Without a Summer

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette KowalWithout a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal is the third book in the series and my favorite. After recovering from their adventure in Belgium, Jane and Vincent accept a commission in London and bring Jane’s sister Melody along in the hope of finding her an eligible husband.

They enter a London filled with unrest for as the spring months creep by, the snow continues to fall. The extensive winter weather is unfairly blamed on the coldmongers, glamourists who concentrate the practice with cooling things. Riots break out by the Luddites as well who have lost their weaving jobs to new, mechanized looms. Jane finds herself becoming increasingly suspicious of their employer’s son and worries ever the more when Melody seems to be making an attachment to her.

Throw in Vincent’s family whom he has not spoken to in years, and one has a very interesting book to read.

You are unique and wonderful and–and a thousand other hackneyed things. You are my Muse.

I loved this one much more than the other two. I think it was because I got to learn more about Vincent and how he came to be the way he is. His personality wasn’t nonexistent like in the first book or pretty deplorable like in the second. I thought the plot was a little more interesting. It definitely kept me reading.

I do enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal’s writing as well as at some times it was quite cheeky. The characters, Melody included, were much more rounded, and the plot was more intriguing. Wonderful!

Glamour in Glass

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette KowalGlamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal is the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey so if you have not read that one yet, it might be wiser not to read this review as it might contain spoilers. This novel picks up not long after Jane and Vincent are wed and follows them as they travel for their honeymoon to Binché, Belgium where Vincent’s good friend and fellow glamourist, M. Chastain, lives.

Once there, their honeymoon is anything but. Jane finds herself in a situation where she is unable to perform glamour and fears that her husband’s persistent absences and shortness with her are signs that he does not love her without her glamour ability. When Jane discovers the real reason for his actions, she learns that they are not safe with Napoleon on the march.

This was a nice sequel. I enjoyed getting to delve a little deeper into Vincent’s character even if I didn’t particularly like him in the first half of the story. I didn’t think he treated Jane well at all, no matter what secrets he was keeping from her. I did enjoy Jane’s growth as a character. The author put her in an interesting situation, and I liked watching Jane figure out how she would handle it.

I do enjoy the author’s writing. She able to seamlessly weave in just the right amount of humor to alleviate some of the more serious situations so that things do not become too heavy.

This is an extremely quick and easy read for those who want something a little lighter when just the right amount of magic mixed in!

Hope’s Promise

Hope's Promise by Tammy BarleyHope’s Promise by Tammy Barley is the second book in the Sierra Chronicles following Love’s Rescue. The story of Jess and Jake picks up a few months after the last book left off. They are now happily married and back home on their ranch. Their life is not without problems though. Jake is worried that the life will become too hard for Jess to bear especially since they are in the midst of a terrible drought. He fears that he would not be enough to keep her at the ranch. Jess feels terrible because she believes that their long absence and idea to turn the ranch into a horse farm has jeopardized the ranch Jake has worked so hard to build. She also is in great pain about her seeming inability to conceive the child she so desperately desires.

The ranch is suffering with the drought and the illegal selling of half of their land while men are attacking the Paiute Indians who work and live on the ranch.

I completely devoured this book the moment I had it in my grasp. All the characters, even those secondary to Jess and Jake, are so well developed with such distinct personalities. I love the drive everyone has to make the ranch work and to protect the people who have made it their home against the prejudices and hatred of others. Jess and Jake are incredibly strong characters who fit perfectly together. Jake’s patience and gentle manner perfectly balance out Jess’s stubbornness and outgoing personality.

I loved watching their relationship grow as a married couple. I loved how they dealt with the problems with the ranch and their own inner problems. I also love how faith-filled they both are, never despairing for too long because they knew they were protected in God’s hands.

This is an incredibly compelling book and just as good as the first. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected events to keep a reader interested. The characters are wonderful, and you can’t help but fall in love with them, especially Jake! Though you don’t necessarily have to read Love’s Rescue to read this one, you would be missing out on a great book and the first chapter in the story of Jess and Jake.

Love’s Rescue

Love's Rescue by Tammy BarleyI absolutely loved Love’s Rescue by Tammy Barley! The novel takes place during the Civil War which is mostly in the background of the story. Jessica Hale’s family has recently moved to the Nevada Territory to escape the conflicts arising in Kentucky. But Jessica’s brother Ambrose cannot leave his home so easily and goes back to help his hometown’s militia defend his home. When Jessica loses contact with him, she’ll do anything to find him, but finds herself in the middle of an angry mob who believes her to be sympathetic to the Confederacy when she tries to send a telegram in search of her brother whose militia had joined the South.

Jack Bennett, a rancher, steps in and saves her and later “kidnaps” her and brings her to her ranch to keep her safe from those who mean her harm. Jessica who once thought Jake admirable now thinks him despicable and tries everything she can to escape from him and return to her home. But Jake is not so willing to let her go, not when it could mean he would be losing the woman he is slowly falling in love with.
I couldn’t stop reading this from the moment I picked it up. Jessica is fiery and independent. She is also caring and willing to help those around her. Jake is amazing to say the least. He shows nothing but respect for Jessica and “kidnaps” her not for his own pleasure but to keep her safe. He doesn’t let her escape not because he wants to keep her trapped but because he knows the dangers that she would face as a woman on her own.
Jake and Jessica fit together well, and it doesn’t take too long for them to figure it out. Neither, especially Jessica, are willing to admit it to the other. The characters were incredibly realistic and the story flowed seamlessly. Nothing felt contrived, and everything was revealed in a smooth manner. When I finished the last page, all I wanted was to read more and was more than excited to discover that a sequel is in the making. The instant it comes out, I’ll be enjoying it thoroughly I’m sure!

Wizard’s First Rule

Wizard's First Rule by Terry GoodkindWizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind is the first novel in the series The Sword of Truth. Richard Cypher is an ordinary woodsman until he saves a beautiful woman in white. From that moment onward, Richard’s life is going to change forever. Richard finds out that Zedd the man who has mentored him his entire life is actually a wizard, a very powerful one at that, who soon names Richard the next Seeker of Truth. Along with Zedd, Kahlan (the woman in white), and his loyal friend Chase, Richard sets out to cross the boundary that separates Westland from the Midlands where Kahlan is from to stop the evil Darken Rahl from finding all three boxes of Orden which would allow him to rule all life.

On their way, Richard encounters countless creatures and people he could never have dreamed existed. He also finds himself falling in love with Kahlan who knows that there can be nothing between them.
I first decided to read this book after watching The Legend of the Seeker, the television series which is based off of this book series. I enjoyed the show which led me to believe that I would enjoy the books. I wasn’t wrong. I enjoyed this book a lot, even if the show and it differ greatly in some respects. I thought the relationship between Kahlan and Richard developed more realistically in the novel. There were some parts in the book that I thought were entirely unnecessary and make me ill to think about them. Because of them, I would not recommend it to someone who has not reached high school.
I haven’t read a fantasy book in a while and was not disappointed. I have the next two books and will read them after a few other books I have in mind, only because the book is long and some parts gruesome. I need something lighter first before I delve back into the life of the Seeker.
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