Friday, July 31, 2015

July Round Up

Hi All, this is my first non-bookish post.  I think I'm going to be doing one at the end of each month with stuff I've been doing, books I've read, nail art I've done, crafts I've completed etc. As well as any blog news for the upcoming month.

My July



For me July was a pretty relaxing month.  Lots of reading, lots of sunshine and water.  This spring I bought a boat and was able to take her out for the first time.  I also participated in my yacht club's first 6-mile race for the season and ending crewing on the boat that placed first.  I'm hoping I continue to crew for him and we win the series!

I was back in the city on June 28th to go see Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Darren Criss with one of my best friends.  We happened to have bought tickets for the show after the Pride Week Parade, so the show had this fantastic energy.  Lots of rainbow flags flying, Darren even took someone's from the audience and was waving it around during the finale.  After the show we stage door'd and was able to meet the entire cast, it was pretty awesome!



The Fourth I spent with family, friends, and the boyfriend at the yacht club to watch my city's fireworks.  We had gorgeous weather, and that moon, wow!  It was amazing.  My boyfriend and I made a trifle for desert for everyone, well, more like my boyfriend gave me the ingredients and I made the trifle for everyone.  It came out pretty good if I do say so myself.


I have three blueberry bushes in the yard, and they just burst with blueberries at the beginning of the month.  Luckily I netted them in time so the birds didn't have a chance to get them!

 

The town where I work has a summer concert series, so I went to see Andy Grammer last night.  He's completely amazing live!





Other than that my July has pretty much been hanging out at the island and reading.  It really doesn't get any better than when you combine the two and hang out on the island on a gorgeous day with a bottle of beer (or glass of wine) and an awesome book!



This month my reading sort of halted, due to two factors, M.D. Lachlan's books, while I love them, take me a little longer to read.  The other factor was a friend of mine gave me his manuscript to read.  I read it fairly quickly, but it was a pretty dense book and it took me a week (I apparently finished it the quickest out of everyone that he gave it to).  I don't want to say too much about it, but he's starting his second revision this fall, and I'm hoping that at some point in the near-ish future I'll be able to tell you all when its release date is...but first he needs to finish it and find a publisher...  I was only able to finish 6 (7 if you count my friend's) books, City Love by Susane Colasanti (7/2), Lord of Slaughter by M.D. Lachlan (7/4), The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (7/5), Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith (7/7), Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr (7/26), and Valkarie's Song by M.D. Lachlan (7/28).  I'm hoping to make some serious headway in my pile of books in August, but that all depends on how quickly I can get though Dinosaur Lords, which I totally started the day I got it :)



July's Artsy Stuff

I do a lot of nail art, it's kind my thing.  Every time I go into my ballroom studio the instructors and the girls at the front desk make sure they see what crazy design I have that week.  so here's my nail round up for the month.

 My Fourth of July nails.  
These were my own design :)

Underwater scene.  
I'd been dying to try ombre nails, and finally did.  
These are also my own design 

Cat nails
This design I found on Pintrest.
The thing I'm holding was a gift from a friend when she got back from vacation.  I love it!

Lobster nails
Every year my yacht club does a huge clambake (aka the Lobster Holocaust) this year we cooked about 250 lobsters for it.  I'm part of the fire crew, so it's an all day event for me, and a blast!  I had to do my nails for the occasion :)
This design I found on Pintrest




Blog News

This month I did a massive overhaul and organized my books (for the most part) So I have a nice big stack of books for a give away, so stay tuned for that. I'm planning to do it in August, then probably another later in the fall and possibly one in the winter.

I've been seriously slacking on my Short Story Sundays, so for August I'm hoping to get back into them, and plan a bit better so when I wake up Sunday morning I don't go "crap! I don't have time to read a story and write a review".  Here's to planning ahead and drafting things before the day I post them so I can just click a button when I get up and not fall behind schedule.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday [14]




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.










This week I am waiting on The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy (August 15, 2015)



Summary from GoodReads

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

Why I'm Waiting

This sounds really cool.  I'm a sucker for high fantasy, I can't get enough of dragons, unicorns, pegasi, fae, royalty, mages.  This sounds right up my alley.  And look at that cover! so pretty!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics











Top Ten Characters Who are Fellow Book Nerds

1. Isla - Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins


Isla is very bookish and nerdy.  And totally into comic books!












