The Golden Prince by Rebecca Dean

Title: The Golden Prince

Author: Rebeca Dean

Publisher: Broadway Books 2010

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Rating: 2/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Read Your Shelf

It’s 1912, and seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, England’s Golden Prince of Wales, is feeling the burden of his position. As heir to the greatest throne in the world, he hates the constrictions and superficial demands of his royal life. His father, King George, is a harsh disciplinarian, and his mother, Queen Mary, is reserved and cold. Other than his siblings, he has no friends and despairs at his isolation and loneliness.

However, when unexpected circumstances bring him to Snowberry Manor, home of the four Houghton sisters, his life suddenly seems more interesting. As he secretly spends more time with Lily, the youngest of the girls, he finds himself falling hopelessly in love.

Ugh. So my overwhelming emotion while reading this book was boredom. I was completely bored. I didn’t care about any of the characters or the storyline. The constant switching between narrators annoyed me. David annoyed me. All the Houghton sisters annoyed me. I was just annoyed and bored throughout the entire book.

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

Title: The Wordy Shipmates

Author: Sarah Vowell

Publisher: Riverhead Books 2009

Genre: History

Pages: 272

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (Nonfiction Adventure); Mount TBR

To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Sarah Vowell investigates what that means-and what it should mean. What she discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoebuckles- and-corn reputation might suggest-a highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty people, whose story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance.

Finally finished this book in the early morning hours. I always love a good history book where I learn something. Thankfully Vowell dives deep into the Puritans to get a good look at the people, their lives, and their beliefs. I enjoyed reading the back and forth between John Winthrop and all of his adversaries. I knew some about Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, but this book expanded my knowledge. My only issue with the book is Vowell’s deviations into current times. Those passages felt a little too long for how short this book is overall. I wanted more time in Puritan New England and less time in the 20th century…

Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

Title: Bruning Bright

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Publisher: Plume 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 327

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Read Your Book Shelf; Popsugar – Used Book Sale

In the waning days of eighteenth-century London, poet, artist, and printer William Blake works in obscurity as England is rocked by the shock waves of the French Revolution. Next door, the Kellaway family has just moved in, and country boy Jem Kellaway strikes up a tentative friendship with street-savvy Maggie Butterfield. As their stories intertwine with Blake’s, the two children navigate the confusing and exhilarating path to adolescence, and inspire the poet to create the work that enshrined his genius.

I have enjoyed some of Chevalier’s other books, but this one ultimately fell flat. I didn’t find the characters all that interesting. The plot seemed to be nonexistent. The story just didn’t go anywhere and I was bored for most of the pages. The other real redeeming portion of the book were the sections depicting London in 1792. I found myself drawn into the city at a time of great upheaval. The writing comes alive in those passages. Otherwise I was just bored.

The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor

Title: The Very First Damned Thing (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #0.5)

Author: Jodi Taylor

Publisher: Accent Press 2015

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 74

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR

Ever wondered how it all began? It’s two years since the final victory at the Battersea Barricades. The fighting might be finished, but for Dr Bairstow, just now setting up St Mary’s, the struggle is only beginning. How will he assemble his team? From where will his funding come? How can he overcome the massed ranks of the Society for the Protection of Historical Buildings? How do stolen furniture, a practical demonstration at the Stirrup Charge at Waterloo, students’ alcohol-ridden urine, a widowed urban guerrilla, a young man wearing exciting knitwear, and four naked security guards all combine to become the St Mary’s of the future?

Loved learning how St. Mary’s was founded. We get bit of time travel adventure, a fun appearance by Max, and more importantly, introductions to most of the major players. A short short story, but definitely a good addition to the series. Now to move on to book #2 in the series.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s:

  • #0.5 The Very First Damned Thing
  • #1 Just One Damned Thing After Another
  • #2 A Symphony of Echoes
  • #2.5 When A Child is Born
  • #3 A Second Chance
  • #3.5 Roman Holiday
  • #4 A Trail Through Time
  • #4.5 Christmas Present
  • #5 No Time Like the Past
  • #6 What Could Possibly Go Wrong
  • #6.5 Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings
  • #7 Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • #7.5 The Great St. Mary’s Day Out
  • #7.6 My Name is Markham
  • #8 And the Rest is History

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Title: The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1)

Author: Terry Pratchett

Publisher: 1983

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (The Fantasy Project; Discworld); Discworld; Mount TBR

The beginning of the hilarious and irreverent series that has more than 80 million copies worldwide, The Color of Magic is where we meet tourist Twoflower and wizard guide Ricewind, and follow them on their always-bizarre journeys.

I finally finally finally started the Discworld series. J has been bugging me to start this for years now. And so, I read the first novel that published. I’ve decided to read the series in chronological order as opposed to subseries order. I really enjoyed The Colour of Magic. Rincewind is such a great character. I loved following him through parts of the Discworld encountering random side characters and going on adventures. My favorite side character is of course Death. And in my head Death sounds like Christopher Lee because Christopher Lee is Death. That simple. Beyond Rincewind, this book is really about world building. We see Pratchett give the reader hints as to other places, characters, and stories on the Discworld. I imagine some of those side characters will appear in books down the road. A very successful start to hopefully a great series.

