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The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

The Gilded King promo slide(1)

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Gilded kingTitle: The Gilded King
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Series: Book 01 of the Sovereign Series
Publish Date: Expected Publication June25, 2018
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Provided by Author

Publisher’s DescriptionIn the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.


Luna Lovebooks says… Luna_Lovebooks_100

‘Of course. You want to hear the fairytale, don’t you?’

Ms. Jaffrey quickly became one of my favorite authors when I read her Solis Invicti Series. I, of course, jumped at the chance when she asked me if I would be interested in reading the first book in a new series set in the same world, where the events of the Solis Invicti are mere legends and fairy tales. Hey, all fairy tales have a seed of truth right?

Two stories are brilliantly melded into one without shortchanging the other. We read of Julia in the Blue. A world of humans ruled by Nobility in the last city on Earth. Julia is well written in her struggle to keep with the status quo but also her wonder at what really lies beyond the walls of the Blue. This internal battle continues even after she is assigned to be an Attendant for a young Silver named Lucas, who also questions their world.

But we also get to catch up with an old acquaintance, Cam, in the Red – a wasteland filled with death (or so the humans of the Blue believe). Cam searches for Emmy and it is through this search that we learn about the events that happened in between the two series. We also learn that the Red really is a dangerous place as the monsters of the previous series have grown in numbers – but for a horrifying reason.

This tale is told through Julia and Cam’s alternating point of views and when the Red starts to bleed into the Blue and world collide, it is explosive. We get both Cam and Julia’s emotions and insecurities and hopes and maybe even budding romances.

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Characters and world are both well written. The only issue I had is that while these are two separate stories, I feel like you really should read the Solis Invicti series before this one. It is not necessary, but I feel like you will get more out of the secondary characters if you have their background and the history behind the fairy tale. Overall I enjoyed this promising new start but I didn’t devour it the way I did the prequel series. I give it 4 silver studs.

Other recommendations…

Solis Invicti Series by Josie Jaffrey, The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Secret Keepers Series by Jaymin Eve

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Lady in Waiting by Marie Tremayne

It takes some major backbone to go from rich and privileged to below stairs laborer, but Clara is doing it. She has to get away from a man who she was promised to wed because he is brutal and gets his jollies from beating women.

Title: Lady in Waiting
Author: Marie Tremayne
Series: Reluctant Brides #1
Publish Date: March 13, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Publisher’s Description: When her father arranges her marriage to a titled but brutal lord, young heiress Clara Mayfield escapes by slipping away under the cover of darkness, finding work as a domestic servant in a grand country manor, the last place anyone would ever think to search for her. But her safety depends on hiding her true identity from both the staff and her intriguing new employer, the Earl of Ashworth.

William, Lord Ashworth is no stranger to tragedy. His father and older brother’s deaths placed the weight of an earldom squarely on his shoulders, and now he must seek an eligible bride from the ton in order to produce an heir. But when a beguiling new housemaid arrives at his estate, he can’t dismiss his fascination with this woman whose eyes hold secrets…and desire.

As Clara weighs the need for secrecy against her growing feelings for the Earl, she finds herself losing a man who was never hers to love in the first place. And when circumstances beyond his control rip the lovely servant from the safety of his estate, the Earl of Ashworth is forced to make a choice that could forever shake his family name.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In some cases…spoilers. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

It’s a different world back then. Women didn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, which is unfortunate, because smart women being ignored is just plain stupid. Anyway, this book does have a bit of brutality, but nothing gory. There is a happy ending, but it took a lot of work to get there for both the hero and heroine.

This was not a fluffy book – it was more than fainting couch kind of fluff. It had meat to it and a strong woman to guide the story. Clara has to change her name and do work that she had never done before, work that she does not have the skill to do but she put her whole might into her cause and did what she had to do.

Marie Tremayne released this book on March 13, 2018. It’s her first book and it’s backed by Avon books. I got to see and meet Marie Tremayne in Kansas City at KissCon. She was an elegant lady with a sense of humor that was sharp. Even though this is her first book, it does not mean that it needs polish or that it’s lacking in anyway. It was well written and the style fit with the lady herself.

 

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Origin by Dan Brown

Title: Origin
Author: Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon, #5
Publish Date: October 3, 2017 by Doubleday Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Library

Publisher’s Description: Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself… and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery… and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

I had quite given up on Dan Brown books after not enjoying The Lost Symbol. In fact, I never even read Inferno, but for some reason, I picked up Origin, probably because the cover had a chambered nautilus on it.

It turns out that’s fitting because, in my opinion, it was the best thing about the book. Not only did the nautilus represent a specific piece of artwork in the Guggenheim museum in Barcelona, Spain, but also the golden ration and the idea of infinite love and the perfection of the universe.

I know, that’s deep, but I think that is what Dan Brown has done with this book. It didn’t feel like an action thriller in the same way that DaVinci Code and Digital Fortress did. It was more like Brown’s commentary on religion versus science. Dan Brown is obviously on the side of science, but very strongly included in that is Love. One of the beautiful quotes in the book is a prayer that the character Edmond Kirsch wrote:

May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies.
May our compassion keep pace with our powers.
And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.

