Review of ‘Seeking Mansfield’ by Kate Watson

Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield, #1)Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute, modern-day take on Mansfield Park, Jane Austen‘s classic novel of one girl’s struggles in dealing with the rich, who may or may not have her best interests at heart.

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In Seeking Mansfield, Finley Price (the modern-day counterpart of the original Fanny Price) is satisfied with her life. She lives in Chicago with the Bertrams, who had taken her when she was younger, because of some horrible, past experiences. Finley, though, manages to occupy her time by working on whatever may help her attain her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater, and all with the help of her best friend, Oliver Bertram (Edmund).
But then comes the arrival of Emma and Harlan Crawford (Mary and Henry Crawford), famous teen movie stars, and the Bertram’s new next-door neighbors. With their arrival comes the beginnings of new relationships – like that of Oliver and Emma, and Harlan and Juliette Bertram (Maria Bertram).
While this all puts a strain on Finley’s friendship with Oliver, his and Emma’s relationship only seems to be growing for the better.
But then there’s the matter of Harlan and Juliette. It doesn’t take long for his attention to turn to the quiet Finely, who is not at all interested in him, and he decides to challenge himself being having her fall in love with him. Of course, with her continued disinterest in him, he ends up falling in love with her for real, and does manage to eventually win her over.
As time goes on, Finley’s relationship with Harlan reveals part of him that Finley finds herself uncomfortable with, thus leading her to wonder if maybe he’s not the right one for her…no, that person just might be closer to home.
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Though Mansfield Park is not the most popular of Austen’s books, I always held a special place in my heart for Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram, both the bearers of quiet, kind, and caring demeanors.

But when it comes to Finely and Oliver being their modern-day counterparts…I had a bit of a hard time with them.
I liked Finely, since she seemed to play her role as the virtuous, sensible heroine well enough; but when it comes to Oliver…I just couldn’t find myself liking him all that much. Honestly, he is very similarly written to Edmund, that it stands to reason, if I liked Edmund, I’d like Oliver, right?

Nope.

Somehow, Edmund’s traits didn’t seem to translate well in this modern representation of him. While Edmund’s romance seemed so innocent and sweet, Oliver’s romance with Emma just seemed to come across as a lustful teenager, who never really seemed to see Emma and her annoying, shallow nature.

If you hadn’t already figured, I wasn’t a fan of Emma, nor Harlan, and nothing the two did could change my mind.

Actually, I’ll admit that I disliked most of the characters in this book, but that could really just be a testament to to how well Kate Watson has written them, so that they really invoke the mannerisms of a snobbish upper caste. So in that sense, they’re written so well, that I really disliked them.

I’ll say that I did like the idea of Finley’s parentage being written differently than that of Fanny’s, and felt it did give the story some added intensity that did make for a more interesting turn of events when they were drawn upon.

Finally – super late, I know – I figure I should say that if you’ve never read Mansfield Park, then you might really like this book and all of it’s cute, romantic feelings. You’d also be able to look at this with fresh eyes. In my case, I had read the original, so I couldn’t help but do a lot of comparing, which didn’t really work out in this books favor, in my case.

In conclusion, though this wasn’t exactly my favorite book, I won’t not recommend it, because as I’d previously said, this is a cute book, so you just might ending up liking it more than I did.

Thank you to Flux via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)’ by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful wording and lovely imagery both show that Laini Taylor knew just how to engage this reader!

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In the Kingdom of Zosma lives a boy named Lazlo Strange. A war orphan, Strange is not only the predicament he was found in as a baby, but the name given to label the orphan children without names of their own.

Since he was five years old, Lazlo has been obsessed with stories about Weep, lost city or myth, depending on who you asked. But it’s while he is on the path to becoming a full-fledged librarian, that Eril-Fane, the legendary Godslayer of Weep, arrives with his band of warriors to Zosma, and Lazlo is given the opportunity to go to Weep.

In Weep, new mysteries abound for Lazlo, as well as strange dreams. Dreams that feature a lovely, blue-skinned goddess…but in a city where gods and goddesses should no longer exist–hence the title ‘Godslayer’–why is Lazlo dreaming of one, and why does she seem so real?

Lazlo is determined to find answers, but when he does, will they be too shocking to accept?
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I have only read one other Laini Taylor book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone–though I will likely have to reread it because I just can’t remember anything about it–but I have the feeling that I will not be forgetting Strange the Dreamer though, because I couldn’t help but be fascinated by Taylor’s writing, it’s beautiful, and not in a way that felt at all pretentious to me.

I’ll admit that in the beginning (for maybe a good 25% of this book), I wasn’t quite sure what exactly was going on, because all of the beautiful, complex writing went right over my head (the reason I also had to dock a star), but I kept on with it, and ending up loving this book!

The characters were all so interesting, and I really enjoyed delving more deeply into their lives. Lazlo, of course, was by far the most interesting of all, and I found myself very intrigued by the mysteries that surrounded him. Like, where did he come from? Who were his parents? How did he become an orphan, and why is Weep so important to him?
I wish I could say more, but I really don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that I can’t wait to learn more about him!!

I won’t go at all into the subject of the blue-skinned goddess, instead choosing to raise your curiosity for this book, though the goddess does prove to be pivotal to the story, and another aspect I’d love to learn more about.

Finally, Weep itself, was interesting as well. The mystery behind its disappearance from the rest of the world, leading to its essentially becoming forgotten, is definitely a key plot point, and I seriously cannot wait for the next book!!!

I feel like I can go on and on, gushing about this book, but I think by now it’s pretty obvious I loved it!

So on that note, I will end this review with this little bit that I absolutely loved from this book:


‘And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.’

Yes, I totally recommend this book!!!

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Review of ‘Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands, #2)’ by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As if this series couldn’t get any more thrilling; somehow Traitor to the Throne manages to do so!

(Not the most detailed synopsis, for fear of book 1 spoilers.)
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In book 2, Amani is kidnapped and brought to the Sultan’s place, where she ends up having to play the part of a regular girl in an effort to survive.
It’s while she’s in the palace that she realizes she has an advantage the others in the rebellion do not-the opportunity to spy on the sultan and relay her findings. But of course, nothing ever is quite that simple, so Amani will have to use her desert-smart instincts in order to keep one step ahead and make sure the rebellion is able to continue their fight.
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Okay, so I’ll admit that my interest did start to lag about a quarter of the way through this book. It was starting to feel a bit Throne of Glass-like, what with Amani being a somewhat privileged captive in the Sultan’s place making me think of Celaena and her time in the King’s castle. In both cases, the girls are given fantastic clothing to wear, and they both pretty much contribute nothing really substantial to their stories…bor-ing.

But the good thing is that this book did pick up, and boy did it!!

Along those lines of the book picking up: I have to add that there tends to be more than a few of those moments where you really do feel frustrated with all the horrible things that seem to be happening to Amani and the rebellion…but then they do make for a much more interesting story, and that definitely helps the book progress.

We also have the introduction of new characters with some being more interesting than others-like Sam and his playboy charm-and leading to some new plot points as well. Of course, once I got over the initial idea that Amani herself was starting to get boring, I fell in love with her all over again!

I will say that the romance aspect in this book is actually pretty minimal, but that’s all I’m going to give you; you’ll just have to read this book to find out why.

So, hopefully my review didn’t end up confusing you in the end, I just really didn’t want to give anything away. I really loved this book and can’t wait for the conclusion to this story in book 3, cause seriously, the cliffhanger on this one??? Ahhhh!!!

Do I recommend this? Can it be any more obvious???

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