Pirate Latitudes

Pirate Latitudes

by Michael Crichton

6428887

 

Jamaica in 1665 is a rough outpost of the English crown, a minor colony holding out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, Jamaica′s capital, a cut-throat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses, is devoid of London′s luxuries; life here can end swiftly with dysentery or a dagger in your back. But for Captain Charles Hunter it is a life that can also lead to riches, if he abides by the island′s code. In the name of His Majesty King Charles II of England, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking. And law in the New World is made by those who take it into their hands.

Word in port is that the Spanish treasure galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is stalled in nearby Matanceros harbor awaiting repairs. Heavily fortified, the impregnable Spanish outpost is guarded by the blood-swiller Cazalla, a favorite commander of King Philip IV himself. With the governor′s backing, Hunter assembles a roughneck crew to infiltrate the enemy island and commandeer the galleon, along with its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloody legends of Matanceros suggest, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he finds himself on the island′s shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry are all that stand between him and the treasure.

With the help of his cunning crew, Hunter hijacks El Trinidad and escapes the deadly clutches of Cazalla, leaving plenty of carnage in his wake. But his troubles have just begun. . . .

Disclaimer: I avoided Pirate Latitudes  for a very long time, and I didn’t have any intention on ever reading it. I will go into my reasoning for this decision later in my review, but I decided to give it a read after suggestion from a number of friends when I put out a call for good pirate stories. And I am happy I gave it a chance.

Pirate Latitudes is exactly what I was looking for in a pirate story. There is romantic dalliances, thievery, epic battles, monsters of the deep, hurricanes, cannibals, mutiny, and treasure! It is a gritty pirate story that held me enthralled during my work commute, as I couldn’t stop listening to the unapologetic descriptions of life in Port Royal during the 1600s. And don’t worry, the story is surprisingly well developed despite containing the aforementioned list of plot points. I adored Captain Hunter; a business man who happily flirts with the opaque line between piracy and privateering! I especially enjoyed how Hunter is not romanticized, but is instead portrayed as an intelligent, educated individual who is both comrade and intolerant captain to the vagabonds working his ship.

The vast array of characters, both shipboard and landlocked, make this a complex story as we deal with the melding of different personalities intent of achieving similar outcomes. I like how the language doesn’t bend to modern political correctness standards. Many characters are identified mainly by their national origin (the Moor), religious preferences (the Jew), and skill set (Enders the sea artist), as they would have been in the 1600s. However, each is masterfully developed, so that you never find yourself wondering which person is which. I’m sorry, it may not be a verbally elegant way to describe it, but we have all found ourselves reading books where we spend half the novel trying to remember all the characters. Pirate Latitudes has a pretty extensive cast but you will have no problem visualizing, and remembering each one!

And now for the not so positive comments. Pirate Latitudes is not the book for you if you are looking for strong, competent, well developed female characters. This story is the complete opposite of Daughter of the Pirate King, in that the woman are only portrayed as sexual objects or witches. Granted, I know that most women living in Port Royal in the 1600s were sex workers…I just had hoped for them to have a stronger role, or more unique characterization. Sadly, each of the three females fell flat and I was left rolling my eyes each time they showed up. Oh I take part of that statement back…Lazue was a strong female character. However, the female pirate spends most of the story disguised as a male and only using her femininity as a deadly weapon (which is another eye roll worthy trope). I do like how Lazue is considered an equal by the crew due to her unique fighting style and excellent eyesight, but guys, don’t pick up Pirate Latitudes expecting strong females.

And why did I plan to never read Pirate Latitude? Because it was published posthumously, and if I was a author, I wouldn’t want my readers picking up something I hadn’t finished. Yes, Pirate Latitude is a great story but it has a few flaws that 1. should have been caught by an editor and 2. probably wouldn’t have ever made it past editing if Crichton had been involved in the publishing. These flaws included repetitive plot points, and incomplete storylines. I’d like to think that Crichton had so much more planned for Pirate Latitudes.

Pirate Latitudes is an old-school, romantic pirate story! I loved it, and suggest it to anyone interested in a swashbuckling story of plunder and life on the high seas :D! Please let me know what you think of this story, and definitely pick up a copy for a late summer beach day!

