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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: "Strands of Bronze and Gold" by Jane Nickerson


Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Author: Jane Nickerson

Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling

Publication: March 12, 2013

Pages: 352


The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

Auggie's Review

Readable/Nothing Special
Wasn't impressed with this one. Writing not bad at all, but the story was BLAH and I felt nothing for the main character. With the lack of magic/fate themes and a tilt more towards historical realism it makes zero sense that Bluebeard would actively devote himself to an infant her entire life (before he went batshit crazy) just so he'd have a backup marriage plan IN CASE he DID perchance become a delusional, emotionally dysfunctional serial killer and lose all 4 previous red-headed wives to his psychotic proclivities. Because who doesn't prepare for that possibility in life?

In this particular telling, Bluebeard is suffering from some unidentified emotional malfunction which could probably be properly diagnosed and medicated today, but back in the 1800s was just "peculiar male behavior" that could be controlled by a doting and clever wifey. Interesting concept. Downside? Random ghosts. Ghosts of ex wives who appear occasionally but don't actually do anything to help. They're just around to alert Sophie that something is wrong. I feel like the ghosts could have been left out since there were no other solid paranormal/supernatural elements available in the story.

The author tried to light Bluebeard's behavior as erratic and unpredictable so that it would be harder for Sophie (and the reader) to decipher whether he was a "Beast" or a "hurt child", but it was pretty clear that he was 99% of the time a raging beasty lunatic and only %1 of the time a semi-functioning person with the clarity to behave with some human decency. In general I think the idea was for the reader to feel unsure about Bluebeard... to maybe even feel some sort of sympathy for him because of his obvious disorder. Nope. No sympathy here. That man is cray cray, and it's obvious from the second we find out he's been doting on a little girl from a distance since she was 5 so he could turn her into the "perfect woman" just because he hair was red.

And of course Bluebeard had to be DEVASTATINGLY handsome or his sexually aggressive nature wouldn't fly. Sophie also had to be completely demure and decidedly prudish or she would have ended up in the sack with him on account of his pretty face and THEN where would the story be? Probably not in YA.

Sophie would have surely ran away screaming from that abbey the first night if Bluebeard had been an "average looking" sexually aggressive and emotionally unstable 40 year old man. But nope... his face is really nice, so that makes up for his really odd, suspicious, and crappy behavior the first half of the book.

In general I think there was a good idea here, and the writing was great, but the story itself fell too flat for various reasons, including underdeveloped sub-plots (The underground railroad idea was awesome. Wanted more of that).

All of the secondary characters were way more loveable and interesting that the main ones. I wish they would have had more page time.

Not a trash book by any means, just not a personal favorite.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Month in Review: July 2015

It's August! Only 2 months to go until Halloween! Okay... let me prioritize. Only 1 month and 24 days until I marry my best friend! A whole 15 years after our first introduction! Wee!

July was an okay reading month for me, though the last week I totally slacked off. I'm behind my reading goal but BOUT OF BOOKS 14 is happening August 17-23rd and I just recently checked out like 8 old-skool "Fear Street" books, so things are looking hopeful!

Tori TOTALLY DESTROYED this month! She is kicking my butt in our book goals!

Anyway, here is our JULY 2015 MONTH IN REVIEW and a look ahead to what you can expect to see in August!

If you're anxious to see more reviews be sure to visit our Goodreads Pages. The reviews generally find their way there first.

Don't be shy to add us as friends! Book friends are the best type of friends. *sappy hearts*

July Reviews!

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly 24873066 22608277

Books Read In July

Auggie's Books: 

6491459 24885765 24376529 17185496

Auggie's Comments: I read kind of all over the place in July. Tried to stick to my ARC copy list for the most part and started so many other books without finishing. Not DNFs, necessarily, I just got distracted by other reads. It happens! But that means I've only got half way to go on a bunch of other books this month.

Tori's Books

1140602 30228 121927 30225 2149535
5215879 6726595 7121598  18045624 20980781 15764855

Tori's Comments:  Finishing up the Laurell K. Hamilton series and getting in some Jennifer L. Armentrout (favorite!). Throw in some new-author vampy romance and voila! Perfect month of reading.

What To Look Forward To

23507745    23845997 24612533 19278261 23719469

Until then,

Read On!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (A Giffy Adventure)


I rarely use GIFS in my posts. But I do find them fun, and
ocasionally approrpiate. I felt that for this particular post...
Many Many gifs were absolutely appropriate.


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's top ten topic is: 
  Top Ten Characters Who are Fellow Book Nerds
1. Okay, this is the obvious one....

2.  Oh oh oh oh oh. They smell so good!

3. And you too Miss Granger


4. Matilda

90s animated GIF

5. Jo March (Little Women)

6. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

gif book Pride and Prejudice Reading Elizabeth Bennet

7. I LOVE BOOKS, Sookie!

8. Klaus Baudelaire

gif film movie book books Meryl Streep Jim Carrey emily browning Lemony Snicket

9. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)
How does reading make you feel, Anne?

Me too. *sigh*

10. Bastian Balthazar Bux

What is your top ten this week?