Diva (Flappers, #3)Diva by Jillian Larkin
YA Historical Fiction
Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 4 of 5 stars
Spoilers: Nope
Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book free via the publisher in exchange for this honest review.
Publisher’s Summary:
Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn’t have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she’s going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer’s dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she’s grown up a lot these past few months. She can’t bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton’s swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria’s keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . .

My Review:
I received Vixen (book 1 in the Flapper Series) a couple of years ago and LOVED it. I requested an ARC of Ingenue, book 2 in the series, and was denied. When Diva, book 3, came out, I tried again and was rewarded.

What I liked:
Even though I hadn’t read Ingenue, I knew where Vixen left off and where Diva picked up, and with the clues that Larkin sprinkled in throughout the story, I was able to fill in the story holes and not miss a beat.

Larkin does, once again, a brilliant job of making this another character driven novel. I love how the story is told from the points of view of all the main characters. Doing that really gave me a well-rounded and personal feel for each of the girls (and occasional guy), as well as a more 3-D image of the story. We’re given a view from Gloria that we would NEVER get from Clara. And the humor Lorraine provides would never be there had we only been told the story from Jerome’s point of view. You can’t help but form strong attachments to even the smaller-role characters with the way Larkin writes.

The 20’s has always been a favorite time period for me, and to have Larkin describe everything the way she does just puts me in heaven. I’d love to see this made into a movie so I could visually lust after all the gowns and shoes.

Favorite Line: It was better to risk loving too much before it was too late and all you were left with was regret. (pg 305, ebook)

What I didn’t like:
Even though I loved all the fashion talk about clothes and dresses, and I know that that was a big component of the 20’s, the name dropping got to be bit much at times.

I was a bit confused with Larkin’s dialogue tags. There would be a quote, then another person would be performing an action tagged onto someone else’s dialogue.

There were a few really good emotional scenes that really carry the momentum of the story that were interrupted with too much narrative which pulled me out and made the scene lose the impact Larkin was trying to give it. Also, there were a few high tension scenes that were just too short lived.

Overall, this is another terrific book in the Flapper Series, seamlessly knit with the first two, and an easy read. I really enjoyed reading it and will go back and pick up the second book just so I can get more of the Gloria, Clara, and Lorraine.

Happy reading, my friends!

–Rachel

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare proves there comes a point of “too many” in a series

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Clockwork Prince (Book 2, The Infernal Devices)
Cassandra Clare
YA Historical Urban Fantasy
PG
3/5 coffee beans
Spoilers: No, just strong opinions 🙂

So, this review may be a little disheartening, but I feel I have a right to write it that way since I’ve been a fan of Cassandra’s since the very beginning. I devoured the Mortal Instruments series when they first came out. Drove out in a snow storm on a Sunday to Costco so I could get the third book. I was sad when they ended, I wanted more. Then she came out with a fourth! Oh, happy day! Then I read the fourth. Meh. Then she came out with a “prequel” series, the Infernal Devices series set in Victorian England. At that point I started to groan. You can only beat a dead horse so much before it becomes a sadistic action. I feel this series is one slap with a stick too many.

But, I’m into self punishment, and I am a loyal reader, so I picked them up to give them a shot. The first book, Clockwork Angel, was actually pretty okay. Not the best, but okay. I wasn’t particularly interested in picking up the second book, this one, since I wasn’t really attached to any of the recycled characters or invested in the storyline. But, I got a Nook for Christmas and a $50 B&N gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I couldn’t think of another book to purchase (immediate gratification, people).

Right around the time CP came out; the release date for book five in TMI series was announced. Oh yeah, along with the third in the prequel series, Clockwork Princess, and oh my gosh I just looked at her website and there’s a SIXTH book in TMI series scheduled to come out and for the love of Pete can this just stop?!?!?! You can’t help but wonder, with so many LARGE books in the same series/storyline, if the integrity of the writing and the story will be compromised. I love the idea of Shadowhunters, but I’m starting to wonder if Clare’s “cast-typing” herself. Is that all she knows how to write? I guess it doesn’t really matter since she’s built a gazillion-dollar empire and a movie’s coming out soon for Book 1 in TMI – City of Bones, and people LOVE this series (for cryin’ in a bucket, the woman has FOUR –if not more—websites dedicated to the books, TMI, TID, her own, and a tumblr account, PLUS a LiveJournal account, not to mention Twitter and fb). I mean, how the heck is she keeping up with two series and all that other crap? Anyway, I’ve seem to have gone off on a tangent. Let’s get back on track, shall we?