Lindsay

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Daughter of the Pirate King

Daughter of the Pirate King

by Tricia Levenseller

33644022

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

I picked up Daughter of the Pirate King because I wanted a good young adult historical fiction novel about pirates. Guys, it is near impossible to find a young adult pirate book that doesn’t include time travel, magic, fairies…and so on. I don’t dislike fantasy stories, I actually enjoy the occasional fantasy read, but on this site I like to share books that fall into the nonfiction, historical fiction, or mystery genres. (I mean, even my mystery shares are typically also considered historical fiction) So, you can imagine how I felt like I had finally hit pay dirt after reading the above synopsis! Here was a young adult novel about pirates that was not a fantasy story….WRONG! Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. I really liked Daughter of the Pirate King, but I felt you needed to be warned that this is a fantasy story, that is set in a fantasy world where magic exists.

However, I feel it should be noted Daughter of the Pirate King provides a relatable and somewhat accurate description of pirate culture. (Please note that I am not an expert on the history of piracy, though I have taken a few courses on the subject)  The scenes of debauchery when shore, the time stuck aboard ship, the superiority complexes, and even the tale of Alosa’s conception (yup, you read that correctly) are exquisitely detailed and developed in a rather realistic fashion embracing pirate culture and superstition. So, though I was disappointed at the magical element, I was happy with the rest of the book.

Ok, so I will start with the positive attributes of the story. I like how strong Alosa is. She is smart, witty, and confident in way most teenage, and even adult, females struggle to obtain. Her unwavering confidence in herself is the main reason she can successfully survive in a world dominated by men who are typically fueled by greed and self interest. I loved watching the plot unfold, even if it was a tad predictable at moments. Levenseller does a fantastic job depicting shipboard life, and I was happy with how she provided unique personalities to the men holding Alosa captive. And the relationship between Alosa and Riden was just fun, developing in a way that I found myself riveted to their story. And don’t worry guys; definitely no insta-love in Daughter of the Pirate King, which I feel we can all agree is a wonderful break of YA trope.

Now for a few negative points. Alosa is a strong, willful woman who also spends a good bit of the story being down right pigheaded. Some of her thoughts/comments/decisions left me rolling my eyes in shear annoyance. I am all about a character being flawed, but as I turned that last page, I was hit with the realization that Alosa hadn’t really learned any lessons about equality between men and women. Despite modern social standards, sexism isn’t just aimed at women, and Daughter of the Pirate King is full of rather extreme male sexism. I am hoping that this is rectified as the series progresses, because otherwise I will have to put this series down. Discriminating against someone because of their sex is plain sexism; it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. I also have to point out, that despite the blatant dude-bashing done by Alosa, she is the only fully developed female character in the story. Sure, we are introduced to a few of her all-female crew but I think maybe only one stood out from the rest….yep just one; the assassin. I feel the lack of development is only because Daughter of the Pirate King is Levenseller’s debut novel, and I expect both her plot and character development will only improve with time and experience.

In the end, I couldn’t put Daughter of the Pirate King down. I finished it over a weekend and it is the perfect read for those looking for a light, fun story to embrace the end of summer! I will be picking up the next story, Daughter of the Siren Queen, as soon as it comes out in 2018!

Have you read Daughter of the Pirate King? What are your thoughts? What books are your reading as summer ends?

Lindsay

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Do you know what stinks about a pirate ship?

The poop deck

HAPPY TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

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In honor of one of my favorite cultures, this week will be dedicated to swashbucklers, privateers, buccaneers, pirates! You can expect a couple of pirate book reviews. (Next year I would like a whole month to discuss pirate books and movies!)

Feel free to share your love of piracy, and let me know which books/movies/shows are your favorites. So grab a glass of dark rum with a sliced lime, kick back, and set sail with me this week!

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Check out more pirate jokes here!

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

29430012

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

A Gentleman in Moscow is my favorite new read of 2017. I have heard only wonderful things about Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility, which is currently sitting on my shelves waiting to be read, and decided to pick up A Gentleman in Moscow when my local library offered the audio version. And this novel will make my 2017 favorites list for sure!

I’m not going to provide a summary, because the synopsis is perfect. Instead I am going to share the number one reason I adore A Gentleman in Moscow: Towles’ imagery. Even now, I can taste the Latvian stew served at Christmas and the wild honey crafted from apple blossoms. I can feel the comforting atmosphere of Alexander’s sitting room. I can hear the echo of three decades of feet clicking against the tile floor of the Metropol’s grand entry. I know Alexander’s life and Towles’ writing has painted it for me.

