For Love And Honor by Jody Hedlund

Another old review I never posted. 🙈 But better late, than never!

This was one of the very first historical romances I ever read (before I even knew it was considered “historical romance” because at the time I was clueless about sub-genres). But anywho — I borrowed it at my local library on a whim. Glad I did too!

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— BLURB —

Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

*** This is Book 3 in the An Uncertain Choice series (aka Noble Knights Series).

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— MY REVIEW —

As mentioned earlier, I borrowed this book from my local library on a whim liking how the blurb sounded. But I hadn’t realized at the time that this was part of a series… and the last book too (check the edit below)! What were the chances?!

(But note to self — Get onto Goodreads first and research before borrowing books!)

I’m usually not a fan of reading books out of order in a series, despite the fact that they can all be read as standalone. I’m obsessive compulsive that way, but I didn’t want it to go to waste before I had to return it so… I read it! 😄

Thank goodness each book in the series has different protagonists with completely separate story lines. The thing that connects each book is that the characters all know each other one way or another.

I feel like I’ve been reading YA fantasy fiction with so much detailed romance (that it should technically be in the NA category), so this was a nice, simple change of pace. This book was quoted as “clean” historical fiction and I absolutely agree. It has the cute, lovey-dovey, hallmark romance going for it that still makes you grin.

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Sabine is a spunky, strong-willed protagonist who has her moments of teenage rebelliousness. But you gotta love her for it. Her lighthearted banter between her grandmother and especially with Sir Bennet is what made this story all the more enjoyable. Yes, they were stuck in the middle of a dangerous battle with secrets up in the air but boy, I couldn’t help but swoon during the scenes where Sabine and Bennet were together and wondering how the other truly feels about.

There’s a little bit of magic and curses wrapped around Sabine that’s affected her ability to trust and open herself up to new people. Things are not what they seem.

An overall nice, steady developing romance with just a little bit of suspense and secrecy thrown in that’ll keep you engaged. There’s a simple little world-building here, enough to keep you picturing castles, pretty dresses, chivalry, and with it — seedy minions! 😜

RATING: ♥♥♥½

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This was an enjoyable read! 👍 If you have a few hours to kill and looking for a quick read, I highly recommend this one! Ooh and the rest of the series too!

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Side Note: After checking Goodreads, there’s apparently a fourth book; A Loyal Heart to be released sometime this year! I hope it does get released, I’m liking this series so far.

**EDIT: Since this is a super old review that I never got around to posting, my guess is the fourth book HAS been released. Although I can’t say for sure as I never did get around to finishing this series (and I hadn’t looked at on Goodreads since). 😅 But I still would recommend it though. It’s clean, adorably sweet, clean romance books. 


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Catch you guys in my next one. Happy reading! Xo

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Emma by Jane Austen

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— SYNOPSIS —

‘I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.’

Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage.

Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

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— MY REVIEW —

While I’m not much of historical romance reader or even a reader of classic literature. I have read a few. When it comes to Jane Austen though, I’ve only read one of her novels.

Yep. One.

Pride and Prejudice. And I loveeeeeed it! To this day, it’s one of my fave romance books. So when Playermaker Digital approached me for a little collaboration in conjunction with the upcoming movie release of Emma, I jumped at the chance to try my luck at another Austen classic.

I also read that Clueless (y’know that awesome 90’s teen movie?) was loosely based off Emma, and considering that it’s still one of my fave movies to watch, I was eager to see the original story it took inspiration from.

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This book centers around the main heroine, Emma Woodhouse who’s perfectly content staying single. Believes she doesn’t need love or marriage in her life, but is more than happy to help others find it— more specifically, help her friend Harriet find it.

Harriet excels at her studies, but when it comes to her personal life and when love is involved, she’s a little hopeless at securing a man. So Emma has taken it upon herself to find the perfect gentleman for her. But that’s when things start getting complicated because the more Emma meddles, the more things don’t go to plan.

Whilst I enjoyed the light-hearted humor included with seeing a tangled mess of misunderstandings, the overall story just didn’t have the same impact on me as Pride and Prejudice did.

Emma’s meddling reached a point where it was too much. Whilst men are coming and going, Emma is reassuring Harriet of her matchmaking choices only to end in disappointment and leaving poor Harriet back at square one.. again.

The overall idea and plot of the story sounded charming but it was difficult for me to like Emma because of her stubbornness. She thought she knew better at choosing suitors for Harriet than Harriet herself, whilst at the same time believing she would never marry or find love for herself because she simply didn’t want or need it.

“Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I have never been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.” — Emma

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Whilst there were a humorous moments throughout, it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged. It started to drag. It went from one failed match-up to the next. Most of the secondary characters weren’t standouts either. They left me with the same mediocre atmosphere that unfortunately Emma sometimes left behind. Besides Harriet, thank the book gods for George Knightley (Emma’s brother in law and friend). He was the voice of reason. Every time I would nod my head in annoyance at another Emma mishap, there he was telling her off! *booyah!* 😛 I’m glad someone had some sense.  The quote below pretty much summed up my thoughts whenever Emma’s matchmaking was a total fail.

 

“Badly done, Emma!” — Mr. Knightley

Despite not loving every bit of this classic, what I still loved about it is Jane Austen’s ability to put diversity in her characters’ personalities. And as I said earlier the premise of this book is what had me eager in seeing who would be matched and who would end up together in the end *whispers* … although I kinda guessed who would end up together in the first few chapters hehe. But it’s always cool to see that you got it correct, am I right?! 😉 The ending was the highlight… and no, not because it was finally finished, but because I actually loved how it concluded for Harriet.