2. Thorliff Bjorklund - The Red River Series - Lauraine Snelling



Thorliff has read his entire life, to the point where his parents had to scrape money together just to buy him a book or two for Christmas.  Not to mention saving envelopes and all sorts of scraps of paper for him to write his stories on.  So it was no big surprise when he became a professional writer.







3. Seth Mortensen - The Georgina Kincaid Series - Richelle Mead



Seth is the totally adorkable writer











4. Hermione Granger - Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling




Next to "bookish" in the dictionary there's a picture of Hermione.










5. Beauty - Beauty - Robin McKinnley




All Beauty does is read books and day dream until she ends up at the castle with the Beast









6. Tris  Chandler - The Circle of Magic Series - Tamora Pierce




Tris, like Hermione, is forever studying reading each and every book she possibly can









7. Vicky Austin - the Austin Family Series - Madeleine L'Engle




Vicky the most philosophical than the rest of her family and is an aspiring writer.










8. Cath Avery - Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell




Cath is your typical bookish girl.  She lives in the world of Simon Snow and writes fanfiction for that world.









9. Darcy Patel - Afterworlds - Scott Westerfeld



Darcy is a bookish girl who ended up writing a novel which gets published.










10. Quentin Coldwater - The Magicians - Lev Grossman



Quentin, like Hermione and Tris, is very devoted to his studies, reading everything on the subjects he's studying.  He also reads his Fillory books from his childhood a lot.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Stone Rider

by David Hofmeyr



Summary From GoodReads

"Intense, original, compelling . . . bristles with attitude. So cool. Just read it."--Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Gone and BZRK

In the vein of The Outsiders and the early Western novels of Elmore Leonard, this inventive debut novel, a cross between the cult classic Mad Max movie series and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, blends adrenaline-fueled action with an improbable yet tender romance to offer a rich and vivid portrayal of misfits and loners forced together in their struggle for a better life.

Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive.

The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury.

And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything.


Thoughts on the Book

Yet another BEA pick. There were three YA book piles, each with a different book, by the time I got to it (there was a line leading up to table) only two of the three books remained, this was one of them so I grabbed it.  This past weekend I finally organized my BEA loot in order of when I should read things.  This made it to the top of the list since it was published earlier this month.


My Review

This book is about a kid, Adam, who is orphaned and friendless.  He lives in a society that relies heavily on bykes.  If you don't race with the byke you're forced to work in the mines, which is a horrible existance, alternatively if you do race and you survive you are allowed to work anywhere.

I started reading this book knowing nothing about it, so when I just looked at the summary posted at GoodReads I had to laugh.  My first thought after opening the book was "wow, this is a lot like The Outsiders".  It definitely started with that same feel, but Stone Rider is so much better.  It's a YA book that is definitely more geared towards boys, riding bykes (fancy mind-melding motorcycles that run on sun-power)and  minimal romantic entanglement, there's a girl, Adam has a major crush on her, he's incoherent when she's around, he races and writes her off until she joins him.  

I really enjoyed this book, which is surprising because I wasn't expecting to, it didn't seem like my type of book at all.  The race was kind of predictable, even the horror of it, setting things up so kids would die while the Watchers from the sky watched for entertainment and made bets.  The characters really made the book.  Adam was great, he's your average kid, not really wanting to be part of anything, to scared to risk his life in the race, but knowing that he was an excellent rider.  His personal growth throughout the book is great, I absolutely loved his decision at the end.  Sadie was a great character too, a bad ass girl who didn't take shit from anyone, especially her brother.  She knew exactly what she wanted and she made sure she got it.  Sadie's also really smart, kind, and open-minded.  She was definitely my favorite character.  Then there's Kane, he was by far the most interesting character, you have no clue about anything about him until the very end of the book.  You learn bits along the way, but it's not until shortly before the finish line that you really find out exactly who he is.  It's almost out of left field, unless you're very imaginative and pick up on the smallest hints dropped throughout the book. 

Overall I give this book a 8/10.  The race was a little predictable (although the order of the finish I was slightly surprised at), and I wish Hofmeyr spent a little more time describing things, like the wolf attack.  And an explanation for Adam's blackouts, why he suddenly stopped having them, what exactly happened when he did have them.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between

by Jennifer E. Smith



Summary From GoodReads

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

Thoughts on the Book

Yet another BEA pick.  I grabbed this book at the same time as The Thing About Jellyfish, I really wanted to read this one, I was in the mood for a good romance after the let down of City Love.

