Size Doesn’t Matter (146): Duels & Deception; The Horse Dancer; This Is Really Happening

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (146): Duels & Deception; The Horse Dancer; This Is Really HappeningDuels & Deception by Cindy Anstey
Published by Swoon Reads on April 11, 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father's choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won't hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert's help, Lydia strives to keep her family's good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

Anstey remains one of the better offerings from Swoon Reads, which really says more about how bad a lot of those titles are than it does about the quality of these little Regency comedies.

(more…)

April 2017: Month in Review

What I’ve Been Up To:

Blogging:

My epic reading binge has come to a decided halt, as I burned myself out/went on vacation. *insert shruggy emoji here* I need the break, and I’m still way ahead of any year’s reading previously.

Shenanigans:

As of this writing, I’m hanging out with Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) and Gaby! So, you know, life is good. We went to Disney, and it was super fun, though exhausting.
(more…)

Review: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ramona Blue by Julie MurphyRamona Blue by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 9, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-stars

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

As of writing this review (still half a month before the book’s actual release date), Ramona Blue has a rating of just slightly over three stars on Goodreads. For those who missed the fallout on Twitter and resultant spillover onto Goodreads in a rating battle, Ramona Blue came under fire for having a heroine who identifies as a lesbian fall for a boy. Based just off the book’s description, a campaign to sink this book was begun and a plethora of one star ratings with hateful commentary can be found, as well as myriad five stars by people attempting to counterbalance. Normally I wouldn’t address this, but I’m going to talk about this.

The short version, if you don’t want to carry on through the bulk of the review is this: Ramona Blue is a novel that highlights the ways that sexuality is a spectrum, and if you’re not okay with that then this book will not work for you, but it is decidedly not a heteronormative novel.

(more…)

Size Doesn’t Matter (144): Prisoner of Ice and Snow; And Then You’re Dead; Jeweled Fire

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (144): Prisoner of Ice and Snow; And Then You’re Dead; Jeweled FirePrisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on April 4, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In a thrilling fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen, Valor attempts the impossible—breaking her sister out of prison.

When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn't count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

This fresh and exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building—and is impossible to put down.

Middle grades are hit or miss for me, and Prisoner of Ice and Snow was a hit. The comparison marketing of Prison Break meets Frozen is hilariously misguided, but the book’s good. (Like, seriously, do kids, the target audience, give a shit about Prison Break?) Though a bit short to deliver the ideal level of feels, I read this book straight through in one sitting, and I have no regrets.

(more…)

Cover Snark (226): Snark, Unlimited

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Please note that you should by no means contact the author if you do not like their cover; they likely have ZERO control. Feel free to express opinions of the covers in the comments, but please do not @ an author on Twitter because of anything you’ve seen here.

Shiny and New:

1. Ever the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2) – Erin Summerill

Thoughts: Ever the SWOON.

(more…)