Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Title: Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Author: Jamie Ford
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Ballantine Books (September 12, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy "to a good home."

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion--in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

Ford's debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of my absolute favorite reads, not only of the year I read it but one I still think about and consider in my top reads of all time, so it was no wonder how crazy excited I got when I saw he had another release coming out and in the same vein as his first. I don't think I've ever hit a request button so quickly as I did for it. In fact I stalked Netgalley until it was available because I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I knew it was going to be something special, something emotional and something so worth my time and all the feels I would go through while experiencing it. 

Ford knows how to weave a tale riddled with history and heartbreak, hope, and love unlike any other author out there. He truly is a master at what he does. It isn't often that one can make you crave history, romance, and a happily ever after, along with struggling and feeling right along with the characters. To be both sad and happy at once, along with heartbroken and angry for everything we put one another through as a people and as a country and as a nation. 

His words are powerful in every way imaginable and it is so incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the story and the characters themselves until you are completely consumed by them and want nothing more than to see how it will all come together and wishing like crazy that there will be a happily ever after when all is said and done. 

This story moved me. It touched my heart and rocked my world. The characters, the setting, the circumstances. I couldn't have asked for a more heart felt, emotional read. I loved every single minute of it and I didn't want it to end but at the same time, was eager to see how it would.

Once again Ford has exceeded all my expectations and once again touched my heart and soul with his beautifully written stories and unforgettable characters. This story will forever live on in my thoughts and memories. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher, I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Conspiracy in Belgravia
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: Book Two in the Lady Sherlock Series
Published By: Penguin (September 5, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Mystery
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body that surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London? 

It was so much fun diving back into the atmospheric and mysterious Victorian London world that Thomas has created in her Lady Sherlock series. Once again Charlotte and her friends were a treat to see and conspire with. As a mystery always rich in detail and curiosity slowly unfolds as Charlotte puts her deductive talents into play and figures it all out before anyone else and before the danger becomes too great to those she knows and loves. And she does it all while trying to keep it a secret as much as possible from those who don't know that the famous Sherlock Holmes, is none other than Charlotte herself. 

Set in a time and place that women were suppose to be almost anything other than clever and ambitious, I love that Charlotte doesn't turn away from the challenge to shock those around her and stand tall and true to who she is with little thought to what society will think about it. 

This book, this series, has some of the most romantic lines that never were. Lines that are thought but never spoken out loud. Truly swoon worthy and in large part other than the whole this book rocks all by itself already thing, it is one of the main reasons I keep coming back time and again to Ms. Thomas' writing. It is just so well written and so beautiful in both mystery and prose and the tragic love story that might never be. 

I devoured this in a night and was sad that I didn't take longer with it. I wanted to both savor and eat it up. I sincerely hope the next book will be here before I know it. I just can't get enough of this series, rich with a mystery that keeps me on my toes and characters that are every bit as fun and intriguing as the story line itself. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*