Suddenly – Book Review

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Suddenly

by Candace Camp

★★★

Expectation

I picked up this book for my TBR Jar Draw in October. This book surprised me. It surprised me to get it back form someone I supposedly borrowed it to – I never remembered owning it in the first place. In my curiosity I did something I don’t normally do – check out reviews of others. The reviews I ended up reading were quite harsh on the main female character. I did not have high expectation from this book because of it.

Summary

My copy of the book is what some would call – well loved. Edition is old enough to drink alcohol in most of the countries of the world and then there is the unmistakable yellow color on the pages of the book.

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I could not help but notice some differences in writing style of a historical romance book from the nineties in comparison to the some books that were written in the last decade. It is very subtle, but there is a general pattern to the female heroins in historical romance fiction then and now. I love it when romance authors like to add some historical facts and interesting details to their work. Romance is still in the center of the story but the characters tend to flare into quirky a lot more in newer books than they did just ten years ago.

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I was surprised to find that I disagreed with the harsh reviews and opinions about the main female character – Charity. I had to cringe on the cheesy name. The main male character – Simon Dure was only slightly developed and as the rest of the characters did not have much substance to him. I might have been too used to some more complicated plot twists and deeper characters. This book caught me off guard with more simple approach. Even with that said I cannot claim the book was boring or simple. The tropes it follows were more common decade and a half ago but they were well executed.

Charity is blond, too good to be true, fair, only slightly naive, and very much competent to fend of physical attacks. She is also completely virginal and unaware of her own beauty. Simon is a thirty year old widower with short temper and rumors of have murdered his own first wife. Their steamy scenes were a bit exaggerated for my tastes but were interesting enough.

Neither one of the two characters is developed enough to have earned their flaws and character motivation. In this sense the book seemed a bit underdeveloped. As for the plot – that is something completely different. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to have made it interesting form me to the very end.

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Conclusion

I might have had a different opinion of this book had I not been prepared for the worst. The cover was cheesy and while I wondered about the elements on it and how they fit in the book I was glad it was not just another cover with a woman and a man in some strange pose. I liked this book better than I expected. I liked that the plot was more than two characters meeting and falling in love until they get married. I might even think it made me look at the genre in a different perspective. All in all I’m glad I have read this book.

TBR Jar Draw October update

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In September I decided to continue my ongoing TBR Jar Draw challenge. Istarted it out years ago when I wanted to concentrate more on reading the books I already own and dial down the number of unread books I had on my TBR list.

You can check out my first post on it HERE.

Last month I drawn three titles from the jar:

1 #  Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

2 # The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)  by Brenda Pandos

3 # Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

From them I choose to read The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1) by Brenda Pandos and other two titles go back in the jar!

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The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)

by Brenda Pandos

★★★

I had to look up when I got this book and while I knew it has been a few years; to see it was more than 5 years it was a bit surprising. This book was one of the first Kindle freebies I got and the cover was never really that appealing for me to start reading I guess. The book was slow and the first half of it seemed almost boring watching the main character going trough her daily life. The second half of the book starts introducing the supernatural elements at a faster pace. This difference between first half and the second made the book seem even more slow and boring and might make some readers give up…
Second part of the book gives a good insight into backstory of the supernatural elements and those are well made. I’m a bit ambivalent towards the main characters since they are very much erratic in their YA decisions.

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My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

1 # A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin

I tried reading it when the TV show was just starting but had trouble concentrating in my reading since the TV show went faster than my reading. I pushed it back on the shelf to read after the hype of the TV show settles down. I have a hardcover edition in Croatian with a TV show jacket. I don’t think enough time has passed for me to give it another try…

2 # Suddenly by Candace Camp

I’m not sure I know how I got this book. One of my cousins returned it to me one day and said I lend it to them a while back. I have no memory of this. Book is well loved all worn and yellow. I might want to read it just so I can pass it on to someone else to read and make room for something else on my shelf.

3 # Bloodsuckers: The Vampire Archives (Vampire Archives #1)  by Otto Penzler

I remember snatching this book from a bookstore shelf along with two others. They make a trilogy of collection of short stories with a vampire theme. Among many unknown authors there are some well known and popular I never knew wrote short stories with vampires. I still like reading short stories and it might be time to take on these collections.

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I like seeing progress with my TBR Jar Draw challenge no mater how slow. It gives me hope that I might get closer to reading all the books I have on my shelves.

TBR Jar Draw is back!

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Few years back in my attempt to read more books I already own I decided to challenge myself by writing down my owned and not read books on tiny pieces of paper and place those in a jar. Every month I would then pull three options and read one of them. This ensured that I read at least one book a month I already owned.

You can check out my post where I explained the TBR Jar Draw HERE.

