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To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin (Early Review)


What a cover! *dreamy eyes* Caitriona Wallace, or Cait, is a chaperone for Jamie and Alice Arrol on their “Grand Tour” of mainland Europe from Scotland. Their final stop is Paris, where they meet Émile Nougier, one of the engineers who designed the Eiffel Tower for Gustav Eiffel. Chapters alternate between Cait and Émile; the transition is smooth, not confusing, and done very well. Cait and Émile are attracted to each other but haven't spent enough time together to pursue it. After the Grand Tour, they go back to Scotland but Jamie soon decides that he must be an apprentice with Monsieur Eiffel (also a small character in the book, very fun), and his uncle agrees to finance the move if Alice also goes and Cait agrees to be their chaperone once again. Plenty of other things are going on, but the driving force of this book is Cait and Émile wanting to be together but life getting in the way.

I really, really loved this book. I was nervous while reading because I was afraid the ending wouldn’t suit. You know the kind; where the whole book (or trilogy. Ahem, Hunger Games and Red Rising) is so great but the lackluster ending ruins all those hours you spent reading and enjoying the book. This totally could have been one of those but Beatrice Colin really pulled through.

There are also several fun minor characters or mentions in this book: Gustav Eiffel, as I mentioned; Degas, Surat, and other artists, musicians, and writers. So neat! The ending is quiet and great all at once. The feel of the book overall is slower but still very interesting. So, buy it, borrow it, just be sure to read this lovely book.

5/5 Stars

This book will come out on November 29th, 2016.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Curse on the Land (Soulwood #2) by Faith Hunter


In the second book of the Soulwood series we see Nell in her first PSYLED investigation after a group of deer and geese are found behaving oddly, then all die.

Throughout the book there was a minor storyline about Nell's land; I was glad to finally see her get somewhere with that at the end of the book and stop casually wondering what was wrong with it and saying she'd deal with it later.

Overall, I really liked this book. It advances some great stories, gives us a hint at the furure of Nell's possible love life, and we see Ricky Bo kind of finally catch a break. I know a lot of people do NOT like Rick, but I have a soft spot for him for some reason. If you like the Jane Yellowrock series, definitely give this one a try!

I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen


I would like to start this review off by saying that this was written by one of my most favorite authors and despite the following review, I still feel that way.

This book was written well. It has a good general story going on and a great description/feel of the book. 99% of the characters and interesting and complex. My mind is completely, 100% in 1800's Texas when reading and I love it.

But I strongly dislike the main character. There may be slight spoilers going forward.
I really liked Nettie. She had a tough life, worked hard, and despite being confused and not simply knowing a lot of things, she had a good idea of what she was and what she wasn't. As Wake of Vultures progressed, Nettie went back and forth about what it meant to her to be a girl. She had been dressing as a boy for some time, but still physically felt a girl (that we could tell, for the most part), and even had a crush on a boy. What she wasn't was a girly girl; no dresses, no clean and proper, no weakness. She was a strong person and I think it would have been awesome to explore what it would have been like to be a strong-willed bi female who dressed like a boy and liked to break horses in the Wild West.

But instead we had to jump on the trans bandwagon and turn Nettie into Rhett, who is not a very nice guy.
Leading to the decision to become Rhett, Nettie toyed with the idea of maybe females don't have to be what she thought they did all her life, even maybe making peace a little with the idea of being female. I don't feel like she actually felt like she was born in the wrong body, and if she did then this really should have been made more clear in Wake of Vultures and Conspiracy of Ravens leading up to the switch. I read it as Nettie not wanting to put in the effort to explore what it means to her to be a girl and push or break boundaries, but as a scapegoat of not wanting to put in that effort and instead just switching teams because it's easier. It really seemed like the easy way out.

Once Nettie became Rhett, Rhett turned into the jackass kind of guy I think would be running around on a horse out west in the 1800's. He ends up sleeping with three different people, keeping each one a secret from the others and setting himself up to really hurt people who care about him, and this really bothered me. It's like he turned into all the men who treated him like shit is whole life. He started thinking with his imaginary penis instead of staying focused on his quest to save people's lives and stop all the bad guys.

I also feel that the fact of Rhett being "The Shadow" should have been discussed more leading up to the end of this book, because it actually plays a decent part in this story. I re-listened to Wake of Vultures before reading Conspiracy of Ravens and I don't recall it being mentioned much there either. It seemed to be a suddenly important part of the story.

I gave this book two stars because I still feel like it is a good story and has all-but-one great characters. If you're looking to read a book specifically with a trans element, I suppose this would be as good as any other and it certainly is unique. I am sad to say that I probably won't be reading any more books in this series, but I strongly recommend any other books by Delilah S. Dawson (Lila Bowen is her pen name), especially the Blud series.

2/5 Stars