A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron

Title: A Flaw in the Blood

Author: Stephanie Barron

Publisher: Bantam 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 289

Rating: 2/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Read Your Book Shelf; Popsugar — On my TBR for too long

The acclaimed author of the bestselling Jane Austen mysteries brings rich historical immediacy to an enthralling new suspense novel centered around Queen Victoria’s troubled court…and a secret so dangerous, it could topple thrones.

Totally struck out with this one. My first sign of trouble was that a blurb from Booklist compared it to Carlos Ruiz Zafon. His writing is gorgeous. This writing is mediocre. I didn’t get the same feel for a world as I do in Zafon’s novels. Beyond that, I hated the switching from 3rd person narration from Fitzgerald to 1st person narration from Victoria. The transitions were abrupt and very annoying. The storyline wasn’t very interesting or intriguing. I was bored with the novel. Definitely not worth my time.

The Bargain by Jane Ashford

Title: The Bargain

Author: Jane Ashford

Publisher: Sourcebooks 2014

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 416

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; New to Me

Lord Alan Gresham is the sixth son of the Duke of Langford and, as such, has been allowed to remain at Oxford to pursue his scientific studies. When the prince regent asks him to debunk the “ghost” of a dead actress haunting Carlton House, he cannot refuse, and is forced back to the Society he deplores. But upon meeting the daughter of the alleged ghost, his calm, logical investigation is disrupted.

A fun fluffy romance that turned out to be not so fun. The first 60% of the book was just fine. I enjoyed the characters and the story line. But then things started getting weird. The book tries to stick too many twists and situations into a few pages. Thoroughly disappointed in the last few pages. Really turned me off to the entire book…

Buffering by Hannah Hart

Title: Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded

Author: Hannah Hart

Publisher: Day Street Books 2016

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 272

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Popsugar – Librarian Recommendation

By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.

Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.

Picked this up before Christmas from the librarian recommendation pile. Originally the ARC was offered as free book for Labor Day. I love watching Drunk Kitchen and was very interested in learning more about her personal life. After reading, I had to take a bit of time to digest everything. Hart unpacks a ton of hard topics within a very short book. I was floored by the amount of stuff she has had to deal with in her fairly short life. Somehow Hart injects a bit of humor into these sometimes dreary stories. I feel like this book is in the vein of Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. And I absolutely loved Lawson’s book. I don’t think Hart has quite the same self-depreciating humor, but she has a few great messages through this book. A very interesting read!

The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Title: The Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

Publisher: Pottermore 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 320

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Popsugar – Multiple Authors

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

I am very conflicted about this one. I was very excited to read this as I loved the original Harry Potter series. And so I finally started reading, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Most of the storyline is just a rehashing of the original Harry Potter series. Albus is just experiencing the same angst as his father. And it’s super boring… The good parts of the play revolved around Scorpius and Draco. I would have loved to read more about their complicated relationship. I think Draco’s growth throughout the original series and beyond is fascinating. I would have loved to read that play. Unfortunately, that’s not the story we got. Therefore, I give this one 3 stars.

2017 Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

And the rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find that you’re on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are certainly welcome to upgrade.  All books counted for lower mountains carry over towards the new peak.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2017.

*You may sign up anytime from now until November 1st, 2017.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2017. No library books.

*Rereads may count only in the following circumstances: If you did not own the book when you read it long ago and far away [based on your age, you can decide what that might mean–definitely not within the last five years…my arbitrary pick for a limit] and you bought the book pre-January 1, 2017 intending to reread it now that it’s your very own.  [To clarify–the intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents {birthday, Christmas, “just because,” etc.}. Audiobooks and E-books may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books.]

*You may count any “currently reading” book that you begin prior to January 1–provided that you had 50% or more of the book left to finish when January 1 rolled around.  I will trust you all on that.

*You may count “Did Not Finish” books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, etc. OR remove it from your e-resources]. For example, my personal rule (unless it’s a very short book) is to give a book at least 100 pages. If I decide I just can’t finish it and won’t ever, then off the mountain it goes and I count it as a victory–the stack is smaller!

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance (as incentive to really get those books taken care of) or to tally them as you climb.

*There will be quarterly check-ins and prize drawings!

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog, then please post a challenge sign up and link THAT post (not your home page) into the linky below. Non-bloggers, please leave a comment declaring your challenge level–OR, if you are a member of Goodreads, I will once again put together a group for the challenge there. Feel free to sign up HERE if that’s where you want to participate. At the beginning of the year, I will update the sidebar link called Mount TBR Review Headquarters for current reviews and progress updates.

I need to move those books off my shelf! I’m going to sign up for the Mount Kilimanjaro level of 60 books.