ARC Review: The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

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Title: The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2)
Author: Alison Goodman
Release Date/Publisher: January 31st 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Finished: December 10th 2016
Pages: 496-ARC Paperback-Given for review
Series:
1. The Dark Days Club
2. The Dark Days Pact
3. Untitled

Synopsis from Goodreads:

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

What I Thought:

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ARC Review: The Ballroom by Anna Hope

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Title: The Ballroom
Author: Anna Hope
Release Date/Publisher: September 6th 2016 by McClelland & Stewart
Finished: September 17th 2016
Pages: 320-ARC Paperback

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Where love is your only escape ….

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors,
where men and women are kept apart
by high walls and barred windows,
there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.
For one bright evening every week
they come together
and dance.
When John and Ella meet
It is a dance that will change
two lives forever.

Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.

What I Thought:

I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review from Peguin Random House Canada.

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Review: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

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Title: Brazen
Author: Katherine Longshore
Release Date/Publisher: June 12th 2014 by Viking Juvenile
Finished: August 16th 2014
Pages: 528-Hardcover-Owned

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

What I Thought:

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Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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There’s a bunch of different covers for this, but the one above was attached to my eBook. 

Title: Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Release Date/Publisher: May 15th 2012 by Doubleday Canada (first published February 6th 2012)

Finished: November 8th 2013

Pages: 352 (253 according to my Kobo)-eBook-Library

Series: 

  1. Code Name Verity
  2. Rose Under Fire

Synopsis:

Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery.
 
Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors.

What I thought:

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, and what better time than just before Remembrance Day (I know this review is going up months after reading though).

I wasn’t sure what to expect with it since I don’t really read historical books that have to do with war often. This was written as a kind of correspondence or journal. It felt so real, as if the girls really existed back then. I loved that writing style and I thought it was really well done and it fit the whole book really well.

When the first girl Verity writes and she’s in captivity I felt so sad for her. I understand that she doesn’t want to be tortured anymore so she gives information up, but even then the conditions are harsh and she still gets treated like a prisoner. I’m glad they didn’t go into too much detail of the torture they were giving before. Her story sometimes got slow, especially when talking about planes and landscapes but I think that was to get her mind around the inevitable ending that she was trying to avoid and everything that’s happened to her. In the end though it all kind of made sense. I liked how she still tried to be strong and how she seemed to idolize her pilot and best friend Maddie.

The second story is called Kitty Hawk, and is the other girl mentioned in the description. I won’t say much about her so nothing is ruined when you read, but I liked reading what was going on with her too. They were both strong willed girls, just trying to survive and get home somehow.

This really is a great book and will probably leave you emotional after everything is over. A great pick for anyone who loves historical books, especially one set during World War 2. I know it’s fiction but it almost could have read as if it was real.

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Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

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Title: Tarnish

Author: Katherine Longshore

Release Date/Publisher: June 18th 2013 by Viking Juvenile

Finished: July 6th 2013

Pages: 416-Hardcover-Library

Synopsis:

Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court–and to convince the whole court they’re lovers–she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice–but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.

What I thought:

I loved this author’s other book Gilt, the story of one of Henry VIII’s later wives, so when I saw this one I grabbed it from the library at the same time. Anne Boleyn seems to be the most popular one in fiction that I’ve seen and although I haven’t read any other stories about her I did look up some of her history online.

This version of her story shows Anne as someone who is smart and quick to speak but also who wants to be equal to others and have herself heard, not having to hide like most women. I liked that her and Wyatt were friends too and how they worked together to get her noticed and married to someone better. The two of them could have had something together I think, but with all the lies and drama you never know. She eventually does end up with the King, which I thought was a pretty accomplished feat. I would have liked to see how he defies religion and such to get his marriage annuled so he can marry Anne eventually, but at least I can read that in history books.

I also liked that this book did not focus on her demise/death and all that sad stuff, but more on her younger self enjoying life and living at court just before being with the King. She starts out as someone who speaks her mind but is worried about what others think because of her clothes and such. Eventually after a certain heartbreaking event she decided to not change or hide her true self anymore. I loved this change in her and think it could really empower any females who read this.

This story was so good, and for those who love historical fiction I definitely recommend picking this up! While you’re at it get Gilt too!

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