Friday, August 28, 2015

Favorite Things Friday: The Best Book(s) I read in August


It’s time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse! We gather once a month and discuss the best books we read this month and what we loved about them.

This month I started reading way too many books all at once, and I ended up only finishing one. I will feature it here today, but I’ll also tell you about some other books I’m reading that I think will be even better. I should warn you, though—they’re all regency romances. I’m on a regency kick at the moment.
 

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen is the story of Hannah Rogers, a clergyman’s daughter with a secret forcing her to leave her home and become a companion to the wealthy, yet haughty, Lady Marianna Mayfield. As the story begins, Hannah is travelling into the country with Lady Mayfield and her husband, Sir John, when the carriage crashes, and they are all plunged into freezing water. Rescued by a kindly doctor and his wife, Hannah awakes to the name “Lady Mayfield.” Confused and disoriented, Hannah assumes that she is Lady Mayfield. Once taken to the Mayfield home, she begins to remember her real name and situation. She is told by Dr. Parrish that the traveling companion drowned and that Sir John is in a bad way. Every opportunity she has to tell the doctor that she is not Lady Mayfield is in some way thwarted, but when Sir John begins to recover his wits, Hannah knows she will have to fess up and risk prosecution for fraud.

I loved the first half of this novel. It was suspenseful and it kept me guessing what was going to happen and wondering how Hannah was going to get herself out of this mess. The characters were colorful, well-developed, and authentic. As so often happens in a novel, however, the last third of the book was a little too long and drawn out. There were some courtroom scenes that took forever, and I became irritated, thinking—“just tell me what happens!”

The ending wasn’t as satisfying as I would like. Although unexpected, I felt it was a little too convenient. Overall, I liked the book, and I would recommend it to one who enjoys a regency read with an unconventional twist.
 

I have also started reading Heartless by Mary Balogh and I’ve enjoyed it very much (I’m only halfway through). Luke Kendrick is the hero who has been betrayed by family and his fiancee. Ten years after all of that, he's back to claim the land and fortune that is rightfully his. Yet the hard blows to his life have left him incapable of love. He marries Anna Marlowe, only to find that she's not the innocent he thought. Even so, he agrees to remain married to her as long as she will bring forth heirs. As time goes by, love begins to bloom in her heart for him, but he does not return her sentiment. We are left to wonder if they'll ever have a meeting of the hearts...
The novel is rife with themes of the nobility, marriages of propriety, family lineages and peerages, and lots of rakish men getting themselves into all sorts of trouble. If you like that sort of thing, this is a well-written and intriguing book. 

 


Finally, I started reading A Heart's Rebellion by Ruth Axtell. I just started this one two days ago, but it is set in 1815 during the London season. Jessamine Barry, jilted by the man she truly loved and wanted to marry, now leaves her quiet English village to venture into London for the infamous season. Even though she is initially unimpressed with the balls and parties, she soon meets Lancelot Marfleet and learns his family is very well known throughout society. Through this route she is introduced to more people, and apparently (although I haven't gotten there yet), she falls in with a rakish sort of gentleman who is all too happy to lead her down the path to rebellion.
So far I've really gotten into this book. I love reading Jane Austen-ish novels that deal with manners and society. I can't wait for the rake to come on the scene. I always love the rakes!
So that's what on my reading plate at the moment.
Tell me what you're reading right now, then check out some of my fellow bloggers and their reads for the month.
 

17 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun reading month. I've got my eye on the new Tessa Dare coming out!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Veronica
    http://vsreads.com

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    1. Yes! I saw that in grocery store today! :)

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  2. They do sound like interesting reads; I agree when a book can get a bit drawn out, its like "enough is enough, get to the point".

    I'm currently reading After You by Julie Buxbaum; its pretty good so far.

    I just can't believe it is the end of August already; seems like yesterday we were talking about July books.

    betty

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    1. I haven't heard of Julie Buxbaum--I'll check it out. I love that title.

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  3. I do love unexpected endings! I also am not a fan of long drawn-out passages, either ...

    Happy reading!

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  4. My wife is not a romance reader but if she were to start, this would be her sub-genre. Big-time sucker for costume dramas.

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    1. Oh yes! There's nothing like a costume drama. I'm with your wife. BBC Masterpiece Theater sucker here, too.

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    2. If you're into games at all, you should give Marrying Mr. Darcy a try. Love Letters is fun, too.

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  5. My reading tastes are much more eclectic, and I'm willing to give almost anything a shot. Currently, I'm reading "In the Fault of Our Stars," and I absolutely LOVE it. So much it makes me want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. The voice, the characters, the story... all are brilliant.

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    1. I would have tried that book, Susan, but so many of my students read and reviewed that book last year that I feel like I've already read it myself.

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  6. Hi Megan. I like the sound of these books. Romance is one of my favourite genres to read and to write. Thanks for sharing these!

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  7. I've read quite a few books with the plot of Lady Maybe, but each has put its own spin on the story. I remember in one that the pretender's new family didn't want to admit that she wasn't their daughter. They liked her better.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yes, Janie. I've read books with the plot before, but this one did have an unsual (albeit convoluted) ending.

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  8. These all sound like a fun read.
    When you were reading all three at once did you get some of the characters mixed up ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Surprisingly, I was able to keep them all straight! :)

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  9. I was in a critique group with a woman who wrote regency romances. I always found her books so charming! I should give that genre a try.

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    1. I'm trying it out right now--hence why I'm reading all of these! LOL!

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