This Week's Recap and Next Week's Goals

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I started a new shift at work this week and while getting used to the transition I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked to. I read from

On Leaving Charleston by Alexandra Ripley, which is a re-read for me,
as my main read.
I also read from Stealing Home by Sheryl Woods on my e-reader at night before sleeping.

Next week my goals are to finish and On Leaving Charleston and begin and finish

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
and at least start Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

What I Bought This Week:
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Sever by Lauren DeStefano
Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck
While It Lasts by Abbi Glines
Because of Low by Abbi Glines

I have linked this post to:
Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews
The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Review: I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe
Series: The Prince Catchers #1
Published by Avon Romance
Format: eBook
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance

Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?
On the way to marry a prince in a castle, a lady should never:
1. Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain,2. Let him kiss her senseless on a beach,3. Battle thieves at his side,and4. Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.
But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no typical ship captain. He’s the new Duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job . . . and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess.
What a fun adventure of a book! We begin this series with the three sisters as young girls visiting fortune-telling gypsy. They are hoping to get some clues about their parents and the strange ring that their mother left with before sending them off. The gypsy claims the ring belongs a prince and that he would have their answers.

I Married the Duke revolves around middle-sister, Arabella. It seems to me that she is the fierce, spunky one of the three. Arabella is a governess and finds herself employed with all of the "best" families in hopes she will get their daughters married off to the best prospects available. We meet her as she is trying to get passage onto a ship that will take her to the prince she is dreaming of marrying: the one who will have her answers! Little does she know what this ship is captained by a handsome duke and her life-plan is about to drastically change.

This story is full of twists. A few things happened (which I won't spoil) that found me saying, "what, really?" and then I'd finally understand just for another twist to occur. By the last four chapters I was completely enraptured and flying through the pages to see how this would all end. The whole thing, in my opinion, reads almost like a mystery and there are may climatic scenes as different characters get themselves into and out off some pretty tight spots.

The undertones and the story-line had a pretty serious undertone to me. This wasn't all balls and gossip and sewing circle. We get a lot of deep subject matters, which I totally wasn't expecting, but it really worked out and added a new level to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this one and will be continuing on with the series. The next book features Ravenna, and from what I have seen from her in I Married the Duke, I think I am going to really like her. I am very curious about these girls' history and what happened to them as children.

Review: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Series: Stand-Alone
Published by Viking
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Tudors
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for? 
This book was so good! I flew through it!

Here we have the the story of Mary Howard who finds herself married to Henry Fitzroy at the young age of fourteen. They barely even know each other and haven't even seen each other since they were (even younger) children. Even after the marriage ceremony, they barely come into contact with each other and Mary is left wondering what it's like to be in love and even what it is like to be kissed.

Eventually, however, these two do get to have various encounters. These meetings are very important in that they do get the opportunity to get to know each other and eventually, truly, fall in love.

I really liked Mary from the very beginning and I really wanted her to be happy. I had no prior knowledge of her or Fitz so I had no idea what to expect from their story. I was nervous, however, that Fitz would be too much like his father and that this wouldn't be much of the love story that I was hoping for Mary. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. Fitz was a great guy and totally sweet and loyal to Mary, just as she deserved.

So I totally love this period in history. I am enthralled by the Tudors, the Boelyns, the Howards, all of it. I completely at this story up and it was very satisfying. Longshore does a wonderful job in giving details of court-life and letting us feel as though we are right in the midst of it. We actually get to see a lot of the Henry/Anne drama which I enjoyed, but it didn't revolve around them, so if your tired of their story, you can still easily enjoy this one.

The length of this book worried me at first, but I like I said before, I flew through it. The story is broken up into pretty short and quick chapters that all tell a different scene and different days which keeps the pace going quickly and leaving no dull moments. Longshore also does a excellent job in helping the reader keep the many characters and events straight, which I appreciated.

The first half of the novel focuses on Mary and her friendship with Marge and Margaret, which was interesting, but I was really anticipating some Fitz scenes, which finally came in the second half. I liked all of the characters though and their little group of the three girls, Fitz, and Hal. We truly get to know all of these friends and its fun to read the scenes with all of them together.  My favorite part of the novel was watching Mary go from a young girl who thinks she is "just a Howard" to a young woman who knows that she is her own person and can't be defined by her parents, her title, or the king.

