Book of the Week – Fallen Beauty

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’ve been reading FALLEN BEAUTY by Erika Robuck (published in March 2014 by NAL Trade). It’s a Historical novel set in 1920’s New York. I’ve had this book on my To-Be-Read list for a while, and this weekend I found out it was less than £2 on Kindle UK, so I bought it on a whim. I’m about 2/3 in now, and I’m not regretting picking it up. The writing is gorgeous and the world building is great. The dual POV gives an interesting insight into the lives of two very different women in the Jazz Age. It reminds me of The Scarlet Letter, of fairy tales and of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s definitely an intriguing read, and I recommend it.

Fallen Beauty

From Goodreads:

Upstate New York, 1928. Laura Kelley and the man she loves sneak away from their judgmental town to attend a performance of the scandalous Ziegfeld Follies. But the dark consequences of their night of daring and delight reach far into the future…

That same evening, Bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her indulgent husband hold a wild party in their remote mountain estate, hoping to inspire her muse. Millay declares her wish for a new lover who will take her to unparalleled heights of passion and poetry, but for the first time, the man who responds will not bend completely to her will…

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 43

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’m waiting on THE GIRLS AT THE KINGFISHER CLUB by Genevieve Valentine (expected publication: 3rd June 2014 by Atria Book). It’s a YA Historical set in Manhattan during the Roaring Twenties. It’s also a reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Need I say more?

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From Goodreads:

Jo, the first born, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the closest thing the Hamilton girls have to a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan to the Funeral Parlor Supper Club and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those of her own heart.

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, penning a dazzling tale about sisterhood, freedom, and love in Jazz Age Manhattan.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Jazz Age January – 4

jaj-bannerHello gentle reader,

Jazz Age January is a reading challenge hosted by Leah at Books Speak Volumes. The idea is to read books related to the Roaring Twenties during the month of January. If you want to join in the fun, read about it here.

This week, I’m reviewing VIXEN by Jillian Larkin.

Vixen-JillianLarkin

Title: Vixen (The Flappers #1)

Author: Jillian Larkin

Genre: YA Historical

Publication: 14th December 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun… or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden…

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry…

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties… when anything goes.

What I thought:

I started reading this book in May 2012 but never finished it at the time. I thought Jazz Age January would be a good time to finally read it. Then I remembered why I had put it down.

This book isn’t a bad book. It’s well written and entertaining. But. The plot is SO SIMILAR to the Bright Young Things trilogy by Anna Godbersen (review here) that it’s very confusing. I couldn’t tell you if I liked this book or not, because all I kept thinking while I was reading it was that it felt I had read it before.

But if you haven’t read Bright Young Things, I guess you should give Vixen a try.

What have you been reading this week? Make sure to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 37

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m waiting on Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray (expected publication: 5th August 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). It’s a YA Historical Fantasy set in 1920s New York City and the second book in a planned trilogy. The Diviners was one of my favourite books of 2013 and I can’t wait to read its sequel!

Lair of Dreams

From Goodreads:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard of Lair of Dreams? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Jazz Age January – 3

jaj-bannerHello gentle reader,

Jazz Age January is a reading challenge hosted by Leah at Books Speak Volumes. The idea is to read books related to the Roaring Twenties during the month of January. If you want to join in the fun, read about it here.

This week, I’m reviewing THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray.

Diviners-PB2

Title: The Diviners

Author: Libba Bray

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Publication: 18th September 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret.

And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

What I thought:

Such. An. Amazing. Read. I loved this book and I couldn’t find anything negative to say about it. The plot is gripping, 1920s New York is wonderfully recreated on the page, the characters are all interesting and the writing is beautiful.

I can only recommend this book to everyone.

What have you been reading this week? Make sure to leave me a comment below!

Jazz Age January – 2

jaj-banner

Hello gentle reader,

Jazz Age January is a reading challenge hosted by Leah at Books Speak Volumes. The idea is to read books related to the Roaring Twenties during the month of January. If you want to join in the fun, read about it here.

This week, I’m reviewing BORN OF ILLUSION by Teri Brown.

born-of-illusion-teri-brown-new

Title: Born Of Illusion

Author: Teri Brown

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Publication: 11th June 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Blurb (from Goodreads):

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

What I thought:

I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to. The blurb really grabbed me (the Roaring 20s! Magic! Secrets!) but unfortunately the story itself failed to deliver the promised excitement. The main problem was that everything was told rather than shown: we’re told Anna is a gifted magician, yet we barely get to see her do any magic. We’re told the story takes place in 1920’s New York, yet we don’t get to see much of it (halfway through the book I actually had to check where the story took place, because the setting was so vague I couldn’t remember this piece of information). The last straw was during the final showdown, when the main character faints (!) and therefore we don’t get to see any of the ending firsthand. Definitely not the best 1920s book I’ve read.

What have you been reading this week? Make sure to leave me a comment below!

Jazz Age January – 1

jaj-banner

Hello gentle reader,

Jazz Age January is a reading challenge hosted by Leah at Books Speak Volumes. The idea is to read books related to the Roaring Twenties during the month of January.If you want to join in the fun, read about it here.

This week, I’m reviewing DOLLFACE by Renee Rosen.

Dollface

Title: Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties

Author: Renee Rosen

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

Publication: 5th November 2013 by NAL Trade

Blurb (from Goodreads):

America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman—the flapper.

Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname “Dollface.”

As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn. She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago’s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose.

The heady life she’s living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

What I thought:

I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I read somewhere fans of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire would enjoy it, and I wasn’t disappointed. I found in this book the same atmosphere and the same kind of plot that I love in Boardwalk Empire. What I also thought very interesting was that this story is told from the point of view of the women: wives and mistresses of the mobsters.

All in all, it’s an excellent example of historical fiction set in the 1920s, and I do recommend it if you read Adult books.

What have you been reading this week? Make sure to leave me a comment below!