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Excessively Diverting: Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Hi!

Who doesn’t enjoy Downton Abbey-like upstairs/downstairs drama?!

Okay, there are probably some people out there who don’t enjoy it like I do, so if it’s you then Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore is most likely not the book for you.

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The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems. Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshorebeyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn’t sure she possesses the courage — or the means — to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

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Take one guess as to why I was immediately drawn to Manor of Secrets.

Here, I’ll help you out: 1. pretty gown, 2. the word “manor”. Either guesses would have worked. Both signs point to “YES” for Tina! My reading preferences are pretty predictable.

Overall, Manor of Secrets was a fun and amusing read and sometimes you just need an uncomplicated story to tumble into for a while. Although there were definitely weaknesses, I enjoyed the story so much I can overlook them. For the most part the writing fell much more on the “telling” instead of “showing” side of things and the plot twist was spotted clearly from a mile away! Additionally, other than a few basic descriptions of the manor and the characters, there was nothing strong about the setting, it is kind of invisible. The book really could have taken place in any British manor house in any historical era because it was lacking in anything that specified this was 1911.

The relationship that grows between Charlotte and Janie is the story’s strong suit. Although the characters themselves are nothing new (we have a poor-little-rich-girl constrained by her upbringing and a rags-to-riches Cinderella), the friendship that is being forged between the two makes for interesting growth in both girls. You have Charlotte learning (a little bit) about the seriousness of world and how her actions can affect others, while Janie is learning more about what family really is. Add in all of the secrets, flirtations, and deception going on amidst Charlotte and Janie’s growing friendship and you have a book that is so excessively diverting you can’t help but enjoy yourself.

As mentioned earlier, I can overlook the weaknesses in Manor of Secrets because the story is just so fun and I’m always interested in the whole upstairs/downstairs thing. If there was a sequel planned, which I don’t think there is, I would definitely pick it up although I don’t think I’d rush to get my hands on it. In the end, I can identify some of my students who would really enjoy this read, mostly middle school girls who already enjoy Downton Abbey and books with pretty dresses on the cover.

Author: Katherine Longshore

Publisher: Point (January 28, 2014)

Format: e-galley

Length: 320 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:

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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas

Hi there!

Who likes loosing themselves in a good old fashioned historical drama?  Downton Abbey perhaps? Reign? Pride and Prejudice? The Tudors? North & South perhaps?!

YES PLEASE!

In my world historical dramas are always a positive! No wonder then why I tend to be drawn towards historical fiction when choosing books! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about YA titles for fans of the wonderful world of period dramas!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Takes place in Paris in 1889 at the height of France’s beautiful era.
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. Historical fiction inspired by the mystery surrounding Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England and the 5th Duke of Portland.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Historical fantasy set in a medieval Brittany. There are assassin nuns. Yup.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

  • What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. This coming of age drama is set in South Florida post World War II…intrigue and seductions abound!
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore.  An upstairs/downstairs drama set in a 1911 England.
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It’s Manhattan 1889 and this is a historical drama full of gossip, fashion, wealth, and romance.

Changeling by Philippa GregoryThe Diviners by Libba Bray

  • Changeling by Philippa Gregory. Picture it…Italy 1453! (ha!) The Goodreads summary says that “dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance” populate this one! It was surprisingly fun!
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. This supernatural drama is set in New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties!

Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayCross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Another supernatural period drama only this time we’re in a Victorian English boarding school!
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. A mysterious secret society of women handle things their own way in a 1580s Venice.

Clearly I have a type. Pretty period costume? Check. *nods in approval*

So, what do you think? Are there any other YA period dramas you’d recommend to those of us who love them?

2

Reading Queue: April

The Reading QueueHello!

Holy junk April surprised the heck out of me! One day it was March and the next….BAM! APRIL!

I guess that’s how it happens though isn’t it? haha

Well, I’m back and ready to bring you a brand new Reading Queue…even if it is a few days late!