With years I have adapted more to my TBR and made some resolutions to help me with reading motivation in general. I am also running out of pink paper I used back then and will probably revise all my owned not read books at the start of next year.

I did some small check up on the titles left in the jar since I have neglected it and there were some books I’ve read in the meantime that I originally put in the jar back when I first started with this project.

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I intentionally did not count the titles left in the jar or those I read and put in the little see trough box. I did make a list of the titles so I can better organize for the next year.

Until then I decided to keep it going without the monthly timeline pressure so that I have at least one owned book in currently reading category.

I started a new TBR Jar Draw and here are my first three titles:

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1 #  Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

I’ve had this book for a very long time. I loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show and I liked collecting everything Buffy like. This is one of the more serious Buffy books I have and I remember being very interested. I get little nostalgic just by thinking about it!

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2 # The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)  by Brenda Pandos

This is one of my first Kindle freebies from when I just got into Kindle and was downloading all the free ebooks I could find! The Kindle edition of this book changed a few covers over the year as well! These days they are not so easy to find and I occasionally buy a Kindle ebook I get interested in. This is a second time I pulled out The Emerald Talisman from the jar!

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3 # Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

First book of the Lucky Santangelo series I wrote about when I was presenting books that changed me. You can find my post HERE. I read it when I was very young. after some time I came across the second book in English and decided to buy it. The edition I have is so old I couldn’t find a pic of it online. It is very yellow and chubby and it sometimes stares at me from the bookshelves!

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All of my choices look interesting but I am not sure which one should I go with first!

TBR Jar Draw May 2018

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Last month I pulled a Joker in my TBR Jar Draw and used it to read not one but two books from my bookshelves: Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) & Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs. I went for both book since I got them mixed up and was not sure what was the last book I’ve read from Mercy Thompson book series.

My thoughts on the reading experience of both Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) & Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs can be found HERE.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

#The First Book of Demons (The Book of Demons #1) by Raquel Dove

#The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1) by Anthony Trollope

While pulling the next three TBR Jar Draws for May I got another book I’ve previously read outside the TBR Jar Draw reading challenge: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – my review and thoughts on it can be found HERE

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1# The Princess Bride by William Goldman

This is the second time this year I’ve pulled this book out of the Jar. Last time it was just two months ago. I must admit that I’ve been eyeing it for months now but the chubby 450 pages long paperback I own looks nice and new and I’m afraid of making creases on the book spine – an excuse I know! I’ve been trying to get it as a suggestion for my reading group as well. This might be the month I actually get to read it finally!

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2# U krevetu s vješticom – Najljepše ljubavne horor priče by Milana Vuković Runjić

This was a spur of the moment buy at a local book sale. I liked the theme and the title translation goes something like: In bed with a witch – best love horror stories. I like that its a short story collection. I have been sceptic toward Croatian authors mostly but I am willing to give this a try.

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3# The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1) by Brenda Pandos

This is one of the Kindle freebies I got while I was going trough my e-book phase few years ago. It is one of the self published authors of YA genre with fantastic elements. I have learned recently that there are two other books in this series. I like the e-book aspect which make it easier to read before bedtime. I’m slightly unsure about starting a new book series and then searching out the next books.

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I have been quite busy with lots of different projects and some real life changes. I will make an update soon on some new bookish things and not so bookish things I am currently in the middle of.

TBR Jar Draw April 2018

I admit to taking the easy way out on my last month TBR Jar Draw with Fringe: Tales From The Fringe by Various. I did enjoy it but my motivation was purely practical in nature.

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My thoughts on reading Fringe: Tales From The Fringe by Various can be found HERE

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# Uncle Silas by Sheridan LeFanu

# The Princess Bride by William Goldman

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1#The First Book of Demons (The Book of Demons #1) by Raquel Dove

This is another surprise to draw from the jar! This is one of the few ebooks I got as a freebie on Kindle and decided to include in the TBR Jar Draw. Lately my Kindle reading was slow and this might be a good choice to bring it back up from the dead. I have not read anything from this author and know very little on the book itself. I have good track record with Kindle freebies so far and I’m not afraid to try this one out.

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2#The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1) by Anthony Trollope

I was intrigued by this 19th century scandalous book about clergy and funding and human motivation and social morality. I find the theme highly appropriate today as well. I got it on sale really cheap years ago and forgot I had it. I don’t know about other books in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. I don’t think I’m in the mode for this type of book but who knows?

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3# JOKER! Read anything from the shelf!

At first I was confused when I pulled out this one from the Jar. It was a pleasant surprise! I noticed some interesting books sitting on my shelves and I’m not sure if they are in the Jar at all! I might go for this option and pick something I might really enjoy. This last two months designated reading has been pulling me down so much my reading has been scarce. I need some good preferably urban fantasy story to pick me up!

