecker” (32)
- “Seventh Circle of Earth” (41-42)
- “Eurydice” (47-48)
- “To My Father/ To My Future Son” (57-59)
- “Logophobia” (80-81)
- “Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong” (82-83)
Title: Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?
Author: Maya Angelou
Date Read: October 16, 2017
Synopsis: Lyrical and cadent, dramatic and sometimes playful, these poems speak of love, longing, parting; of freedom and shattered dreams; of Saturday-night partying and the smells and sounds of Southern cities.
Review: This was a nice quick read. I actually read this on the floor at the library. You can’t go wrong with Maya Angelou.
- “Impeccable Conception” (15)
- “Caged Bird” (16-17)
- “Prelude to a Parting” (25)
- “Marital Choreograph” (26-27)
- “To a Suitor” (28)
- “Insomniac” (29)
- “Prescience” (34-35)
- “Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?” (42-43)
Title: The Princess Saves Herself in This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic #1)
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Date Read: November 12, 2017
Synopsis: A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.
Review: I thought the first have was good, but that second half…wow.
- “five things you made me think weren’t possible” (42)
- “you’re the real poem, darling” (45)
- “i will never be your expectations of me” (51)
- “the sign you’ve been waiting for” (55)
- “don’t allow the world to take your kindness” (63)
- “may they never underestimate you again” (66)
Title: A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter
Author: Nikki Giovanni
Date Read: November 18, 2017
Synopsis: As energetic and relevant as ever, Nikki now offers us an intimate, affecting, and illuminating look at her personal history and the mysteries of her own heart. In A Good Cry, she takes us into her confidence, describing the joy and peril of aging and recalling the violence that permeated her parents’ marriage and her early life. She pays homage to the people who have given her life meaning and joy: her grandparents, who took her in and saved her life; the poets and thinkers who have influenced her; and the students who have surrounded her. Nikki also celebrates her good friend, Maya Angelou, and the many years of friendship, poetry, and kitchen-table laughter they shared before Angelou’s death in 2014.
Review: I am such a crier–for good things, bad things, silly things. It’s like I can’t contain my heart. It’s good to be reminded that it’s okay.
- “The Past…The Present…The Future” (29-31)
- “Konko in the Rain” (32)
- “The Tassle’s Worth the Hassle: An Introduction” (46-47)
- “A Poem” (58-59)
- “I Married My Mother” (60-61)
- “The Old Man of the Mountain” (71-72)
- “At Times Like These” (101-102)
Title: This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
Author: David Foster Wallace
Date Read: November 6, 2017
Synopsis: Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in This Is Water. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace’s electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.
Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
Review: Reading this reminded me of why I chose to get a liberal arts education and reminded me that I shouldn’t regret it, even though other fields allow for more job opportunities with higher salaries, because those aren’t the things I studied for.
- This is one part of what the liberal arts mantra of “teaching me how to think” is really supposed to mean: to be just a little less arrogant, to have some “critical awareness” about myself and my certainties… because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded (33).
- “Learning how to think” really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience (53).
- The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of real education, of learning how to be well- adjusted: You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t (94).
- The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom (120).
Title: Saga, Vol. 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Date Read: October 5, 2017
Synopsis: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
Review: A solid start to a series. I have a feeling this series ill be a wild ride with lots of complex characters. Plus, the art is really great, which is a must for me to read a graphic novel.
Favorite Quote: “When a man carries an instrument of violence, he’ll always find the justification to use it. If we really want to escape this war, we have to stop bringing it with us.”
Title: Princeless, Vol. 1: Save Yourself
Author: Jeremy Whitley
Genres: GN, YA
Date Read: December 31, 2017
Synopsis: Adrienne Ashe never wanted to be a princess. She hates fancy dinners, is uncomfortable in lavish dresses, and has never wanted to wait on someone else to save her. However, on the night of her 16th-birthday, her parents, the King and Queen, locked her away in a tower guarded by a dragon to await the rescue of some handsome prince. Now Adrienne has decided to take matters into her own hands!
Review: This was a fun little book. I definitely want to continue with the series. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like how a male author would portray the female characters, but he actually did well and the feminist points coming from a male writing is refreshing.
And that’s that. Onwards and upwards, my friends!