The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

July 2017 Simon & Schuster

Summary

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic-the Mageus-live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power-and often their lives.  Continue reading The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Address by Fiona Davis

2017 Penguin Random House

Summary

“When a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house the Dakota, leads to a job offer for Sara Smythe, her world is suddenly awash in possibility- no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America. The opportunity to be the female manager of the Dakota. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else…and is living in the Dakota with his wife and three young children.  Continue reading The Address by Fiona Davis

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Touchstone 2010

Summary

“Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young white Lavania arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to stradle the worlds of the kitchen and big houses, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves. 

Review

I fell deep into this page turner in the very first chapter. Well researched and beautifully written, The Kitchen House is a story of heartbreak,love, race and daily life in early America for slaves. Told through the eyes of white indentured Lavinia, and black slave Belle (who is also the daughter of the master) this book isn’t a happy one. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time overwhelmingly heart warming. The unconditional love in this story is pure.

The book is written chronologically through a matter of years, starting with Lavinia arriviving at the plantation as an indentured servant under the care of Belle, a young woman herself.  You feel the innocence of Lavinia as she loves and longs for her new family, with total color blindness, while being reminded even as a child by the master’s family of her different place even as a servant herself.

As she grows, this naivety becomes a problem. Even as well intentioned as she is, her lack of understanding of race becomes a major issue, even with potential harm for those she loves the most.

Through Belle (whose POV I wish there was more of) we learn the terrible consequences of a lie, and how one lie can do more damage than the hurtful truth would. She’s a strong woman and proud of who she is, and her character and story is my personal favorite.

Grissom’s research served this book well. The truth is the truth, as ugly as it may be-historical fiction is one of the best outlets for truth telling. Indentured servitude and slavery is not the same. Nor was the treatment of white indentured servants and black slaves. In history there have been Prince’s, well educated, and very wealthy men and women who were sold into slavery and treated in the most inhumane, immoral ways with zero decency; whereas a poor white indentured servant was given the very basics of moral decency and dignity with opportunities even the Prince slave was not.

I had no love in this story for the master and his family, even the characters that treated the slaves well. The family of The Kitchen House is the foundation of this book. You’ll laugh and cry and most importantly, the love they share is the very definition of unconditional.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jessica

 

 

A Never-ending Wish List

If you’re anything like me, I’m continually adding titles to my TBR wishlist. In an almost obsessive compulsive manner, constantly looking for the good reads that I may be missing out on! Being an avid non-fiction reader, I consciously try to read as much non as I do fiction.

Reading fiction is fun, I can personally zip through a fiction title in a couple days. Non-fiction though is a different experience for me. It’s not always enjoyable, sometimes frustrating and upsetting (the non I read is political and historical) and often takes me longer than a week to push through to the last page. I consider reading non-fiction essential. A continuation of self-education, and there’s always more to learn! Continue reading A Never-ending Wish List

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Published May 7, 2013 Disney-Hyperion 

Summary

“On October 11, 1943, a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. It’s pilot and passenger are best friends. But just one of the girls has a chance at survival. Arrested by the Gestapo, “Verity” is given a choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. They’ll get the truth out of her. Only, it won’t be what they expect.”

Review

Firstly, let me start by recommending that if you’re interested in this book, I suggest only reading the vague summary (above) that is from the book itself. You may want more detail, but the detail is in the book my dear! Seriously,  it’s hard to discuss Code Name Verity without spoiling the book. The publisher (or whomever wrote the summary) must have thought the same thing, because the summary is one of the shorter I’ve seen. Continue reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Published July 25, 2017 Gallery/Scout Press

Summary

“On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Saltan along a tidal estuary known as the Reach.  Before she can stop him, her dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister.  Continue reading The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Published June 6, 2017 Harper

Summary

“When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleeping English villages. A homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s transitional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Continue reading Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Bargain Books, the best books?

If you haven’t first looked at bookoutlet.com for a previously published title, you are seriously missing out on some major savings!

I was turned on to Book Outlet by a fellow book lover, Emily Fox (check her out on Booktube.) For $35.00 USD you get free shipping,  so it’s justifiable to spend that $35.00! My last two purchases were both right at that dollar amount and I received 14 books I have been wanting for awhile, and a couple new to me. All of my books were in excellent shape, practically brand new condition. They do mark their titles as the following so you know what you’re purchasing (“B” Bargain “A” Autographed” and “S” Scratch and dent.) Continue reading Bargain Books, the best books?

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Published May 23, 2017 HarperCollins

Summary

“The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate Americas western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. in much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.  Continue reading Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Defying Hitler by Sabastian Haffner

Published 1999 Picador

Summary 

“Written in 1939 and unpublished until 2000, Sabastion Haffner’s memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany offers a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German citizens between the wars. Covering 1907 to 1933, his astute and compelling eyewitness accounts provide a portrait of a country in constant flux; from the pervasive influence of the Free Corps, the precursor to the Nazi storm troopers, and the Hitler Youth movement that swept the nation, to his own family’s financial struggles during the apocalyptic year of 1923 when inflation crippled the country and contributed to Hitler’s rise to power.” Continue reading Defying Hitler by Sabastian Haffner