Fanny and Stella review

Fanny Stella

(Fanny -or Stella- walking in the streets in proper Londonian society)

Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England review by Neil McKenna

16174761rating : two stars

It has been a long time since I reviewed a history book. Usually I only do medieval ones since it’s my specialty but I made an exception with this one.

I was first piqued in my historical interest because I did study Victorian England but I never heard about drag queens in those classes. I thus really wanted to read more on the subject. Secondly I was a bit put off because I know very little on historical drag queens, I only knew the Chevalier d’Eon, so I tried to read it as a history reference.

So as you all can guess this is a nonfiction book about two drag queens in Victorian England: Fanny and Stella whom were arrested because they were in drags and also accused of sodomy (which was a crime at the time). The book follows their arrest and goes back on their lives and how did a young drag queen lived in Victorian England and how.

I was very harsh in the rating, I know this book has received a good average on Goodreads, but I really could not find any more interest in the book after the first half. To be honest it was chaotic, the returns back and forth in time were really confusing and made the story look like a fiction and not a nonfiction. Of course I say so as a history student so perhaps for someone else it would lighten the story and picked the interest of the reader.

Problem is, the story itself, as interesting as it was, was quite dull. It was very slow and not like a lecture but as if the author had wanted to say too much in one book. That’s why I did not understand the amount of chapters on other people, yes it made the enquiry very thorough but it was in my point of view too much. And as a historian I was quite disappointed to see so little sources. A historian rely mainly on its sources, it’s the base of the analysis I mean even Allison Weir had at least three pages of bibliography at the end of her She-wolf. I even read a manga on Mary-Antoinette which used more references than this book….

I ended up quite bored with this book and kept putting it down yet I do find its subject to be interesting and I might look up other books.

The stars askew review

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(Scene taken from chapter 2 with Kata, Dexion and little Henry. Is it me or my background skills are somewhat better? Still perspective is not my cup of tea xD)

The Stars Askew (Caeli-Amur #2) by Rjurik Davidson

31114185Rating: five stars

This book is a sequel to Unwrapped Sky (which I already did a review on). It takes place right after the events in Caeli-Amur and things are not going so well after the revolution. Houses have retreated themselves in villas and Varenis has cut all communication and exchange with the free city. In that context, one of the leaders of the rebellion, Aceline, is murdered and Kata investigates. At the same Maximillian has awoken and learns how to deal with a not so god Aya in his head and Armand is on his way to Varenis in hope to find a way to restore peace in Caeli-Amur.

I was so excited to read this book, I really enjoyed the last one. My only critic of the last book was that we don’t know that much on the world around Caeli-Amur but this second one clearly fills in the blanks (even though they are still some). We definitely learn a lot more in this book on the history and especially on Aya’s story because it was a point that was a bit blurry in the last book. We also understand a bit better how the world work and how everything relies on Varenis and we do see more of the outside of Caeli-Amur.

The plot is centered on the assassination and how everything is linked to it (no no this is not a spoiler I swear!!!). The writing is good and fluid which is pretty amazing because some of these fantasy books out there, especially high fantasy, have very heavy writing, you know what I mean?

Okay I have to speak about Dexion. Finally! A minotaur is almost a main character!!! I really loved how he was depicted, kind of brutish but wise at the same time, it was exactly how I thought a minotaur would be! And please his interactions with Kata are just so full of wits, fun and can they just please be together in the next book? One more thing I loved is to see that Kata created a sort of ersatz of family with Dexion and Henry, at the beginning of the book that scene just melted my little heart into a bit pile of honey.

Ho and yeah I still dislike Maximilian but that is personal xD but one character I did not believe I could like is Armand. In the first book he was only a secondary character but in this one we get his point of view and a bit more info on him. And without any spoilers I was very sad to see how he evolved.

Yep I did give it five stars and it totally deserves it because it is not getting enough hype and it was great. I do hope there will be at least a third book!

Hey everyone I hope you enjoyed the review, I might have a little hectic posting calendar in the upcoming weeks because I’m fully into writing my dissertation but I will post at least once a week 😉 Until then have a lovely week!! See ya!

Easter Booktag!

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(My dogs are joining me to wish you all a happy chocolate hunt along with an unamed bunny…)

So yes I thought I could celebrate Easter with a tag!!! This one was created by Rosie the Reader on booktube. Let us see the all mighty questions!!!

Rabbits – A book that you wish would multiply – So a book you want a sequel to (that doesn’t have one)

So easy!!! The last series I read, which I hope is incomplete and will have a new book soon, aka the  Caeli-Amur series by Rjurik Davidson (thank god I am not a booktuber I have no idea how to pronounce his name T-T). As you can all probably deduce from the review of the first book and the one coming up next week of the second book, it is by far the best 2016 revelation in fantasy for me. The writing style is really good, as is the world building and I just adore his characters (well… except Max but that’s another story). So there are currently two books Unwrapped Sky and The stars Askew and I hope there will be a third one!!! (please, please, please with BB8 on top)

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Egg – A book that surprised you

I think that it was more the fact that I liked it which surprised me, because I don’t read that much contemporary and it is The readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. It is the story of Sara who arrives in this small town in the US, all the way from Sweden to meet her pen pal Anny. But the day she arrives, Anny died. Sara still decides to stay in the small town and even opens a bookshop.