The only thing holding me back from giving Brazen a full five stars is that it didn't quite produce full emotions in me. There were scenes that should have had me crying, or at least choked up and reallyfeeling but I didn't quite get to that point. I wasn't 100% invested in the love story or the characters like usually am with my five star books.

This book definitely satisfied my craving for some Tudor fiction and I will be eagerly awaiting some time to read Gilt and Tarnish. 

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Dutton
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

I have to say, as much as I liked the other two books, this is by far my favorite of the three. I honestly had an actual smile plastered on my face during 80% of this story! Definitely worth the wait.

One of the reasons I connected to this book a little more than the other two was the main character, Isla. I saw more of myself at that age in Isla then I did with Anna or Lola which made me able to understand Isla's motivations and emotions. I loved being able to experience the magic of falling in love for the first time with Isla.

The story starts out on a rainy night in Manhattan. Under the influence of some meds from her recent wisdom teeth removal, Isla gets the courage to speak to her long-time crush, Josh, when she sees him sitting alone in a restaurant. They talk for awhile and he ends of drawing her and then taking her home because she's a little too loopy to get there herself. They don't see each other again until school starts back up in Paris.

Eek, I loved the descriptions of Paris. And Barcelona. And even Manhattan. Isla and Josh were just a freakin' amazing couple! They balanced each other out so well and they really needed each other. Isla was too used to only have her one friend, Kurt, and Josh was alone from all of his friends graduating already and they found each other at the perfect time. Josh with his entire future planned out gave Isla, who had no clue how where her future was leading,  that little push out of her shell.

I am having a hard time writing this review, because really, all I can say is that it's beyond adorable. I read this book in pretty much one sitting and it just made me so happy. I immediately had to run and give my fiance a huge hug after the last page because I remember when that was us. So, you know, this was pretty much a perfect book for me. In my opinion, no flaws. Loved it from first page to last. From the crush, to the falling in love, to the challenges and the character growth, it all made my heart swell with the goodness.

Friday Favorites 1.2.2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

In keeping with the blog name, beaute et les livre, on Fridays I will be sharing my favorite things of the week from beauty products, to clothes, to books. 

First up is this beautiful Susannah Large Quilted-Leather Tote I snagged, at a great price, from Michael Kors the day after Christmas. FedEx says it should be delivered sometime today and I am being very inpatient about it!

These pretty things where my very first purchase of the new year! What a great way to start it out right? Because, btw, DSW is currently having a clearance sale! Oh, and look how fantastic those black ones will look with the purse!

I love me some Urban Decay make-up. (And Tarte even more!) But this Naked on the Run palette is ah-maz-ing! Everything you need in one little portable set. My only complaint is the lack of brushes! Those need to be packed separately.

And finally, this shirt from, uhm, because CATS. What else could be more perfect than this!

Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Title: The Body Electric
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Scripturient Books, October 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…
Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?
Characters (2/5)
Okay, honestly, I just finished this book two days ago and I already forgot the main characters name. I had to go back up to the summary to figure it out. Ella Shepard. A good character. I didn't get annoyed by her, but I didn't want to be friends with her either. Completely forgettable, apparently.

Then we have Jack. The love interest. Not on my book boyfriend list. I mean, he is nice and all... but... not making me swoon.

All of the other characters sort of come and go. They make appearances in a few paragraphs every so often. Not enough to really connect with or stand out.

Plot: (5/5)
It's the plot and the world-building where this books truly shines. This story is such a roller-coaster; twists and turns like crazy. I thought one thing then something else would happen, then another thing, then another thing. And that's so vague, but hey, I don't want to spoil the magic for anyone else. We started on the first page in one place and ended somewhere completely freakin' different, but in a wonderful way.

Romance: (2/5)
There were a few scattered, sweet, moments but really the romance was pretty non-existent. This could have been the intention, not meant to be a love story, but the reason romance is part of my rating scale is because it's my favorite thing in books!

Writing: (5/5)
Beautiful, as always, just like with Across the Universe (which I loved so much, btw). The way she builds this world for us, omg. And the small references to the Godspeed, eek! Love! This fantastic writing really shone through in the descriptions of the hallucinations and the dreams (reveries). I was truly sucked in and blown away during those scenes.

Overall Feels: (3/5)
There where those moments (like stated above) that had me wide-eyed and flying through pages, but there was also about a week and a half where I didn't pick up this book at all. (In favor of a more romance heavy novel!) I think I was really hoping for another Across the Universe and this just wasn't quite that for me.

The total averages out to 3.4 which I will round to Three Stars for The Body Electric.