What I've Been Reading - February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016
Welcome to What I've Been Reading, where I share my (quick and personal) thoughts on what I've been reading this past month. For specifics (plot summary, etc.) about each book, click on the provided links.

Simply Anna by Jennifer Moore (4 stars)
I enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. I am always a sucker for a good Regency romance, but this was set in Jamaica, rather than England, and included renegades and pirates, making it quite a bit different than the typical Regency romance I dearly love. Who knew the addition of ruthless renegades and swashbuckling pirates would be up my alley, but it was! If you are looking for a quick, simple, clean, fun read, this is for you! (Side-note - This comes third in one of Jennifer Moores series, preceded first by Becoming Lady Lockwood and then by Lady Emma's Campaign. However, this story can definitely stand alone.)

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen (5 stars)
I must be completely honest. I devoured this 400 plus page story in less than 24 hours. Truly. I've read all of Klassen's other books, but this was my favorite, by far. As I've grown older, I've become more and more drawn to stories of redemption and that is exactly what this story is.  A story of redemption, mixed with a little romance, all tucked within Regency England. How could I not love it? If you enjoy this genre as much as I do, and have never checked out Klassen, be sure to do so.

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E Ladd (3 stars)
This was the first book I've read by Ladd that I didn't really care for. It was just okay. The storyline was not strong, in my opinion, nor was the character development. I still recommend Ladd for those that love Regency period stories, but not this specific story.

Doing No Harm by Carla Kelly (4 stars)
I haven't read a lot by Kelly. Just a few of her stories that were passed along to me by my mother-in-law. What I have read, I've enjoyed. This story was no exception, though it was quite different from her other stories. This story's backdrop is Scotland, during the Highland Clearances, a part of history I had never heard of before and is devastating. The story was slow to start, heart-breaking in parts,and could have used a bit more character development, but, by the end, it all came together and ended up quite enjoyable. (Side note - In researching Carla Kelly, I learned that she used to write Harlequin romance novels. She now writes novels for LDS audiences, though not necessarily LDS stories. I have only read her recent work, which is relatively clean. I cannot vouch for her earlier work.)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (4 stars)
This was such a thought-provoking story. How can one person and one choice affect so many others? I enjoyed this story so much more than I thought I would. Enjoyed is probably not the right word though. It is not a joyful story, but a story filled with heartache and longing, yet it kept me riveted and asking myself many questions.

This story had so much potential, yet was so disappointing. It was about a topic, the re-education of China's young intellectuals, I had no knowledge of. As I began, I was so hopeful, but I simply didn't enjoy this small taste of such a fascinating topic and sincerely wish I had just skipped this story all together.

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson (5 stars)
This was a reread for me. Actually, my third time reading this story, I believe. I couldn't help myself. When I am sick, I tend to turn to my favorites, and this is definitely one of my favorites. It is very swoon-worthy.

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