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Hunt – A book that was hard for you to get your hands on

Let’s be honest nowadays with Amazon, BookDepositery, Abebooks and bookshops it is pretty easy to get a book and in the edition you like. But of course that is only true for fiction… Sadly, historians will know the struggle, history books are not that easy to find at a decent price and in the newest edition. The last one which gave me a nervous breakdown, I had to read it for my dissertation, I won’t bore you with the details since it’s a book in French and concerning the Library of the Duke of Berry.

Lambs – A children’s book that you still enjoy

I have almost not a lot of memory of children’s literature, because I read teen fiction quite early. But if I think very hard it would be Beatrix Potter’s Complete Tales. I used to love them as a kind and I reread them recently and it is as good as I remember.

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Spring – A book with a cover that makes you think of spring

To be honest I don’t have one in particular… But any cozy-mystery cover works 😉

Jesus – A religious or spiritual book that you love

I don’t read that many spiritual books…. Well I did read some from the Middle Ages because of my studies so I will cheat and pick The Book of Margery Kempe. She was a woman who believed she had illuminations and tried to act as a mystic from the Christ and wrote a book about it. But she mixes up everything and her dreams are retelling of what she learned. I had to do an oral on this book and I had so much fun preparing it.

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Rising from the dead – A book from a deceased author

THE HOBBIT! Because this book seems to appear in every tag I do xD and it works 😛

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Baskets – A book that is in your amazon cart or wish list right now

Ho I have so many… As the quote from I-don’t-remember-who says “So many books, so little time…. But recently I added Joust by Mercedes Lackey. I don’t know much about this book except that it is written by one of my favorite authors xD and that it has dragons while mixing Ancient Egypt culture and Atlantis. Basically it was made for me xD

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Candy – A book that is sweet

Sweet as in tooth rotting fluff? Or sweet as in cooing after a puppy? (Not the same you know!). Hm I don’t know…. Probably The Fire Within (book 1 of The Last Dragon Chronicles) by Chris D’Lancey. I read this a while ago but I remember it being sweet.

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Peeps – Tag people

I tag anyone who wants to do it ^^

Magic’s Pawn review

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Vanyel and Yfendes (sorry my bacground and horse drawing skills are not that good T-T)

Magic’s Pawn (book one of the Last Herald-Mage trilogy) by Mercedes Lackey

28759Rating: four stars

Vanyel ,the firstborn son of the strict Lord Withen, has always felt out of place in his home. Passionate by music and poor in anything warrior-like, he wants to become a bard but his father has other plans. Out of anger and dissatisfaction against his son, Lord Withen sends him to Haven in the care of his aunt Savil to learn how to be a proper lord. But Vanyel will uncover that there may be more to him than a simple want to be a bard.

I cannot say too much on this book without giving up major points of the plot. As you can all guess, it is a fantasy series that takes place in Valdemar (the land where most of Mercedes Lackey’s books are taking place). It is the first instalment in the Last Herald Mage trilogy that is centred on the character of Vanyel. The book is very fast paced and felt more like an introduction to the trilogy than a real first book (well at least until chapter 10).

I did read Mercedes Lackey’s works before with her Heralds of Valdemar trilogy and I remember really enjoying it. Her style is definitely a good start in the fantasy genre. AND I CANNOT BELIEVE NO ONE IS SPARING HER A GLANCE IN THE BOOK COMMUNITY!!!! Seriously (rant time sorry guys), all the booktube channels and book blogs I am following concerning fantasy books never talk about her! I always feel like they are redundantly blabbering about the same authors and when I do admit they are great as well (of course not for the ones I haven’t read, there I cannot say until I do read them) there is no reason to ignore Mercedes Lackey’s series. Because she did write many series and I believe, from what I read, that everyone can find one they like! Rant over moving on to the characters of the book (again sorry for it but it did annoy me).

 If you are not familiar with Valdemar, it is a land where magic is pretty common. Heralds are chosen by companions (horses usually white if my memory is correct) and are there to protect and care for the kingdom. They have certain Gift, basically powers, to help them. Some of them possess the Mage-gift which is the highest gift one can possess (I might do a full article on Valdemar if anyone is interested).

The characters in this book are very diverse (cannot spoil more sorry) and I especially liked Vanyel. He is a teenage boy with many emotional baggages and has to try to learn to live in society without shielding himself from others. On the other hand, I absolutely despised (strong words here to show hatred xD) Savil, for me she is self-centred and don’t truly care for her nephew and especially after the tragic events I was so angered by her reaction. Also I find her to be not consistent because of that.

I really thought this was a good book, a bit too fast and slow at the same time (yes it felt like a long into) but I fell back in love with Mercedes Lackey’s style and will definitely read more of her series. In fact I already ordered the next two volumes xD (what is taking so long Book Depository TT-TT).

