Review: Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Gilt

Title: Gilt

Author: Katherine Longshore

Release Date/Publisher: May 15th 2012 by Viking Juvenile

Finished: July 3rd 2013

Pages: 398-Hardcover-Library

Synopsis:

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free–
and love comes at the highest price of all.
 

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

What I thought:

I’m not usually one for historical fiction, but this one really drew me in!

I was interested in the fact that this was about one of Henry VIII’s wives, which I really want to know more about now that I’ve read this. I also liked that it was seen through the eyes of one of her friends, Kat (Kitty) Tylney. She was an interesting character too, and I really felt for her when she got absorbed into the court life and all of Cat’s lies and eventual fall. You could really get a sense of what life must have been like then, especially for a woman, which pretty much meant you lived to marry the men and have children. They had no freedom and had to do as they were told.

Now this book isn’t all about pretty gowns and parties in the life at court, although there is a bit of that. There are a lot of secrets, gossip and rumours and of course treason. This highlights what goes on behind the curtains, away from all the public and what the Queen goes through with her personal entourage.

Cat was indeed a good character, although very demanding and making everything about herself. I definitely liked Kitty more but both characters really brought this book up a peg for me.

I hope to read more from this author in the future, as well as delve into more historical fiction thanks to this book!

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Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

in the shadow of blackbirds

Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Author: Cat Winters

Release Date/Publisher: April 2nd 2013 by Amulet Books

Finished: June 3rd 2013

Pages: 387-Hardcover-owned

Synopsis:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

What I thought:

This book was different than what I normally read, but after seeing it in the bookstore I wanted to give it a try. I usually don’t read many books about war since they always end up making me sad, what with the losses and what the men went through.

This book was set during World War 1, and not only did it talk about the Flu that went around and all the people dying because of that, but there are scenes with men that came back damaged both mentally and physically. There’s also some pictures taken during the war throughout this book, like one of some trenches and men carrying a casket.

And then there’s the ghosts. First, the pictures were definitely creepy. If you know me well, you know that anything ghost related really scares me, but I still go looking at that kind of stuff anyway. The pictures and the mix of ghosts throughout the book were definitely creepy, especially when a certain one connects with our main character and things start happening.

As for Mary Shelley Black (a good author she’s names after too), she’s a very smart girl who loves science and electricity and reading. I liked her stubborn character but also how she really loved Stephen and how she tries so hard to help him.

If you want a historical book that involves ghosts and a great story, with real pictures inserted inside then definitely pick up this book. I liked reading it even though it scared me a few times.

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Review: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

sapphire blue

Title: Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red Trilogy #2)

Author: Kerstin Gier

Release Date: October 30th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Read: January 12th 2013

Pages: 368-Hardcover-owned

Series:

  1. Ruby Red
  2. Sapphire Blue
  3. Emerald Green

Synopsis:

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out

What I thought:

I know I gushed a bit with the review of the first book, but I really do love this series! There’s just something about the way it is just so easy to read and how I just get lost reading it. It has romance, some drama, but also quite a bit of humour too. For instance, the soiree party with the special punch was so funny!

Xemerius, the demon gargoyle, was one of my favourite additions in this book. He not only was helpful, since only Gwyneth could see and hear him, but he also had some of the funniest comebacks. Especially if they weren’t being the nicest to Gwen. As for characters you also get to see more of the Count, especially learning about how he was in his own past. He definitely starts to set the tone for a bad guy as this goes on. Gideon however got on my nerves at one point in the book, since he constantly has to hide any feeling for Gwen, he keeps acting different around her when they alone compared to around other people. But he does redeem himself later on in the book (for a little bit anyway), and I do think those two would be really cute together!

There are still so many secrets and mysteries that need to be solved, and I hope everything will be revealed in the next book. A few things are talked about here, but not a lot and it makes me wish I had the next book now! If you liked the first book you definitely need to pick this one up.

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Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

ruby red

Title: Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1)

Author: Kerstin Gier

Release Date: May 10th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Read: January 10th 2013

Pages: 330-Hardcover-owned

Series:

  1. Ruby Red
  2. Sapphire Blue
  3. Emerald Green

Synopsis:

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

What I thought:

When I saw that this was about time travel I knew I had to read it! I was enjoying it so much that next thing I knew it was done, and luckily I have the next book so I can go right to it.

There were so many things I liked about this book, especially the interesting characters. The Guardians and their order were so mysterious and you can tell they were hiding many secrets, it was hard to tell who was trustable and not and I loved it. You don’t find out everything in the first book, but I liked not having it all revealed, just means more for the next books!

The Count Saint-Germain was another powerful character, he seemed old and frail when you first meet him but he’s definitely creepy and strong at the same time, and I’m excited to see how he ties into the rest of the series since he’s from the past. Gwyneth was the main character, and although she hasn’t been raised to be a time traveler I think she stands up pretty well. She’s definitely got some strength in her, and quite an opinion, and I can’t wait to see her spread out even more in the next books.

The time travel was awesome of course, not only the historical places and outfits they got to wear, but how it worked and was set up was cool. Like for instance there are 12 time travelers over the ages, and they are all linked by names of gems, but they all play a bigger role that we find out later.

If you’re looking for some time travelling fun with some romance and historical settings then this book is for you!

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Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Title: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1)

Author: Rachel Harris

Release Date: September 11th 2012 by Entangled Publishing

Read: September 26th 2012

Pages: 304-paperback-owned

Series:

  1. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
  2. A Tale of Two Centuries
  3. My Not So Super Sweet Life

Synopsis:

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

What I thought:

What actually got me to purchase this book was the cover, I just love how it looks, and when I read the description I knew I had to give it a try. I’m so glad I did, I just loved it. It was a nice easy read with awesome characters, great historic settings and romance.

Cat is our main character, a girl from Hollywood, on a trip with her dad and future step-mother to Florence. Her mother was famous in a way, and Cat constantly has to deal with paparazzi because of her mom’s scandals. She is always worrying what others think and always tries to be perfect and in control. She has no friends, and only relies on her father. As the story goes on, she does start to change a bit thanks to her cousins of the past and the people she meets. I loved seeing her try and deal with how to act during the Renaissance compared to modern times, she does slip up at times but manages to pull through. These were lots of moments that had me laughing too!

The other characters made me love this book even more I think. Alessandra was adorable and I really liked how she bonded with Cat. Lorenzo, the love interest, will definitely get some of the girls swooning. He’s the artist type with a great smile. She does try her best not to fall for him but it doesn’t take long, and I think those two would be so cute together.

Another thing that was great about this book, it doesn’t drown you in back story. There’s little snippets of info that Cat talks about that mention what her life used to be like, and as you read on you start to figure out why her mom isn’t there. As for the time travel, it doesn’t take forever for it to happen either. After a few chapters in you get to enjoy her awesome journey! As for the rest of the story with the Niccolo thing and why she got thrown into the past, you’ll have to read it for yourself!

I only wish that it was a bit longer, but there is another book coming out in the series luckily. After the way it ended I want more now! This was a great read for a debut author, very cute and lots of fun! Highly recommended for young adult fans of historical fiction and romance.

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