Sunday, March 14, 2021

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Dearest Josephine" by Caroline George

Book Summary (Amazon): Love arrives at the most unexpected time . . . 

1821: Elias Roch has ghastly luck with women. He met Josephine De Clare once and penned dozens of letters hoping to find her again.

2021: Josie De Clare has questionable taste in boyfriends. The last one nearly ruined her friendship with her best friend.

Now, in the wake of her father's death, Josie finds Elias's letters. Suddenly she's falling in love with a guy who lived two hundred years ago. And star-crossed doesn't even begin to cover it . . . 

My thoughts... The cover of this book instantly caught my attention, so I decided to take a chance on a new-to-me author, Caroline George. The book summary grabbed my attention as well, and even though it wasn't my typical reading genre, I went for it. What I didn't realize was that the format of the book is a series of letters, texts, emails, and even excerpts from the fictional hero's novel. It had the potential to be confusing had the author not labeled each transition (thank you!), but Elias' reality vs the story told through his novel could get confusing. I enjoyed both Elias and Josie's characters, as they were both searching for love. Not just any kind of love, but the kind of love that is unconditional, accepting the flaws and quirks of one another. Throughout the novel I was drawn in by the way the two main characters complemented each other, but I had no idea what was going to happen or how things would work out. The unpredictability was great for the tension of the novel. I did find the ending very satisfying (there was closure...yay!), however, I was still left with questions. I'm still trying to decide if I'm ok with that or Overall, I enjoyed Caroline George's style of writing with the mix of humor, mystery, and clean romance. I look forward to reading more of her work!

**I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in order to share my honest opinions, which I did.**


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Court of Swans" by Melanie Dickerson


Book Summary (Amazon): Where there is wealth and power, there’s always someone willing to do anything to take it.

England, 1381: Delia’s idyllic life as daughter of an earl is shattered when her father dies and his wife accuses Delia’s seven brothers of treason and murder. The youngest is only ten years old, but this doesn’t stop the guards from hauling them off to the Tower of London. There they await a grim fate, as child-king Richard II is executing anyone who poses a threat to his throne. Delia is their only hope for pardon and freedom.

Sir Geoffrey did not expect his first assignment as captain of the guard to be the arrest of boys so young. He dutifully imprisons the brothers, but he can’t ignore the sense, rooted in personal experience, that injustice and treachery are at work.

Determined to rescue her brothers, Delia secures a position as a seamstress for the queen. Her quest is all but impossible as the executions continue. Sir Geoffrey offers to be her ally, but should she trust him in a court where everyone has an agenda?

My thoughts...I've read all of Melanie Dickerson's books, and each time there are aspects that I really enjoy. I always try to keep in mind what the audience is for each book, as most of hers are written for young adults. This is the first book in a new series, but still follows along the line of several of her previous novels, which are fairy tale retellings. I have personally never read the fairy tale this novel is based on, but it didn't really take away from the experience of it. 

One of the parts of this novel I really enjoyed was the love Delia and her brothers had for one another. Delia never stopped trying to do whatever she could to help her brothers, whether it was taking a menial job as an embroiderer, knitting sweaters for them to be warm, and much more. Her sacrificial love was the heart of this book. I also enjoyed the build up of tension as the plot intensified. There was also a light amount of romantic tension that was appropriate for a clean read/YA novel. The only thing I wished for in the storyline was more explanation of the events leading up to the accusation and arrest of Delia's brothers. I struggled to connect with the actions of Delia's stepmother and how that would lead to such a severe punishment for knights and nobles in service to the king. 

I'm looking forward to sharing this with my teenage daughter, as she thoroughly enjoys Melanie Dickerson's books. I am interested to see how the rest of this series will continue.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in order to share my honest opinions, which I did.**