What is the Reading Queue?  The Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hola!) and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for the month. You can check out other participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

What I Read in March

March was a really good reading month for me! I was able to finish eight books, which is two more than my average six! Now, I’m counting one I Did Not Finish (DNF) because it’s my list and I can! haha

The Lord of Opium by NancyFarmerThe Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer (DNF)

Maybe it’s because I didn’t read House of the Scorpion, but I just couldn’t get into this one.

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was a very cute contemporary filled with family and romance.

Jessica Darling's It List by Megan McCaffertyJessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty

I haven’t read the original Jessica Darling books, but I know now I must!

Skybreaker by Kenneth OppellSkybreaker (Matt Cruise #2) by Kenneth Oppel

Starclimber by Kenneth OppelStarclimber (Matt Cruise #3) by Kenneth Oppel

This series is one of my new favorites!

March Book One by John LewisMarch (Book One) by John Lewis

Civil Rights history in graphic novel form! I loved it!

Serafina's Promise by Ann E BurgSerafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This novel in verse was beautiful.

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I really enjoyed this trilogy a lot!

My April Reading Queue

There are so many books I want to read so badly this month! I’ve already started three of them, so I’m hopeful about my goal of ten!

The Flame in the Mist by Kit GrindstaffThe Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

The Boy Problem by Kami KinardThe Boy Problem by Kami Kinard

Icons by Margaret StohlIcons by Margaret Stohl

Half a Chance by Cynthia LordHalf a Chance by Cynthia Lord

The Hypnotists by Gordon KormanThe Hypnotists by Gordon Korman

Ghost Hawk by Susan CooperGhost Hawk by Susan Cooper

Manor of Secrets by Katherine LongshoreManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

TheTimeFetchThe Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

Better to Wish by Ann M. MartinBetter to Wish by Ann M. Martin

Doll Bones by Holly BlackDolly Bones by Holly Black

There you have it! Have you read any of the title on my April Reading Queue?  Please feel free to link up and join us this month! I’d love to check out your Reading Queue too!

6

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR List

Hi there!

For a few days I thought spring had sprung, but it seems South Carolina disagreed with me. The past few days have been very “Seattle-like” as it’s been cold and rainy down here in the South! I’m not complaining because I really do prefer these actual seasons to Florida’s never-ending summer and rain just means that I get to wear my awesome pink wellies!

Although it quite been springtime weather, I do still have my spring reading all planned out!  If you haven’t checked out Reading Queue, the meme I host with the awesome Jen at  Books A True Story, you’ll be interested to know that today’s TTT is what we do every month in our Reading Queue. We talk about the books we read the previous month and plan our our TBR pile, or Reading Queue. You can participate too if you’re interested!

So, today’s list is going to be made up of my March Reading Queue, as well as titles I’s like to get to in April and May. You’ll notice a ton of middle grade titles as I try to focus on that level since I am a middle school librarian who sometimes gets sucked into more YA…not that its a bad thing! haha

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Neilsen (MG/YA)

Jinx by Sage BlackwoodJinx by Sage Blackwood (MG)

Icons by Margaret StohlIcons by Margaret Stohl (YA)

The Flame in the Mist by Kit GrindstaffThe Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff (MG)

The Time Fetch by Amy HerrickThe Time Fetch by Amy Herrick (MG)

The Moon and More by Sarah DessenThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (YA)

Manorof Secrets by Katherine LongshoreManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore (YA)

Half a Chance by Cynthia LordHalf a Chance by Cynthia Lord (MG)

A Spark Unseen by Sharon CameronA Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron (MG/YA)

    Better to Wish by Ann M. MartinBetter to Wish by Ann M. Martin (MG)

The Boy Problem by Kami KinardThe Boy Problem by Kami Kinard (MG)

I am sooo looking forward to all these fun spring reading titles I have planned out! And yes, I know my list includes eleven titles instead of just ten..whoopsie!  I’ve actually already started The Shadow Throne and The Boy Problem, but only a little bit so far. Are you also planning on reading any of these books this spring?