Anyways, I don’t want anyone who reads this review to automatically be put off from reading Emma (or even seeing it’s adaptation). Because I can tell you I’m excited to see the film. Sometimes the movie can be better than the book.. at least for some people. Whilst I thought this was an alright read, after having seen the movie trailer– I’m curious to see what I may have missed when I was reading the book, because the visuals brought back the excitement from when I first read the synopsis.

I almost forgot to mention that the characters in this book are quite young. So despite this being a historical romance, and some of the characters reading older than they actually are, Emma could technically fall under the YA category too. So if you’re a fan of historical romance and wanting to try a classic, give Emma a go. Suitable for teens/ young adults.

RATING: ♥♥♥.5/5

Thank you to Playermaker Digital, Universal Studios and Penguin Publishing for the paperback copy, screen passes to see the newest adaptation of Emma, and for the opportunity to collaborate! 😀 

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#Emma comes out February 13!

The newest adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel.

Historical romance mixed with lighthearted humor about friendship, matchmaking mishaps and unrequited love.   

A perfect Galentine’s Day film!

Check your nearest movie cinema for all screening availability. 

Watch the trailer now: Emma Trailer


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Happy reading, everyone. Catch you in my next one! Xo

 

Pride + Prejudice + Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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— BLURB —

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses.

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— MY REVIEW —

Before I get onto my review, I just want to point out that there were mixed reviews over this book. Some loved it. Some purely hated it.. like serious Jane Austen/ Pride and Prejudice fans were outraged that the classic novel was turned into a humorous tale with zombie attacks.

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Well all I can say is, I loved Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (it’s actually the only book I’ve read of hers) and I didn’t have any negative thoughts when I first heard about this book. I was actually curious to read it. Then I heard the movie was coming out.

Although I intentionally wanted to read this book before watching the movie. I ended up leaving it a little too late (it’s not screening anymore) but I’m glad I still read it. It seriously got me out of a mini reading slump. I was jumping from book to book until I started reading this one… and finished it! YAY!

It’s seriously Pride and Prejudice with a cool, funny twist to it. I liked how originals lines from the story were altered to fit with the zombie storyline. There’s random one-liners that could be interpreted differently (dirty-minded) that you may find funny, I know I did.

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The pace of the book is pretty good. I didn’t find it slow or dragging which is usually the first thing that turns me off a book. But I think it also helped that I knew what scenes were coming next since I’ve read the original Pride and Prejudice. It’s the funny comments here and there that take ya by surprise.

If you’re open minded about Jane Austen’s work being altered to be a light-hearted, fun read, then I would say you would like this version. I won’t completely recommend it to Jane Austen fans coz of the mixed reviews, but check it out. You never know, you may end up liking it – like me. 😊

[Sidenote]: Oh, in case you’re interested, this paperback edition has black and white illustrations included throughout the book as well as coloured photos of scenes from the movie.

RATING: ♥♥♥½


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Hope you liked my review. Happy reading and catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

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— BLURB —

As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored. The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.

Told not only from the perspective of the SS Californian crew, but also through the eyes of a family of third-class passengers who perished in the disaster, the narrative is drawn together by Steadman, a tenacious Boston journalist who does not rest until the truth is found. The Midnight Watch is a powerful and dramatic debut novel–the result of many years of research in Liverpool, London, New York, and Boston, and informed by the author’s own experiences as a ship’s officer and a lawyer.

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— MY REVIEW —

I love how the author wrote this story based on the true event of the Titanic sinking, which was the main reason as to why I got this book. The story of the Titanic, which still seems to be something of a mystery to this day. It gives you an insight as to what was going on when it happened and how people reacted when they heard the news.

I did find when reading it, the pace was a little on the slow side. There’s parts here and there that really capture your attention but for the most part it drags (at least for me anyways).

I found the crew of the Californian frustratingly irritating. I don’t know who I found more annoying.. oh wait possibly the shitty captain! Seriously now!? The secrets, the lies and the cover ups just to save their own asses during the sinking was a disgrace. I felt like slapping some sense into them but that probably wouldn’t do much good.

Besides reading about the Titanic, you get to know Steadman’s personal story as well. When I first read about his family, I was taken aback. I was not expecting the shocker of a story that he shares at the beginning. I was truly saddened to read about the tragedy that he went through with his family – resulting in his wife to never be the same since.

It’s just one tragic story after another with this book..

Now although I didn’t like the pace of the book, the story itself was insightful and sad and in some parts surprising. It’s worth a read especially if you like historical fiction and the events revolving around the Titanic (to be more specific).

I was undecided whether to give this book 3.5 or 4 out of 5 but I ended up leaning more towards the lower rating in the end just because I found it hard to really connect with the book. The slow pace and the frustration I felt towards the crewmen made me put this book down and never wanting to reach out for it again until much much later in the day when I had finally mellowed out and almost forgot my annoyance of the captain lol 😛

I’m still glad I read it though. It did make me wonder more about the people who were affected by this tragedy and all those who lost their lives.

RATING: ♥♥♥½


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Hope you guys liked and found this review helpful. Catch you guys in my next one! Xo

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