July’s mini review round-up

A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen | February 20, 2018
The first book in Kelly’s Devils of Dover series, and my intro to her work! Trust me, it won’t be my last! August Faulkner has something of a reputation – with women and with business. He has an extraordinary talent for seeking out good business deals and turning them into even greater profits, so when he learned Haverhall School for Young Ladies was for sale, he leapt at the chance to purchase the grand estate..anonymously, of course.

Ten years ago August, on a dare, asked a young woman for a dance, and Clara Hayward hasn’t forgotten that night. Neither has August. Though deemed a wallflower and a spinster by society, Clara is fully confident in who she is and happy to devote her time to her students (she has some incredibly progressive and eye-opening methods to her teaching!), one of whom happens to be August’s younger sister. A decade after their initial meeting these two are brought back together and I absolutely loved every minute of their story! I would love to spend more time with them, but the second book focuses on Clara’s sister, though I’m positive Clara and August will make an appearance!

A huge thank you to Forever Romance for a review copy!

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage | July 17, 2018
The buzziest of the buzzed-about summer reads. Seven-year-old Hanna loves her daddy oh so very much. Mommy, on the other hand… well, Mommy needs to go. I love a creepy kid novel and Baby Teeth totally fit the bill – Hanna has refused to speak until now, and when she does it’s as Marie-Anne Dufosset, the last woman in France to be executed for witchcraft. Each plot to rid the world of Mommy get more and more creative and brutal, from scattering thumbtacks around Suzette’s bed to legit trying to set her on fire.

Zoje Stage is a Pittsburgh gal and that was one of the reasons I was so intrigued by this one. Oddly enough, the setting (Pittsburgh) took me out of the novel. More than once I found myself completely immersed in the story, only to see a restaurant or radio station I’m familiar with get a shout-out and was instantly brought back to reality. Despite this, Baby Teeth was a fun, incredibly engrossing read that I’m positive will receive a TON of attention this summer.

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a review copy!

California Summer by Anita Hughes | June 19, 2018
After learning of her husband’s infidelity, Rosie leaves their Hollywood home where she and Ben built a life and production company together, for the solitude of Montecito. Her plan is to lie low at her friend’s parents’ estate, licking her wounds while simultaneously winning Ben back and forging a new life of her own. Between running over a man’s surfboard and gaining a new friend in the owner of a chocolate shop, Rosie begins to wonder if Montecito is really right for her…or maybe it’s exactly where she needs to be.

This one is a quintessential beach read, total fluff with some low key drama to keep readers turning the pages. I mean, what else would you expect from a title like California Summer? Rosie ultimately rediscovers a passion for cooking and the book includes a few recipes: guac and fish tacos – both sound absolutely fab and I’m curious to try them!

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for a review copy!

Breakout by Kate Messner | June 5, 2018
Told through letters, texts, and journal entries, Breakout is the story of a VERY interesting summer project. With the community planning a time capsule, each student is given the chance to include items for extra credit and they have all summer to work on it. Well! That summer, a pair of inmates escape a maximum security prison and a manhunt unfolds.

I initially went into Breakout expecting a Middle Grade read I would breeze through. I’m thrilled to say this book was SO much more and took me by surprise. Breakout is instead an extremely thought-provoking novel about racism. While this wasn’t the lighthearted romp I anticipated, I’m so glad I took a chance with this one.

A huge thank you to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for a review copy!

The Mistress of Paris by Catherine Hewitt | January 24, 2017
First mentioned in my list of the non-fic of 2017 I needed to get my hands on, The Mistress of Paris instantly appealed to me and it was during a weekend spent doing yardwork that I finally settled in with it. The moment I saw the audiobook was available I pounced! Subtitled The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret, this bio tells the tale of Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne, a highly celebrated French courtesan. What the adoring public didn’t know, however, was their beloved Valtesse was born into poverty and lived on the streets before rising to the upper echelons of society. Having princes as lovers, being a muse for renowned painters and authors, Valtesse knew what she wanted – and how to make it happen.

I’m a huge non-fic fan – especially when it comes to audio – and I was more than happy with this one. If biographies of fascinating, self-made women are your thing, look no further.

Love From Boy: Roald Dahl’s Letters to His Mother by Donald Sturrock | September 6, 2016
You all know I’m a massive Dahl fan and might have mentioned this book once or twice or twenty times while reading. From the time he was 9 and away at boarding school for the first time through his years in the military and into fatherhood, Roald Dahl wrote letters to his mother. Unbeknownst to anyone until after her death, she kept every single one of those letters – over 600 in all!

While a good number of them have been mentioned in his autobiographies, I still delighted in reading them – though a thousand thanks to the publishers for having these letters typed: the handwritten copies that made it into the book are VERY hard to decipher ha! Even as a boy he displays the humor I’ve come to adore – and he was clearly a fan of dirty jokes! Though I enjoyed this one immensely, many of the letters felt as though they could have come from any boy away at school or any soldier writing home, especially since so many were censored. I think a casual fan might not find this collection as interesting as I did.

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5 thoughts on “July’s mini review round-up

  1. […] JULY’S MINI REVIEW ROUND-UP featured the good, the meh, and a Middle Grade surprise. A start to a new historical romance series was among my favorite reads of the month, along with two non-fiction library grabs (one, a collection of letters Roald Dahl wrote to his mother over his lifetime and two, a biography of a French courtesan who rose through the ranks in society to become one of the wealthiest women of her time). I also quickly discussed a much buzzed-about thriller…that turned out to be just okay. […]

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