A Gentleman in Moscow is a book about relationships…not necessarily about Russian history. It is a book about old friends and new, familial bindings, lovers, enemies, and the unexpected comrade. In a story that spans over 30 years we meet the people who call Count Alexander Rostov their friend. (I will not provide any details because you need to read of these relationships your self) A Gentleman in Moscow also takes an interesting look on how to handle imprisonment without going insanity. Because even though Alexander lives in a hotel, he is a prisoner. Some reviewers find this life unrealistic; that Alexander’s optimistic response is not natural. I refer the naysayers to the scene where Alexander tries the apple blossom honey. Towels spend the entire story showing readers how focusing on the small gifts of every day life can help a person get through any type of predicament (and I will agree that being imprisoned in a cush hotel doesn’t hurt!)

I do not have any negative comments to share. I will state the negative points brought up by other reviewers are valid, and yet I still find myself thinking of Alexander and his life in the Metropol weeks after finishing the story. I will note that I listened to A Gentleman in Moscow on audiobook and found it enthralling. I am not sure I would have been drawn so quickly into the story if I had read the physical book. This may not have been a book about Russian history, but it has inspired me to do my own research into Russian culture. And in my ‘displaced academic’ opinion…there is no better quality in a book.

Please let me know what you thought about A Gentleman in Moscow and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Lindsay

The Counterfeit Heiress

The Counterfeit Heiress

by Tasha Alexander

19561912

In this thrilling new addition to the New York Times bestselling series, Lady Emily travels to Paris where she struggles to unmask a murderer amid a case of assumed identities and shadowy figures

After an odd encounter at a grand masquerade ball, Lady Emily becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of one of the guests, a sometime actress trying to pass herself off as the mysterious heiress and world traveler Estella Lamar. Each small discovery, however, leads to more questions. Was the intended victim Miss Lamar or the imposter? And who would want either of them dead?

As Emily and Colin try to make sense of all this, a larger puzzle begins to emerge: No one has actually seen Estella Lamar in years, since her only contact has been through letters and the occasional blurry news photograph. Is she even alive? Emily and Colin’s investigation of this double mystery takes them from London to Paris, where, along with their friend Cécile, they must scour the darkest corners of the city in search of the truth.

I get my audiobooks from my local library. Getting audiobooks from the library is a cheap way to make my work commute, and by default my life, much better. However, there is a distinct downside to getting audiobooks from the library. It’s so difficult to read series as my library is notorious for having only 1-2 books in a series and they are ALWAYS random mid series novels. Rarely do I find the first book of the series. How does this happen?! Anyways, this is how I found myself listening to the ninth book in Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series. Normally, I am rather OCD about reading things in the proper order, but I was so intrigued by the mystery that I trudged onward!

Side Note: It is easy to understand my confusion previously mentioned in my review of The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and other Gentlemen. Both authors have the last name Alexander and both books are set in Victorian Europe.

Ok, now for the actual review. I’m going to start with all the positive vibes today! I adored Lady Emily. She is such a sharp, intelligent character who somehow manages to remain kind when irked and socially proper while crawling through a cemetery. Not only is she an investigator (not a woman’s job at that time) but she is also a working mom! Emily is a woman who works because she is passionate about her job. And her relationship her husband, Colin, and her friends were just fun to read. There is no unnecessary tension added for dramatic effect.

Alexander provides extra clues to the reader with a dual timeline: one that follows Emily’s search for Estella and another that documents Estella’s disappearance in the heiress’ own words. The mystery was twisted, unique, and fulfilling. I will admit that I figured out the ending before it happened (it’s easy when following the clues) but I still found myself uttering ‘no way!’ until the very end. Additionally, the detailed descriptions of Victorian life, such as the costume ball and ‘modern’ photography techniques, were outstanding.

I do not really have any negative thoughts to share, besides my library’s lack of audiobooks. (THIS IS THE ONLY TASHA ALEXANDER BOOK THEY HAVE! UGH) I need to read more!

Does anyone else read the Lady Emily mysteries? Tell me what you think!

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Lindsay

Hiatus

I have to apologize y’all.

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I didn’t mean to take a month off of sharing book reviews. After traveling to see the eclipse (AMAZING), getting a summer cold (blah), my family making it through Hurricane Harvey (BLESSED), and now the beautiful beast Irma marching her way slowly towards Florida (sigh) I’ve been a bit distracted and stressed. And I tend to just binge read when stressed…its healthy for me.

Sadly, I haven’t even binge read books in my normal genres…though cozy mysteries about modern witches are still technically mysteries.

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(Don’t worry. I am not ashamed of my reading choice. I binge read these type of books every year as soon as it gets cold outside 😛 I cant help it with fall FINALLY on the way!)