My Review

This book is about Clare and Aidan.  Clare wants to break up because they're going to opposite coasts for college, Aidan doesn't because he thinks they can survive the long distance thing.  The book takes place in their last night at home, Clare tries to convince Aidan to break up.

I don't like Clare, she's the stereotypical control freak girl who always gets exactly what she wants, no matter what anyone else thinks.  There was nothing redeeming about her in the story.  It starts with her making up her mind to break up with Aidan because it's the easiest thing to do.  She wants their relationship to remain perfect, they end it with a bittersweet goodbye before moving on with their lives rather than dealing with feelings and getting caught up in emotions and having it either fizzle out or explode in a horrible break up.  Because, clearly these are the only options for a long distant relationship.

Aidan, however, is much more normal.  He plans for things that he can plan for, but goes with the flow for other things, like his relationship with Clare.  He thinks that they should stay together for the simple reason that he loves her, and cannot imagine being without her, even if it's just being with her via talking and texting over the phone.

There are two other side characters that show up periodically throughout the night, Stella and Scotty.  They are Clare and Aidan's respective best friends.  Stella is about to leave for college as well, and Scotty is staying behind for community college.  They're both fun characters who are going through their own difficult goodbyes before the semester begins.

Now, I'm actually going to go a little into spoiler territory because it was the major issue I had with the book (aside from Clare). So I'm giving my rating before the end of the review so you can avoid accidentally reading the spoilers.

I give this a 7/10.  I mostly enjoyed it, three of the four characters were great.  Clare and the prologue at the end were what really bothered me with it.



***SPOILERS***

I liked that Aidan stuck with the decision to remain broken up after Clare finally admitted how she felt about him.  I like how they agreed on 'later' rather than be together or be apart.  I did not like how Clare decided that there can be absolutely no contact for three months.  How is that fair to Aidan?  It was easier for her, so that's all that mattered.  Then by Thanksgiving they were dating other people? What was that?  They needed to be with someone so badly that they dated some poor guy/girl while they were pining over someone else because being alone was too horrible?  Not to mention Aidan's dramatic kiss when he sees her again before the two of them were like, oh yeah, I have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  Way to treat your And their "later" was pretty crappy too.  Wow, 9 months.  I wish after Thanksgiving they weren't dating other people, but were able to become friends.  Then have the bowling ball thing happen into their senior year after they've actually had life experiences and seriously dated other people (or not, if they always felt like it was cheating), before coming back together.  It seemed more like they decided to get back together just before summer break so they could be together then.  It was almost a really great ending, but it just fell short.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.










This week I am waiting on Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty (September 15, 2015)



Summary from GoodReads

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students, one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James "Mori" Moriarty, meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more.

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London's Regent's Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James "Mori"Moriarty and Sherlock "Lock" Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock's one rule--they must share every clue with each other--Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can't trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

Why I'm Waiting

I'm not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, I like what I know of the story.  I've never read the books, I don't like the Elementary show at all and I'm not that into Sherlock (I'm gonna get hate for this, but Benedict Cumberbatch-so not my favorite Sherlock), but I loved Robert Downy Jr.'s trilogy.  Despite the fact that I'm not really a fan of the majority of retellings, I'm intrigued by the premise of this book.  I could easily see myself hating it, but I can also see myself loving it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics











Last Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters

1 - The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin



The main character has some sort of mental thing going on, I don't want to say disability, because it's not.  As I said in my review, I'm pretty sure she's autistic.  Her brother is gay and her lab partner has ADHD.  This book sports quite a few different types of characters








2 - Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige


The main character comes from a broken home, she lives in a trailer park and has little to no money.  Then she enters Oz, and if that land isn't diverse what is?  There are flying monkeys, witches, talking animals, and the list goes on and on.  Yes, I know this list was supposed to be more geared towards contemporary issues, but substitute any oppressed people for the flying monkeys and Dorothy for the ruler who is oppressing them.  It works, the dichotomy is there.






3 - Every Day by David Levithan 


Everything about this one screams diversity.  The fact that A goes into anyone his/her age indiscriminately is diverse enough. But then you see all sorts of mental illnesses, different sexual orientations, different socio-economic backgrounds, etc.









4 - The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


In this series Blue is from a poor put happy family of psychics, she attends public school and has to borrow the family car.  Gansey comes from a rich political family and he goes to the fancy private school in town.  Ronan also goes to the private school, and while it seems like he has everything in actuality he has next to nothing because of the nature in which he and his father acquire items.  Finally there's Adam, who attends the private school, he is the only one there on a scholarship, he works a part time job as a mechanic and he comes from trailer trash (only saying this because his father is legitimate trash).