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TBR Jar Draw February 2018

I finshed my TBR Jar Draw for January fairly quickly. It was not a novel nor a short story but an indie RPG book The Shab-al-Hiri Roach by Jason Morningstar. Years back I used to play RPGs like Vampire the Masquerade and Dungeons and Dragons a lot more than I do now. I made a short review on the book and you can find it HERE.

After I finished this book I decided not to rush into the next TBR Jar Draw until February started. The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3) by Rick Riordan

Dhampir (The Saga of the Noble Dead series #1) by Barb and J.C. Hendee

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1# Sigvald (Warhammer Heroes #4) by Darius Hinks

I got interested in this book because of a board game I love playing Chaos in the Old World. It is part of a larger fantastical universe of Warhammer Fantasy. To really explain why I bought this book and I’m not interested in others from this series I would have to read and review it.

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2# Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton

This has been on my shelf so long that I am unsure have I read it or not. I’m pretty sure I have read at least one of the stories in it but never have I read it as a whole book. I follow the author Laurell K. Hamilton and love reading short stories in general.

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3# The Witch with no Name(The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison

This is the thirteenth and the final book from The Hollows series. It is the only one I have not read. This series has been with me for more than a decade. I truly enjoy this urban fantasy series and have recently recommended it to a friend from my book club – and she loved it so much she went trough it on a span of few weeks. It would be good to finish a book series but it would also be a bittersweet experience since it is a series full of characters I love.

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All three options are good and inviting. I am a bit shamed for letting so many good books stay unread on my bookshelves. I’m having one of those moments where I’m glad to have started challenging myself to read more of the books from my bookshelves with TBR Jar Draw!

The Scoundrel Takes a Bride – Book review

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Finished reading

The Scoundrel Takes a Bride

(Regency Rogues #5)

by Stefanie Sloane

★★

Expectation

This historical romance was a part of my TBR Jar Draw from December. I picked it out since I was in the mood for a historical romance book. I wanted a nice and silly historical romance with interesting characters. I have never read any books from the Regency Rogues series or anything by this author before. I got the book as a gift from a friend I used to work with.

historical-romance-fashions-and-hairstyles-versus-the-reality-victorian-era-portrait-book-coverIs the guy on the right wearing a corset too? Whats with that hairdoo? Those bangs look like they have been done by a blind hairdresser! The lady looks like she is embarrassed to be in the picture with him!

Summary

Right at the start this book did not rise to my expectations with the main heroine fainting for some silly reason. That same heroine whose mother was brutally murdered while she was a child has been working with Bow Street Runners and was deeply involved in theory of criminal psychology. And she faints for no reason whatsoever. This made the rest of the reading not so motivating.

Some time in the book the prominent point of the book turns the solving of the mystery murder from the characters childhoods. If it werent for two “romantic” thryst scenes between the main characters this would be historical murder mystery book.

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The tone of the book was not what I was expecting. The title alone was more than decieving with no actual scoundrel in sight – the character it was supposed to refer to was a bit of an alcoholic with kinda heroic background…

Conclusion

I keep waiting on a good historical romance book to sweep me off my feet in the manner of Desperate Duchesses series by Eloisa James. That series set my expectations for a good historical romance a bit high maybe. For some reason this book did not click with me. This will not stop me from trying out some other new historical romace for February if not sooner.

Any suggestions?

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TBR Jar Draw December 2017

First a little update for those who don’t know what my TBR Jar Draw is about. Somewhere at the start of last year I have decided to try and read more of the books I already own. Out of my TBR (To Be Read) pile of books on Goodreads I have selected some of the books I own and wrote the titles on little pieces of paper each. Once a month I draw three titles from the jar and decide to read one of them. This gives me a reason to go trough my bookshelves and find the titles I might have overlooked or forgot about. Here is the link to the post from March 2017 that got me started –> TBR Jar Draw 

 

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I have finally finished reading The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman. While I stated reading it somewhere around Christmas I did not do much reading up until the start of January. It took me longer than I expected and has left an impression on me. I will definetly post a review on it soon.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# The Age of Odin (Pantheon #3) by James Lovegrove

# Master of Chains (Forgotten Realms: The Fighters, #1) by Jess Lebow

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1# Angel Souls and Devil Hearts (Shadow Saga #2) by Christopher Golden

This is the second time I’ve drawn Angel Souls and Devil Hearts. Described as the Epic Vampire Saga I have read the first book from this series quite a long time ago. What I remember of it is dark and gritty scenes and some come to haunt me in the middle of the night to this day. Contrary to that I am still interested in reading this series trough. I am still not that enthusiastic to start on it.