I promise I will be back with more reviews! And I don’t mean in a week or two; I mean soon. Like tomorrow soon….until then I would love to hear what you read when dealing with stress. Let me know!

Lindsay

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by E.L. Konigsburg

1306493

When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it?

Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.

Today’s review is over what some may consider the solving of the most important mystery ever uncovered: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

I actually do not remember reading From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in school. But I vaguely knew the story and would catch myself thinking of it during daydreams, so I must have read it. Thankfully, I was reintroduced to the mystery while birthday shopping for my godson. I stumbled across it on the ‘Back-To-School’ book table at Barnes and Noble and walked out that day with a copy for each of us!

I am not going to share a summary of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The synopsis does a great job and I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun for new readers. I am; however, going to start with the one negative thought I have (might as well just get the pesky bugger out of the way). I can understand why some parents would hesitate to share this story with their kids thanks to the whole running away from home thing. I don’t have any advice for parents. I’m sure there is a way to share the brilliance of this story while also ensuring kids understand that it’s not ok to runaway from home. I’ll just leave it at that. Phew…not that that’s out of the way.

I LOVE From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Love it. I love the interactions between Claudia and Jamie. I I adored Jamie’s penny pinching and sympathized with Claudia’s search for something more. I recognize so much of myself in Claudia Kincaid. We share the same need for a good plan, the want of something unique out of life, and a deep love for the mysterious! I found myself desperate to discover the truth about Angel, and was honestly sad when I had to put the book down and deal with life things.

But there is so much more to From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler than my connection to Claudia. Konigsburg’s brilliance is found in the details of the mundane tasks of bathing, eating regular meals, and washing clothes. She took a fanciful adventure and made it realistic as the children go about ordinary lives in an extraordinary local. And the setting makes you feel as is you are wondering the museum halls hand in hand with the Kincaids. Her story teaches readers that dealing with mundane chores does not mean one has to live a mundane life and that constantly seeking knowledge is essential for a good adventure.

Museums, mystery…what’s not to love?!? From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a story worth revisiting year after year, for as Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler observed, you are never too young to experience and learn something new! And this story is the perfect way to remind yourself of that simple truth!

Please share your thoughts on From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I look forward to hearing them.

Lindsay

Julie of the Wolves

Julie of the Wolves

by Jean Craighead George

Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves, #1)

Miyax, like many adolescents, is torn. But unlike most, her choices may determine whether she lives or dies. At 13, an orphan, and unhappily married, Miyax runs away from her husband’s parents’ home, hoping to reach San Francisco and her pen pal. But she becomes lost in the vast Alaskan tundra, with no food, no shelter, and no idea which is the way to safety. Now, more than ever, she must look hard at who she really is. Is she Miyax, Eskimo girl of the old ways? Or is she Julie (her “gussak”-white people-name), the modernized teenager who must mock the traditional customs? And when a pack of wolves begins to accept her into their community, Miyax must learn to think like a wolf as well. If she trusts her Eskimo instincts, will she stand a chance of surviving?

First school book is Julie of the Wolves! The story of adventure and survival is one I revisit over and over. Here is my original review I shared a few years ago!

Julie, also known as Miyax, is walking from Barrow, Alaska to Point Hope, Alaska.  She is alone on the Arctic tundra and is determined to get passage to San Francisco and a new life.  But she is lost and must rely on the teachings of her father and the help of a wolf pack to survive.  Julie adapts to life on the tundra but still struggles with her identity.  Is she Julie the Alaskan or Miyax the Inupiat?

I first read Julie of the Wolves when I was twelve years old.  I couldn’t put it down.  Here was a young girl (the same age as me) struggling to identify who she was (so was I!) all while surviving on the Alaska tundra.  Plus, she lived with wolves!  I don’t know about y’all, but my dreams at 12 included owning a huge horse ranch with my own pack of tamed wolves.  Yeah, this was the perfect book for me.  I loved it, but a post on The Misfortune of Knowing pushed me to read it again as an adult.  Plus, the story fit in perfectly with my arctic survival theme this month.  I couldn’t put it down!  My skin tingled with goose bumps and a single tear threatened to fall when I turned the last page.  I still love this book!