I feel that the characters in TID are just regurgitations of her original characters from TMI with the addition of a second, possible romance and little bits to make the books fraternal in nature. But, scrape away the 1800’s British English, and the bustles and stiff clothes, and you’ve got the same blasted story. I don’t think Clare did a good job of setting up the place and time of TID for the reader. I feel that she just went to Wikipedia or some other comparable sight, read a few broad details and left it at that. She gives you those common elements in the beginning of the book, but that’s about it. Most of the time I was reading, I didn’t feel that I was there in that time period. I think she could have included a lot more unique details to make it more “there” for me. More than just a parasols and bustles and carriages. The only thing truly convincing to me was the dialogue.

So, in the end, it was just “okay.” The storyline is entirely forgettable, I’m really sad to say, because it’s too much like her other series. I could definitely live without reading the next in the series, Clockwork Princess, but unfortunately, I was so excited about my new Nook that I pre-ordered it. I need to look into B&N’s return policy.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein

Code Name Verity
By: Elizabeth E. Wein
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub Date: May 15th, 2012
Rating: PG-13 for scenes of torture
Coffee Beans: 5/5
Spoilers: No way, José!
Favorite Line: “It was cozy in perhaps the way you’d be cozy in hell.” (ebook, pg 62)“It’s like being
in love, discovering your best friend.” (ebook, pg 80)
 & “And that I don’t believe in God but if I did, if I did, It would be the God of Moses, angry and demanding and OUT FOR REVENGE,and…”(ebook, pg 318)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

Publisher’s Summary:
Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.


My Review:

really hate Microsoft Word. It randomly “stopped responding” and erased everything I wrote about this book. I’m going through breathing techniques right now, trying to resist the impulse I have to throw this computer through the back yard and into the sprinklers right now.)Let’s try this again, shall we?

There’s not much I can say about this book without giving away the plot—which I don’t want to do. This book is about the strength and love shared between best friends. About people banding together, risking everything to fight for strangers because they believe that they deserve more than what they have. It’s about the deep, deep hollow that’s created in one’s soul at the pain someone they love is suffering through.

My throat tightened, my heart ached, my fingers kept turning pages. And at the very last page, I mourned the losses and I cherished the victories and I had hope for the lives of those who survived.

This is a fictional story, but the events that happened—the war, the Holocaust, the killing, the torture, the loss of so much—that is what I mourned at the last page of the book. Because in the end, what happened between these covers is only one of a million stories or possibilities of what some of our grandparents, parents, great-grandparents lived through. And like Wein’s very last words: LEST WE FORGET.

Now, on to a more specific review. I’m not a fan of historical fiction, normally, but I decided to give this one a go (mostly because I was in an ARC requesting frenzy), and I’m so glad I did. I’m also pleased as punch that I’m reading so many good authors, as of late. Elizabeth is one of them. She is, in one word, brilliant. The story she wrote is astounding in its complexity. But you don’t realize it until the last third of the book. And here’s why:

The last third is told from someone else’s point of view.

I’ll admit, at first this really threw me for a loop. I didn’t like it. I thought it was dumb. Why the heck do I want (excuse me while I obsessively save my work in Word, lest we have another melt down), why the heck do I want to read this story from another pov? I like the one I’m in (she’s funny and snarky and very specifically random). And to be honest, I don’t like the new voice. At first. Then I fell in love.

Both parts of the narrative are distinctly different, but neither is whole without the other. You start to pick up on clues with what the first girl had to say and how it plays into what’s said in the second part. Then you start to think about the brains Wein has to construct both parts to make them independent but then a terrific mind puzzle when they’re together. So brilliant.

I won’t say anymore, sorry for the abrupt ending, but I don’t want to risk saying anything that would ruin the story. Please, I implore you, if this book sounds even remotely interesting to you, pick it up and read it. And share it with others. It’s that good.

Happy reading, my friends!

A Note on the Cover: There are two. My ARC had the two hands tied together, which is an odd cover for the type of book it is, the scene it refers to, I think was not entirely the best choice. Although it’s artistically stark, I think I might slightly prefer the second cover, although, I think the girl is supposed to be Queenie on the cover, but Queenie has straw blond hair so they got it wrong. I doubt it’s supposed to be Maddie. Anywho, which cover do you like better?