Tag: Kim

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters

Author:  Lisa Wingate
Published: September 1, 2015
400 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:  3 stars

Book Description:

Wingate’s third Carolina book follows the highly reviewed, The Prayer Box and The Story Keeper as well as related three novellas.

From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny. . .

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at The Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a depression-era love story change everything

Kim’s Review:

A pattern seems to be emerging with Wingate’s works: I find them unsatisfying. It seems that when I read her books, I get really involved in the story, I like the characters, I want to find out what happens, the description draws me in, I’m fascinated . . . And then I’m left hanging. It’s not that all the questions aren’t answered, they are, they just aren’t answered satisfactorily. For example, Child is sent to an orphanage, Child disappears from orphanage, brothers and sisters of Child grow up, other lost children from the family reappear, at the end of the book, it’s implied that Child is dead, end of book. That’s it?? Cmon you gotta give me more than that!!!! And this book was exactly the same. The bones of the historical mystery come to light at the end of the book, but no details and no real resolution. End of book.

The story was really interesting and I wanted to learn as much as possible and I couldn’t wait to see what happened . . . And then nothing did. I think I may have to DNF any more of her books because I just can’t live with this emptiness inside!

Everything really was good, until the end. She captures the beauty and mystery of Appalachia, and after reading this book, I wanted to go out to Manteo to spend a weekend. I even mostly liked the characters. It was just unsatisfying.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Author: Gita Trelease
Published: February 5, 2019
449 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

Kim’s Review:

First off, let’s all take a moment to admire this cover! It makes my skin tingle!!! Definitely in my Top 5 fave covers of the year! I predict it goes pretty far in Series two at the end of the year for our Most Gorgeous Cover competition! Unfortunately, the cover is far better than the story. It has its good elements, but overall, I wasn’t impressed with the story. I’ve said before that I like more condensed scope that feels more intimate and manageable. However, if the situation calls for it, a wider scope works and works well. This book felt like it should have been far wider in scope than it was. For Camille, it never seemed to get farther than getting money so they can survive. I get it, that’s obviously a good goal, but in the middle of the French Revolution? I expected more to happen. She talked a good game about wanting equality and down with the nobles and all that, but she never DID anything. When you look at the story as a whole, it’s literally a tiff between teen nobles . . . And that’s pretty much it.

Yes, there was magic, but you never learn anything about it. The characters, while mostly likable, felt very static. I found myself pulling for the bad guy and looking for a twist that never happened. Most of the facets of the story felt like they didn’t fit in with each other. The balloon didn’t really fit with the revolution, the magic didn’t really fit with Versailles, the villain’s motivation seemed so shallow and flat compared to the times. I’m glad I read it, and I liked hearing about the fashion and life at Versailles, but I don’t think I’ll ever read it again. I also wouldn’t really recommend it to too many people. Maybe readers with a deeper imagination than I have would like it better. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Serafina and the Seven Stars

Kim has really enjoyed the Serafina series by Robert Beatty and just finished the fourth in the series! Here is listing of the series:

  1. Serafina and the Black Cloak
  2. Serafina and the Twisted Staff
  3. Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Kim’s review is here).
  4. Serafina and the Seven Stars

Author: Robert Beatty
Published: July 9, 2019
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:

Serafina and Braeden make an epic return in the hotly anticipated fourth installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina series. Serafina, the Guardian of Biltmore Estate, has won battle after battle against the dark forces encroaching on her home. Now, tranquility has returned to Biltmore. Serafina doesn’t trust it. She patrols the grounds night and day, hardly sleeping, uncertain of her place after her best friend Braeden Vanderbilt’s departure for boarding school in New York.

When Mr. Vanderbilt, the kind master of Biltmore, asks Serafina to move upstairs into one of the house’s grandest rooms, she’s sure it’s to keep an eye on the guests who have arrived for the estate’s annual hunt.

But as Serafina investigates, she becomes more and more unsettled by what Biltmore has become-a place haunted by nameless terrors where no dark corridor is safe. Even worse, she begins to doubt her own senses. Is Braeden really hundreds of miles away, or did he return to Biltmore for one strange night before vanishing? Is the bond between them truly broken or is it stronger than ever?

Then Serafina witnesses a crime that turns her world upside down. How can all that once seemed good and worthy of protection now be evil? And how can she guard those around her when she can’t even be sure of the truth of her own heart?

Serafina and the Seven Stars marks the return of a heroine like no other, as master storyteller Robert Beatty weaves his darkest, most astonishing tale yet.

Kim’s Review:

Serafina is growing up and she’s doing it fast! I decided to re-read the other three books before Seven Stars came out and I once again was caught up in the world of the Vanderbilts at Biltmore in Asheville. I was reminded of all that had happened before with the Black Cloak and Twisted Staff and the Old Man of the Mountains. I went back to seeing what good friends book characters can be and the lessons to be learned.

Seven Stars was written in the same spirit as the rest of the series, but boy howdy is it dark! Serafina isn’t the little girl who just keeps Biltmore clear of rats anymore. She’s becoming a teenager who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. It was almost depressing reading the first half of the book when Serafina was just lost and in some ways, useless. And if you didn’t think it could get anymore evil or malevolent than Uriah, well then you’d be wrong.

I had a little trouble putting all the pieces of the story together, even by the end, but I still understood enough to appreciate the brilliance of it all. I would even say that this might not be for the younger kids, just because of all the darkness! But I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Serafina and Braeden! An excellent story!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Kim was also able to attend the Launch Party for Seven Stars and meet Robert Beatty again!  

**Be sure to go to Jessica’s Reading Room on Facebook as we will be giving away some swag Kim picked up from the launch! This will only be for those of you in the USA.**

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