5 - Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan



This one is about two boys named Will Grayson who are very different from each other.  Then there's Tiny Cooper, the extremely fabulous gay bff.









6 - Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling


As we all know, Harry starts off very poor but finds out that he is in fact not, Draco Malfoy is a spoiled rich kid from an old wizarding family, Ron Wesley comes from a very large, very poor old wizarding family, and Hermione Granger is muggle born.  But there's also other non-magical diversity throughout the book.  Dean Thomas is one of the few black kids, the Patel twins are quite possibly the only Indians in attendance, Cho Chang is the only Asian mentioned.  Then you get into things like the tri-wizard tournament where French and Bulgarian students show up with very different mannerisms than the British.  This theme is also seen at the Quidditch World Cup.


7 - Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Canagan, and Deborah Biancotti



Just with the main characters, one is blind, one is Latino, one is black, two are white.  Then economically one is filthy rich, one has enough to get by, one has nothing, and the other two are comfortable.  








8 - World War Z by Max Brooks


Yes, I'm calling World War Z diverse.  It takes place all over the world, in many different countries.  You see Isreal's point of view, and America, and Africa, and Asia, and South America, and Europe, and I'm pretty sure there's some Australia/New Zealand parts.  Then there's the astronauts perspective.  There's civilians and military, canine units, those that fled, those that fought, those that assisted in the spread. 






9 - Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor



In this series you have humans, angels, and chimera.  The war between the angels and the chimera is pretty much because the angels see themselves as superior to the chimera.  Relations between the two are taboo.  Again, like with Dorothy Must Die substitute any two races for the angels and the chimera and it's the same as any history involving any two races.

10 - The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson


This book bends and breaks all the gender roles.  Women are in power, no one cares if your straight, bi, or gay.  However, as a society they care about where you come from and how powerful your family is.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish

by Ali Benjamin



Summary from GoodReads

A stunning debut about how grief can open the world in magical ways.

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.


Thoughts on the book

While weaving through the booths at BEA I spotted a pile of these and pretty much went "Oooh! Pretty! Jellyfish!" before grabbing it and stuffing it in my bag.  I didn't think about it much again until after the weekend when I had all my books in front of me.  My thoughts were slightly more intelligent at that point with something like "what an awesome cover, I wonder if it's actually about flying jellyfish".  Then I got caught up in reading the books I was most excited about.  This one was sitting at the top of my unsigned books pile and every time I saw it I wanted to read it, but then decided against it since I had a feeling a wouldn't like it.  Finally, after I finished my last book I picked it up along with another that I planned on reading first, but the allure of a jellyfish made me open this one first.


My Review

This story is about a girl, Suzy, who's best friend drowns while on summer vacation a week before seventh grade starts.  The book jumps between the present, and the evolution of Suzy and Franny's friendship.  It addresses being able to process grief, and shows that things will get better, no matter how horrible the loss.

I was hooked on the first sentence: "A jellyfish, if you watch it long enough, begins to look like a heart beating."  I found it so beautiful, my first thought after reading this was more of an image.  The jellyfish tank at my local aquarium, full of moon jellies, just pulsing, in silence.  Still, every time I read this line that's what I picture.  The sentence seems to capture the serenity and beauty of the jellyfish.  You can't just glance at them quickly, you have to stop and watch, and once you do that you get caught up in the pulsing of the creatures, the silence of them, and while caught up with that you begin to become aware of so much more.  The entire book is littered with these beautiful lyrical, poetic lines and ideas.  I loved each and every moment of it.

I love Suzy.  She's the best main character I've had the delight of reading in a very long time.  I'm fairly positive that she's autistic, but not too severe.  It is never said outright, but she's very socially awkward, very intelligent and loves facts and math.  One night, during dinner with her dad, she decided that small talk was too difficult to attempt anymore, so she just stopped talking.  Once she stopped she lost the already difficult ability to find words to express herself, so she didn't, or if she did they came out wrong.

The entire cast of characters was amazing.  Mrs. Turton was the absolute best, she figured Suzy out after her presentation, and knew exactly what to do for her.  And once she did it, everything began to click in Suzy's life.  She was such an amazing teacher and mentor, I wish all troubled kids could have someone just like her to help them through it.  Justin was great too, and I firmly believe he "wasn't chosen" as a lab partner on purpose, and I love him for that.  I loved Aaron as well, even though he's much older than Suzy he still remembered his awful middle school days and tried to help her, as best he could.  Suzy's mom was pretty great too, as was her father.  At the end of the book I was amazed at how understanding they were of her, how helpful and encouraging.

