2020 Book #2 – Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

image001Title: Phantom of the Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
Date finished: 1/12/20
Genre: Horror, mystery
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date:January 7, 2020
Pages in book: 266
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Deep beneath the Paris Opera House, a masked man lives in silence…

Every night at the Palais Garnier, hundreds of guests sit on the edge of velvet-covered seats, waiting for prima donna La Carlotta to take the stage. But when her voice fails her, La Carlotta is replaced with unknown understudy Christine Daaé, a young soprano whose vibrant singing fills every corner of the house and wins her a slew of admirers, including an old childhood friend who soon professes his love for her. But unknown to Christine is another man, who lurks out of sight behind the heavy curtains of the opera, who can move about the building undetected, who will do anything to make sure Christine will keep singing just for him…

This curated edition of The Phantom of the Opera, based on the original 1911 English translation by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, brings an iconic story of love and obsession to today’s readers and illuminates the timeless appeal of Leroux’s masterpiece.

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I absolutely love this musical and the movie they produced of it also, so I thought I’d give the book a try. I’m not usually a huge fan of “the classics” and this was no exception. I struggled through this book. Christine in this novel is a simpering mess and just was way too helpless and damsel in distress for me. And Raoul didn’t seem brave or heroic like he does in the musical to me, he seemed more immature and childish. And the Phantom in the musical seems brooding and mysterious and a little dark but in the book he’s a big whiny crybaby and honestly super abusive and crazy. The author isn’t alive anymore so I’m not really worried about hurting anyone’s feelings with this but I didn’t care for this book. I think the re-print of it is fine and the cover is actually very well done but the writing and story line itself I didn’t care for.

Link to author website

 

2019 Book #77 – The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

41TLd3ldCPLTitle: The Widow of Rose House
Author: Diana Biller
Date finished: 10/13/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martins’ Griffin
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Pages in book: 346
Stand alone or series: This is actually Biller’s debut novel! We’ll have to wait to see if there will be a series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

** A “MOST ANTICIPATED ROMANCE” of 2019 (BookPage) **

A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age romantic comedy debut

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time.

However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor Samuel Moore appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life—especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history—and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “set in a haunted house” box because (obviously) much of the book takes place in and centers around the haunted house.

I had read a sample of this book in the Buzz Books Romance collection and liked it. I also really love the cover, though the key that’s featured on it plays an important but much shorter role than I expected. I really enjoyed the book though – mostly because of Sam and his family. Sam was perfectly quirky, funny, and devoted to Alva. He was enchanting and every sort of endearing and I just loved his character. And his interactions with his equally quirky and endearing family were hilarious. Alva’s character was alright but some pieces of it just didn’t work for me personally for a couple reasons. The ghost story was pretty good in this book, I was sufficiently engaged in finding out the ending for it, but I did find that the romance side of the plot wasn’t as well developed as I thought the ghost side of the plot was. Overall though I really liked the book and I can’t wait to read more books by this author!

Link to author’s website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #98 – Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

51kzmkkpjtl-_sy417_bo1204203200_Title: Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Date finished: 10/16/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: June 3, 1995
Pages in book: 317 (paperback)
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: own it

Blurb from the cover:

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back-almost as if by magic…

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (October). This book was about Gillian and Sally Owens, sisters who go to live with their elderly aunts in Massachusetts after their parents death. Gillian and Sally are as different as two sisters can be, but it is their status in the town that ostracizes them from society and forces them to be closer than they might have otherwise. Because there’s something different about Gillian and Sally and their aunts too – they’re all Owens women and they’re all witches. As Sally and Gillian grew into women, neither of them end up where they thought they would be. Sally lives in NY with her 2 daughters and hasn’t seen her sister in years, though they talk on the phone regularly. And Gillian moves through relationships at break neck speed until she meets the one that can make her stay, even though he’s a heartless abusive bastard. And then one night Gillian shows up at Sally’s house with a dead guy in the car, and both sisters lives are changed.
Overall I really liked this book. I’ve read this one before and it was actually my book club pick for this month. This is one of my favorite books of all time, I love how magical it is. For any of you that have seen the movie, the book is very different from the movies. The story lines are very different but I’ve always felt like the idea behind the story line stayed true. I like that the book went into more detail with all of their lives, including Sally’s daughters. There is magic and danger and romance all combined in a great story about love family. This is a great read and I would recommend, especially for those who like a touch of magic in their reads.

The bottom line: I love this book, it is probably my all-time favorite book. It is very different than the movie but I love both the book and the movie! A great read and I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #100

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The hundredth book I read in 2014 was Long Time Coming by Edie Claire. This book was recommended to me by my cousin, Stephanie Gorman. I finished this book on 11/9/14. This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Joy Hudson, who after 18 years away returns home to Wharton, Kentucky to care for her father and mother, both of which are not in the best of health anymore. Joy left home a long time ago and never looked back, too scarred by traumatic events that occurred at the end of her senior year to think of Wharton as home.

When Joy returns to Wharton though she is forced to face a variety of issues that she had up until then successfully avoided. Like why she feels so guilty about her best friend’s death in high school. And why she’s scared of Jeff Bradford (her best friend’s high school boyfriend) and how he makes her feel, even now eighteen years later.

Overall I did enjoy this book. I was interested in the story line and liked the mixture of paranormal and suspense in the plot. I thought that the characters could’ve been developed a tad bit more and had more depth. As much as we delved into Joy’s psyche I found her character to be a bit flat I guess. Other than that I liked the story well enough. Though I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorites, it was interesting and also free on Amazon Kindle!

Link to author website: http://www.edieclaire.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Time-Coming-Edie-Claire-ebook/dp/B004RJ7Y8Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415646021&sr=8-1&keywords=long+time+coming