I  like that Robert Langdon is starting to show his age and had a harder time keeping up with the “damsel in distress,” Ambra Vidal, who is a decade or two his junior. There were some very tender moments when Langdon feels a closeness to Vidal that is more fatherly than romantic. That’s a nice change from the typical action hero lover persona that is a part of so many thrillers today. In fact, Ambra Vidal even says to herself towards the end of the story,

“[She] suddenly understood what Edmond had been saying about the energy of love and light… blossoming outward infinitely to fill the universe. Love is not a finite emotion. We don’t have only so much to share. Our hearts create love as we need it… Love truly is not a finite emotion. It can be generated spontaneously out of nothing at all.”

I give this book 4 stars because Dan Brown found a way to use an action-packed thriller to convey the message that Love is Universal. I also really enjoyed learning more about the art and architecture in Spain. I found myself looking things up on the internet and trying to see pictures of these amazing buildings and works of art. I hope the publishers create an edition that has hyperlinks or references or color illustrations like they did with DaVinci Code.

Other recommendations…

If you liked this book, you might try any other book by Dan Brown, The Art Forger by BA Shapiro, The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor, or Guernica by Dave Boling.

As Good As True by Cheryl Reid

A powerful and haunting novel of a woman’s broken past and the painful choices she must make to keep her family and her home.

Title: As Good As True
Author: Cheryl Reid
Publish Date: February 1, 2018, Lake Union
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: August 1956. After a night of rage and terror, Anna Nassad wakes to find her abusive husband dead and instinctively hides her bruises and her relief. As the daughter of Syrian immigrants living in segregated Alabama, Anna has never belonged, and now her world is about to erupt.

Days before, Anna set in motion an explosive chain of events by allowing the first black postman to deliver the mail to her house. But it’s her impulsive act of inviting him inside for a glass of water that raises doubts about Anna’s role in her husband’s death.

As threats and suspicions arise in the angry community, Anna must confront her secrets in the face of devastating turmoil and reconcile her anguished relationship with her daughter. Will she discover the strength to fight for those she loves most, even if it means losing all she’s ever known?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

I enjoyed this story since it offered a glimpse into a little-known part of US history. I’ve never thought about how Arab immigrants would have fit into the Jim Crow South and the unique struggles the families would have as to their status in society.

I was drawn to the main character, Anna, who struggled with being different her whole life. I also thought the author did a great job explaining what caused Anna to make certain choices and why those choices had so much impact on those around her. The loss of her mother at an early age affected Anna and created far-reaching implications that will still be felt in the generations yet to be born.

I give this book 4 stars. I wanted to give it 5 stars, but there were just a few editing errors that were noticeable enough to cause me to “fall out of the story” and take notice, but not enough to keep me from recommending it to others.

Other recommendations…

If you liked this book, I recommend The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal, or Mudbound by Hilary Jordan.

Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

In the company of Station Eleven and California, Marrow Island uses two tense natural disasters to ask tough questions about our choices—large and small.

Title: Marrow Island
Author: Alexis M. Smith
Publish Date: June 7, 2016, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Source: Library

Publisher’s Description: Twenty years ago Lucie Bowen left Marrow Island; along with her mother, she fled the aftermath of an earthquake that compromised the local refinery, killing her father and ravaging the island’s environment. Now, Lucie’s childhood friend Kate is living within a mysterious group called Marrow Colony—a community that claims to be “ministering to the Earth.” There have been remarkable changes to the land at the colony’s homestead. Lucie’s experience as a journalist tells her there’s more to the Colony—and their charismatic leader– than they want her to know, and that the astonishing success of their environmental remediation has come at great cost to the Colonists themselves. As she uncovers their secrets and methods, will Lucie endanger more than their mission? What price will she pay for the truth?

In the company of Station Eleven and California, Marrow Island uses two tense natural disasters to ask tough questions about our choices—large and small. A second novel from a bookseller whose sleeper-hit debut was praised by Karen Russell as “haunted, joyful, beautiful….” it promises to capture and captivate new readers even as it thrills her many existing fans.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

What an interesting and thought provoking-book this was. I really enjoyed the story, and the main character, Lucie, was fascinating. I can’t quite give this book 5 stars because the ending left me unsatisfied. Since I finished the book right after watching the movie Beatriz at Dinner, I was doubly unsatisfied. Both left you wondering, “Well, now what?”

Marrow Island does, however, have many deep themes to explore. I particularly like the book’s environmental emphasis and the mystery that surrounds what happened to the main character. More importantly, I like the exploration of the nature of relationships with childhood friends and relationships one forms as an adult. I was drawn in by the friendship of Lucie and Katie. I particularly like the author’s explanation, in the Q & A at the end of the book, that the relationship between the two of them was to be visceral, murky, and a little bit twisted. There’s no doubt that the relationship is exactly that. I also like the tension Smith is able to create toward the end of the book, as the reader is drawn into Lucie’s ability to rationalize making such a poor decision as to return to an area that is under threat of a wildfire just to prove to herself that she’s not going crazy.

The author writes incredibly well and is able to create such vivid images. A simple example is when Lucie visits a care facility, and the highly polished floors make it difficult for the residents to move quickly. Lucie thinks, “I wonder if this is another trap, like the shiny floors, intended to steal a few minutes here and there from life by slowing a body down.”

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to book groups since there is so much to discuss.

Other recommendations…

If you liked this book, you might also enjoy: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, or Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian.

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