Reading this I learned more than I ever thought there was to know about jellyfish.  They're really fascinating creatures.  I'm a firm believer that the best way to learn is through a story.  It makes learning much more fun, and the facts much easier to remember.  This book captured that perfectly.  I guess this book is technically considered middle-grade (I get why, but reading it as an adult without knowing who the intended audience was, it read like an adult book, people of all ages can thoroughly enjoy it, regardless of age) and I think that it's amazing how much science is in there to get children hooked in it.  Or at least teach them some awesome factoids that they can show off to their friends (unless their friends are plastics and think pee is gross).

I give this an 11/10.  I can't express how much I love this story.  It is most definitely my favorite of the year so far, and it will be difficult to top.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lord Fenton's Folly

by Josi S. Kilpack


Summary from GoodReads

Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt—and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him.

However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. However, a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London would secure not only her future but that of her family as well.

Determined to protect herself from making a fool of herself a second time, Alice matches Lord Fenton wit for wit and insult for insult as they move toward a marriage of convenience that is anything but a happy union. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton’s life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice. But can Alice risk her heart a second time?

Thoughts on the Book

I love a good romance novel.  Sadly it seems like a lot of them these days are all about the smut.  Which is fine, if that's what you're looking for in a book, but sometimes you just really want to read a romance that is actual about romance: two people falling in love with each other, and that actually has a plot.  At BEA Shadow Mountain publishers gave me this book to review and told me that this was what they call a proper romance (meaning a romance without the X-rated frivolity), so needless to say I was intrigued.  Especially when I got home and looked at the cover, it looks like a book full of heaving bosoms and loosening corset strings with no plot other than said corset coming off.  I was happy to find that the book did live up to its proper romance status.

My Review

This book is about a young man, Lord Fenton, who is over the top and ridiculous whilst discontent with his life.  His home life isn't ideal, his father is a jerk, but his mother is a wonderful person whom he loves greatly.  Lord Fenton ends up marrying Alice Stanbridge, a girl six years his junior and an old family friend.  The story is about why they marry and how they navigate said marriage.

Lord Fenton can be off-putting, he has this persona of a stupid careless boy who loves to dress in the most offensive manner (I cringed just reading the descriptions of his clothing, embroidered humming birds on his waistcoat, really?).  He's extremely unlikable when he's acting like this, but the first time you see him this way  you see how much he hates his persona and how sick he is with that part of society.  The shifting perspectives from Alice to Fenton is the only way that Kilpack could write him that made him even remotely likable.  By being able to understand his feelings and have access to his thoughts you were able to sympathize (or maybe even empathize) with him.  I definitely pitied him towards the end of the book

Alice on the other hand was awesome.  She stood up for herself, and while her curt responses to Fenton seemed improper for a girl of her standing, she did remarkably well keeping her socialite persona in place.  To anyone but Fenton she played the perfect demure high society girl.  She paid the correct amount of attention to the correct people, said the correct things at the correct time.  She even had all of the desired qualities of girls at that time, she sewed, she played the piano, and she sang.  The perfect British noble-woman.  However, it was away from society that Alice really stood out and shone.  Like Fenton that was just her persona for London, in reality she was just as caring and genuine, but she was a gardener, that was her passion.  She wanted, more than anything, to be elbows-deep in dirt planting things.  She also refused to be bossed around and told what to do by her husband.  She stood up to him and fought until she had her way, much to Fenton's chagrin.

This book was really character driven, I love the growth of Fenton, or perhaps the regression of Fenton back to what he was like at sixteen before he was exposed to the negative aspects of his family.  The other characters in the story didn't change much.  Alice just grew up, her childhood crush turned into more genuine feelings for Fenton and less romantic feelings for the idea of him.  But it was Alice which spurred Fenton into becoming the best version of himself

Towards the end of the novel things got a little predictable for me, but not completely.  There was still a surprise or two, mostly because I had forgotten a seemingly insignificant sentence from earlier in the book.  But the ending was perfect, all of it.  Fenton and his father, Fenton and Alice.  It was great.

I give this book a 8/10.  It was such a fun quick read with great characters.  I couldn't put it down!  There were some characters, like Alice's family, that should have made a reappearance at the end of the book, it felt weird that they weren't there.  And the end was a little too predictable for my taste.