Now there are some issues with Julie of the Wolves.  The most notable is that it is marketed for 8-10 year olds but contains an attempted rape scene in Part Two.  Julie marries at 13 so she can go to high school.  Her husband, Daniel, has a learning disability but they are content acting like siblings until mocking at school pushes him to force himself on her.  The scene is not descriptive and all that really happens is Daniel rips her dress and pins her to the ground before his fear makes him run.  But, this is not something I would want to explain to an eight year old.  This one paragraph turns many readers away.  I don’t know if the attempted rape is a realistic event, but it fits with the culture and socio-economic issues that plague Julie’s world.

There are so many good lessons found in Julie of the Wolves.  Julie escapes domestic violence and manages to survive in one of the most extreme climates in the world.  She taught me that women could be strong, smart, and resourceful.  George shows the good and bad of all the cultures Julie is exposed to; the gussak (lower 48), the Inupiat, and the wolf.  She shows that it is prudent to hunt for food but wasteful to poach.  Julie learns that she must adapt to survive, both in the wild and in a village.  Julie of the Wolves teaches adaptation, survival, culture, and finding inner strength.  I definitely recommend it.  The good outweighs the bad.

Julie of the Wolves will always be special to me because of its influence on my youth.  What books influenced you during your preteen years?

Lindsay

Back to School!

School has started! I am one of those people who enjoys the start of the fall semester and all the promises of discovery it holds. As such, I wanted to share reviews on favorite stories I discovered during my school days. These novels are historical fiction pieces aimed at youth instead of young/new adults, but each are still very powerful, and adventurous stories. They are all books I find myself consistently rereading as an adult and coming back to over and over again. These are the books, and you can expect a full review of each over this week!

The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by E.L. Konigsburg

1306493

Red Dog

by Bill Wallace

205699

Julie of the Wolves

by Jean Craighead George

Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves, #1)

Let me know if you read any of these! What are your favorite school reads? Happy first day of school!

Lindsay

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen

by Victoria Alexander

 

 

Embark on the breathtaking romantic adventures of The Lady Travelers Society in the brand-new series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander

Really, it’s too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders’s favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what’s a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he’s escorting the world’s most maddening woman to the world’s most romantic city to find her missing relative.

While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she’s certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.

I picked up The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen because the title promised a fun story. I didn’t even read the blurb on the back. I needed an audiobook…the one I came for was checked out…this title caught my eye as I was walking by. Thankfully, I didn’t once regret this impulse read!

Side Note: I initially though The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen was written by the same author as a book I had previously read. A book I will review later this week. I was wrong but you could understand my confusion: Tasha Alexander and Victoria Alexander as somewhat similar names.

I will start this review by saying that I only seem to enjoy reading romance around the holidays. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it is something about that time of year as I only seem to like Hallmark movies around the holidays. Who knows…. So, I may have slightly groaned when I finally realized The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen was a historical romance. I wasn’t really in a mood for a romance; however, I was in the mood for something funny, so I kept listening.

I didn’t stop laughing! Guys, I was laughing OUT LOUD on my morning drive to work. Any book that can make me laugh at 6:30 in the morning is worth its weight in gold! The characters were hilarious; kudos to Victoria Alexander! This book is full of well-rounded, colorful, and unapologetically human characters. I instantly connected with India as her brutal honesty, with both herself and everyone around her, is a trait we share. I also understood her frustration with the awkward self-growth she struggles with. I adored Derek, as his attempts to reign in his aunt’s fraudulent activities and attempts at subterfuge with India were endearing. The banter between Derek and Val had me in stitches every time! The characters are what made The Lady Traveler’s Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen such a wonderful read. I was invested in their journey, and their happiness. Plus, Alexander provides us with a unique lesson on love and acceptance.

So now for the negative points. I only have two to share. First: The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen starts SLOW. I attribute this to India’s rather abrasive personality. She is a hard character to like for the first quarter of the book, but don’t let that deter you. I promise it gets better. Second: the book blurb (once I finally read it) promised a mystery. The whole catalyst for the story is India’s search for her missing cousin, and I expected to read more about the actual search. We get a few details, but sadly the search is very limited, as neither India or Derek are expert investigators. I was slightly disappointed the mystery wasn’t a more prominent aspect of the story. I still enjoyed it! And I picked a mystery up once I had finished this audiobook.

Have I been converted into a romance fan? No. But I am now a fan of Victoria Alexander, and you bet I will be picking up the prequel novella, How to Stop a Wedding in Seven Days or Less, and the sequel, The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger. The sequel is scheduled for release December 2017 and I will have to beg my library to pick up the audiobook version! I anyone else a fan of Victoria Alexander? Have you read The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen? Let me know, and definitely pick up this one if you need a good laugh!

Lindsay