#BookReview: Romanov by Nadine Brandes


by Nadine Brands

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Book Release Date: May 7, 2019
My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hope never abandoned us- only we could abandon it.

Romanov, Nadine Brandes, page 182

When I saw a new retelling on the Romanov family and Anastasia Romanov, I knew I had to read this. The fact that there was a fantasy element to it – even better! I received an ARC from the publisher, and this is my honest and voluntary review.

What I loved about this book was how much true history went into it. I have always been fascinated with the true Romanov story, probably above an average level, and I could tell this author did her homework. The story is told from the perspective of Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov, who begins the novel at age 16 and turns 17 during the course of the story. She’s sort of the mischievous shvibzik of the family, not rebellious but definitely one who pushes her boundaries and knows how to be sly when she needs to be. She was a very relatable character who earned my interest and sympathy right away. She struggled with a lot of things, understandably so, but went to a lot of effort, often at great risk, to help her family. The biggest struggle for her, I felt, was working within her limitations because she wanted to do more and much of what she thought she needed to do was far beyond her control or ability, and I thought the author captured these feelings well. I felt them right alongside her.

Yurovsky was a character I genuinely hated (and I was supposed to). He did horrible, unspeakable things with absolutely no remorse or sense of humanity whatsoever, and I felt that this big theme of humility and forgiveness that Papa preached and emulated to their family that Nastya tried very hard to understand and practice, would have been very hard for me. 

Zash, the Bolshevik soldier who first came into the picture in Tobolsk and then on to guard the family at Ipatiev House, started out as a hard, solid, defensive and dutiful soldier that you think you’re going to hate until you don’t. His character was interesting and different, and I would’ve liked to know more about his history and what his life was like before he came to be a Bolshevik soldier. He plays his part, and in some cases way too well… you’ll know what I mean if you read the book… but it’s hard not to love this guy, and it was fun to watch the way he came to play a part in Nastya’s story and her fictional life.

There’s a point about halfway through the book where an inspector comes in and finds something happening that sets events into motion, and that is where the story starts getting to where you cannot put it down. There’s a sense of urgency and unrest, an anxious need to keep reading to find out what happens next, and there are times of dread and times of relief, and the story is very deep and heartbreaking because you’re thinking in the back of your mind that a lot of this is historically factual. Let that sink in as you’re reading this book. 

The four reasons I can’t give this book 5 stars are: 
1. The first maybe half of this 335-page book was a little on the slow side as far as pacing went. Not boring – it held my attention, and there wasn’t a point where I wanted to put the book down, but just not a whole lot was happening up until about the halfway point. That is when it really started rolling. (But when it did, it really got good!)

2. We got a lot about Nastya (Anastasia), and a fair amount of Alexei, a little less of Maria. The other two siblings, Tatiana and Olga, were just kind of mentioned here and there with not much else. Was this because of their age differences? They didn’t play as big of a role in Nastya’s life? And while we got to know a little about Papa and just a tiny scene where Mamma revealed a secret to Nastya, Mamma was otherwise nonexistent in the story. I felt like some of these characters could have been fleshed out a little more than they were. In some cases, it was like they were just kind of there with no emotional connection or purpose.

3. I hate to say it, but I didn’t really feel like the Romanov family’s time spent in exile at the Ipatiev House was made to seem all that bad. Maybe it got a little boring, but who hasn’t spent time in their childhood bored out of their mind stuck in a house somewhere when they wanted to be anywhere else? Was that really just me???

4. The magic, I felt, was very low key, almost to the point of magical realism in this story, up until toward the end. There was “healing magic” throughout that I would almost equate to the topical use of essential oils and the power of self-fulfilling prophecy. It wasn’t until the end when Dochkin and the use of the Matryoshka doll and its hidden powers really came into play that magic really became prominent in the story. I guess I would like to have seen the fantasy aspects be a little more central to the overall story.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book overall. I read it all in one day, except for the very last chapter that I woke up and read the following morning. I loved this fictional take on a factual story in history, and I can’t wait to hear what other people’s thoughts are on it.

#BookReview: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

My Favorite Half-Night Stand

by Christina Lauren

This. Book. 

I had to read this book because it sounded just too good. The cast of characters, the socially awkward and emotionally stunted heroine, the sexy nerd Hero, and the fun that is online dating. I felt like this book accurately portrayed the differences men versus women face in the whole online dating process. Men rush in to find gem after gem while women get unsolicited D-pick after unsolicited D-pick. (How is this even still a thing? And yet, literally, it is!) And how the men are oblivious to the struggles the woman faces and why she has to maneuver her use differently than they do. 

But at the heart of this novel, as beautifully realistic as it all is… the romance, obviously. Millie is sort of this emotionally stunted introvert for reasons I won’t spoil, and Reed is this uber nice guy that you want to take home to meet your folks. But even the nicest and most understanding of men have their limits. At some point, they’re going to be pushed too far. 

Toward the end of this book was kind of heart-wrenching in a way, when everything gets out in the open and Millie realizes she has to change (in a good, character arc kind of way – not an ‘I have to change so the person I like will like me’ kind of way). 

Anyway, to wrap this up because I could seriously keep talking about this, I’ll just say loved the book, and if you were on the fence, definitely read it. <3 It’s a good one.

[Romance Book Club] January 2019 Book Announcement!

Here’s what we’re reading this month. Ready?   Can’t see images? Click here…

Happy January!

It’s that time again! The time of the month when we announce our Romance Book Club read, and this month is going to be good. I just know it will be because it’s a book written by one of my all time favorite authors who never fails to bring it, and I’m told that this particular book is supposed to be one of her most romantic books she’s ever written.

So, without further delay, I’m pleased to announce the pick for this month…

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January 2019 TBR List

Happy New Year! Let’s do some reading. 🙂

Ok, so I have to admit, my TBR list seems a little ambitious for January. At least for me, it does. I usually read about one book per week, usually in the form of audio books. However, there are a couple books on this list that I’ll be reading in ebook format because audio is not available.

Here’s the full list for starters, and then I’ll talk a little about why each of these below.

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Books I Read In December 2018 (With a #Giveaway!)

Last December I had this goal to blog a whole lot more in 2018. It’s no surprise, honestly, that I waited until December to make good on that, but for the coming year, I’ve actually got some plans on content to blog about.

Mostly because I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness that is #booktube, and I could literally waste away hours of my time watching videos about what other people are reading. Who knows, maybe I’ll start booktubing these things, too, at some point, but I know from experience how time consuming the editing part of making those videos tends to be, and that is quite a bit of valuable time I could spend with my butt in the writing chair, so for now, let’s start one step at a time.

Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a Giveaway! (Closes at midnight on Jan 15, 2019.)

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