Hey everyone! Sorry for the hectic posting schedule but I am fully working on my dissertation right now xD (T-T) but the usual posting days (monday and wednesday) will be back next week ! Until then have a great week!

Dreamwalker book 1 review

dreamwalkerDreamwalker (book 1) by J.D. Oswald

21942230Rating: Three stars

Dreamwalker is a book series by J. A. Oswald about dragons and humans and how the two of them are supposed to live together.

 In this universe dragons are a repressed species, there was even a law to kill dragons. Every dragon born has to be counted to be able to control their population. Hence dragons have to hide to be able to live sort of peacefully. Our story begins when a baby dragon is illegally hatched and the bastard prince of the dead princess is born. As you can expect the story revolves on Benfro, the dragon, and Errol, the human prince. As both grow up they discover that they have strange abilities involving what is called “the Grim”, lines that surround everything in the world.  Of course it would not be a real fantasy book without a political tyrant who is trying to kill every dragon.

Now that you know a bit more about the plot, let’s dive into what I thought about it. I first want to say that even if I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would, I had a hard time to get into it. I found the beginning quite slow and a bit confusing, I always messed up the names of characters so that did not help xD. Ho yeah, why so many –y in the names????

But! I must say that once you get past the first part and finally get to the wedding, it’s starts to get interesting. I really enjoyed the magical system of the world, I am especially interested in the Grim and how it works. Mages are also able to travel to another non-physical world that actually influence the normal one.

Now I have to talk about dragons. First I was a bit put off by their appearances, not really all mighty dragon ones… But they have actually a more interesting history, I only read the first book so I think I only have a little part of it, but they are intelligible species with their own language and way of life. I was especially interested in their jewels that hold their memory it reminded me a bit of the elves in Dragon Age 😄 but let’s be honest I always think of Dragon Age….

Also humans appear to be the bad guys in this story. It’s a good thing to invert the usual dragons are mighty beasts that kill innocent peasants yet I feel like it was missing something. And throughout the book I could not help but wonder when will there be an actual link between Errol and Benfro, aside from their birthdays.

Overall it is a good book, I am not going to say it was bad because I really enjoyed it but I believed it lacked some elements and it was quite slow. Also there is a major problem with time, you never really know when you are in the story when you switch characters and that was… perplexing. I might criticise a lot but for me it has the potential to be a great series and I cannot wait to see what happens in book two! Hopefully Errol and Benfro will finally meet without killing each other. 😉

Fallen review

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Fallen by Lauren Kate

6487308Rating : two stars

Fallen is the story of Lucinda, better known as Luce, a teenager girl of seventeen who after a tragic event is enrolled in Sword and Cross academy. In this school she meets a lot of weird people and especially Daniel a guy she can’t help but feel drawn to him.  She suddenly realizes that the weird things at her new school may have a reason and that the shadows fallowing her might be connected to it.

As you can all guess this book start as a typical high school drama plot with some serious twist (the murder of Luce’s almost boyfriend), and it had an interesting start. First I thought that she was an interesting character with maybe more depth than you’re usual teenage girl from books. I was wrong.

The only good characters in this story are Penn and Arianne. The others are inconsistent and damn flat. And Luce felt too much like Bella Swan if you know what I mean…. And no the love triangle trope is not a good idea especially since in this book Luce felt attracted to Cam and Daniel at the same time. While Cam shows immediate interest, Daniel ignores her. And what does Luce do? Well, she flirts with Cam while staring at Daniel with dead fish eyes. I hated her for that… Since we all know the endgame was Luce/Daniel. I am going to stop there because I can rant about stupid girl teenager for a very long time.

About the plot, well it does revolve around Luce’s attraction to Daniel and the supernatural parts, apart from the shadows, really come out at the end of the book. Overall it felt like a very long prologue until the last four chapters. And even the battle scene (this is so not a spoiler there is ALWAYS a battle scene in these books) is quite ridiculously short and badly written.

How to walk like a man review

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How to Walk like a man by Eli Easton

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Rating : four stars

After I read How to Howl to the Moon, I decided to continue this series because I loved Roman as a character. And indeed this book did not disappoint.

This second volume focuses on Roman and a new addition to the town Matt a federal agent. The town is dealing with some cases of drug and Matt was dispatched to help the sheriff, our dearest Lance, and report to his bureau. Yet the story turns more interesting when Roman grows attached to the human and has to deal with his own demons.

First I have to say Roman is cute. Not only as a dog but also as human. He lives on instinct and is naïve, clueless and sweet. It’s good to see more dog-like personality because in the first book I thought that Lance, even if he is quickened, acted quite human. I thought that he was so cute trying to figure out how to act more human and what some sorts of behavior meant.

We also get more on the quickened and it was so sad to see what Roman had to go through. Matt is also a loveable character and interesting too. They both have a good dynamic and their relationship is very slow built compared to the first volume, which is good, more realistic. Well as realistic as a dog shifter who is working in the sheriff department is.

But what made it even better was when Tim and Lance explained things to Roman, just for that the book had one more star xD.