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2# The Scoundrel Takes a Bride (Regency Rogues #5) by Stepfanie Sloane

I got this book as a gift along with one other from the same historical romance genre. While I’ve read the other one this one was left behind. It actually seems like a good choice at this moment since I feel like reading a romance novel…

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3# Carniepunk by Rachel Caine and various authors

I have mentioned this book before. It is a short story collection from some of the authors I already love and follow. I love reading short story collections since they let me meet fascinating new authors and discover new worlds. Thematically this short story collection is about carnivals and would have been a nice October read. I am very pleased with this drawing.

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TBR Jar Draw November 2017

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First a little update for those who don’t know what my TBR Jar Draw is about. Somewhere at the start of this year I have decided to try and read more of the books I already own. Out of my TBR (To Be Read) pile of books on Goodreads I have selected some of the books I own and wrote the titles on little pieces of paper each. Once I month I draw three titles from the jar and decide to read one of them. This gives me a reason to go trough my bookshelves and find the titles I might have overlooked or forgot about. Here is the link to the post from March that got me started –> TBR Jar Draw 

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Last month I squeezed two books for TBR Jar Draw. After finishing the book The Frog Prince in a rather short time I went and pulled another three titles which gave me Rosemary and Rue. My thoughts on The Frog Prince can be read HERE and my thoughts on Rosemary and Rue can be read HERE.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home (Broken Heart #4) by Michele Bardsley

# Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1)  by Joe Abercrombie

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1 # The Age of Odin (Pantheon #3) by James Lovegrove

This is the book my boyfriend owns. I bought it for him actually along with the rest from this series. Years back we did a few reading challenges among us and this is one of the books he chose for me to read. This was from when I first started writing this blog. You can find the link on the summary of our first challenge HERE. As you can see The Age of Odin is one of the books he choose for me that I did not read in the end. I still kept it on my TBR list on GR out of guilt. And now it’s come back to haunt me and make me think about some new challenging ideas for next year 🙂

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2 # The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman

Woow this is embarrassing! The Golden Compass is the book from the second reading challenge my boyfriend and I did. Yet again it is one of the books from the challenge I did not read. You can check out how the second challenge my boyfriend and I made looked like HERE. To my defense I only bought this book last year at Interliber book fair in Zagreb. Another Jar Draw with snow on the cover makes up for a great themed reading up to December though.

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3 # Master of Chains (Forgotten Realms: The Fighters, #1) by Jess Lebow

This book I got ages ago while I was a student and was more into Dungeons and Dragons roleplay. I was actually surprised to find out that I bought the first one since I did not look into it much when I got it. I have three books from this series. Lately I have been thinking about playing Dungeons and Dragons again. This might be a good way to get me in the mood.

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While all the options above are solid for one reason or another I just might dive into a new book series with The Golden Compass. I am still undecided.

Rosemary and Rue – Book Review

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Finished reading

Rosemary and Rue

(October Daye, #1)

by Seanan McGuire

★★★★

Expectation

This book caught my eye when it first came out over seven years ago. The title alone drew me in for some reason and the author was someone I heard good things about and wanted to try out. I did not seek it out right away and some years have passed until it caught my attention again. When I saw it on sale I grabbed it and bought it. Only when it came up on my TBR Jar Draw did I finally got to reading it. While knowing I will enjoy it I was also apprehensive about diving into another urban fantasy book series that I will have to find rooms on my shelves for. So far there are over ten books out already…

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Summary

For me this book was very easy to get into from the start. Lots of things happened right from the beginning but the pure enjoyment of a good urban fantasy book series made me dive right in without much problems. At first I kept thinking how the story progressed like watching a TV series.

I had issues with grasping the measure of the main character October “Toby” Daye. She is so many things at once and her complexity amazed me at first. The character has history and many layers starting from origins and family all trough profession and infamy among other characters.

“I’ve never liked being looked at like I was a hero. I always wind up letting someone down. Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes the only person who gets hurt is me.”
― Seanan McGuire, Rosemary and Rue

I found that most fantastical characters in the book were well represented as quirky and at the same time dangerous fairy creatures. Even though most of the characters were deadly in their own right they were kinda endearing as well.

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Author has channeled her love of cats in many ways trough the book. With cats being well represented as they are in reality; there were a few fantastic cat like creatures as well that enriched the story.

And this may come as a possible spoiler but while the main character remained blissfully unaware of one cat in particular being in love with her – the love interest for one of the many books after this one for me was more than obvious.

Conclusion

The story came to a bit of a dramatic ending toward the end and that is the reason I gave it four stars instead of five. I truly enjoyed this book and was pleasantly surprised by the main heroine. While I hope to get the next books soon It will probably have to wait for a bit until I finish at least one of the ongoing urban fantasy series I follow.