Nightingale by Aleksandr Voinov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I struggle to know where to begin with this review. I've never read anything by Aleksandr Voinov before, but based on my experience with this novel, I'm absolutely certain that I'll read another.
I feel like this story was important, that it needed to be told. So much of it rang true that I imagine a lot of research went into writing it. I have a lot of respect for Voinov for that.
What I'm struggling with, is how to put into words how I feel about the story. There was so much that I liked and that I found necessary, and yet there were some aspects that felt slightly incomplete. I understand that the passage of time was required, but I found that time was fluid in this novel, and I couldn't quite keep track of how much time was elapsing. How long was Yves with Heinrich and Falk? We see their first romantic encounters, and then all of the sudden, months seem to have passed with very little explanation. I found this a bit frustrating, most particularly when Yves and Heinrich's relationship began to cool (because we didn't see much in the way of their intimate relationship to begin with, and I couldn't tell the difference when they'd begun to lose interest), and it suddenly felt like months or years had passed, but I had no way of knowing.
Following along the last note, I also wished that we would have seen more of Falk and Yves. I adored how they interacted, and am ultimately disappointed that I didn't get to see more of it. I realize that the romance wasn't the purpose of this novel, and that's fine, but a bit more than those few blinks of romance would have been nice.
My frustration aside, this was a brilliant novel. It was heart-wrenching and painful, but also so artfully written and romantic. It might have been fiction, but with so much fact and history put in, it really felt like it could have been real, which made it all the more painful.
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The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have qualms about this one. Chase's character wasn't entirely believable; on the one hand, he was supposed to be a heartless rake, unwilling to commit to a woman, not only because of his rakishness, but also because of his painful past. On the other hand, however, he was charming, caring, and downright wonderful with Alex and the girls, which totally undermined the other part of his character.
Now, I've read novels that only have one or two sexy scenes, but I found that the marketing with this one built up how much steam there would be "between the sheets", and it rather fell short for me. Not only that, but Chase, himself, spends so much time boasting about his prowess in bed, that I expected those scenes to be far better than they were.
Alex was a delight. She was spunky, unique, and entirely charming. I loved her backstory, and that we got to see more of her friends from Book 1 (including the wonderful Ash). I only wished that she fit better with Chase.
Lastly (for characters), the girls were adorable, and though they might have taken up a bit too much of the plot, I enjoyed the interplay between them and Alex.
I mentioned that the steam level just wasn't "as advertised" for me, but what bothered me most, I think, was that the story seemed to drag. I enjoyed the fist 1/3 of the book, and then the second 1/3 seemed to recycle the same excuses/reasons for them not to be together when they were very clearly already together. I kept waiting for something more to happen, but that seemed to wait until the very last two chapters, and by then I felt like it was too late.
I loved the first book in this series, and enjoyed Alex's parts of this book, so I fully intend to read the next in the series, with the hope that it's another enjoyable one. This book, however, just didn't quite hit the mark for me.
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It's nearly my kids' bedtime on September 3rd, and tomorrow is Part 1 of the "first day" of the big year. That doesn't really make sense, I know, but in my children's school, the kids in grades 1 through 7 start school on Tuesday after Labour Day long weekend, and the little Kindergarteners start on the Wednesday.
Well, this year is our big year. My oldest is starting his first year in the Intermediate grades (Gr. 4-7), my middle son is going into Grade 3, and my twins are headed into Kindergarten. That's right, I'm going from having two children (minimum) at home all the time to having none during school hours.
We've done the back-to-school shopping, their school supplies have been pre-ordered online since June last year, and we've done our big before-school grocery shopping trip. So, we're ready. Yes, we're ready. I'm going to have time to dedicate to work, I'll get writing done, make bath products, work on Acquisitions, and all while my kids get a great education and make friends. Ready... Ready.
Ok, you guessed it. I'm not ready. After our third pregnancy, I knew I wouldn't have any more children. We were just incredibly fortunate enough to have twins. Four babies, three pregnancies! And now, my babies are going to Kindergarten. I'm happy, truly, and I won't be a hovering parent that lingers at the window and watches them while they're trying to socialize and learn, but with every step that I take on the way home, my heart will be breaking just a little bit more.
I've been encouraging the kids, telling them how amazing it will be, but inside, I've been wanting to squeeze them extra tight. My babies are growing up. Someday, I'll blink, and they'll all be teenagers, and then they'll all be adults... But, right now, it's Kindergarten. And I'm not ready.
Award winning historical romance author, Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.