Tag Archives: Period Literature

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
Book Reviews
February 28, 2013 posted by Nichole

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

15745753“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
”I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under


As many of you know, I am extremely picky when it comes to contemporary books. In order to make me fall head over heels in love, the book must contain witty and relatable characters, a beautiful romance that slowly progresses, heartbreaking scenes, and intense topics. Lucky for me, Eleanor & Park contained all of that.

The best thing about Eleanor & Park was Eleanor. Eleanor lived in a house with an abusive stepfather, a coward of a mother, and four little siblings that knew when to hide and to keep their mouths shut. She had barely any personal possessions, washed her hair with dish soap, did not own a toothbrush, had weight problems, and dressed like a homeless hippy on a daily basis. There are not enough words to describe Eleanor, but if I had to try I would use words such as brave, strong, lovable, independent, remarkable and beautiful. She was my favorite character in the whole book, and I honestly could just read about her all day long.

This book has so. many. feels. I laughed out loud. I cried. I bawled. I smiled. I cringed. There were even times I wanted to throw the book clear across the room. Thankfully it was on my nook, and I have more control than that. I haven’t cried over a book since the last Harry Potter, but I was an emotional basketcase almost from the very beginning. The first time I cried was when Park’s mother realized what kind of homelife Eleanor came from. Reading about his mom breaking down broke me down completely. The second and last time I cried was when Park’s dad opened up to Eleanor and basically told her she was a part of the family. Reading about Eleanor’s homelife was tragic and depressing, but reading about Park’s parents caring enough about her to do something about it was an entire different level for me.

Park and Eleanor’s relationship was just so adorable. They were snarky, hesitant, in love, crazy, and just teenagers. I felt like both characters really grew as the story progressed, which made their relationship more mature and romantic.

I would have rated this book 5 stars, but I had to dock it down to a 4 for a few reasons. Let’s start with Park. I found Park to be a good character, but he really grated on my nervous…especially during the last half of the book. I found him to be a little controlling, a little dumb in the girl department, and wayyyy needy. Also, I know that teenagers spout off the words “I love you” like they really know what they mean, but he got on my last nerve every time he said it. I also didn’t like how he accused Eleanor of bullying herself and making things up. I think it was at that point that I really started to despise his character.

Eleanor’s mom made it really difficult to stick with the book at times. I have no respect for any woman who lets a man beat her up and terrorize her kids. It’s one thing if you’re by yourself, but when you have 5 kids it is your responsibility to woman up and get yourself and your children out of a horrible situation and homelife. The mom absolutely disgusted me.

Most of all, I had a problem with the ending of the book. I was not a fan of the ending. I read this book and fell in love with the story and the characters, and then the ending just plummeted. Not only that, but the ending left a lot of questions, and I don’t think that this is a series. What happened to the mom and the kids? Did they ever reunite with Eleanor? What became of Eleanor and Park later on? What happened to the step father? On one hand, this ending is perfect because the reader can decide what happens. But I’m not the type of reader who can finish a book and then make those decisions. So the only thing that’s going through my head is the ending that Rowell provided, and I don’t like it.

Overall, I found Eleanor & Park to be a beautiful read. It swept me off my feet and twisted me all over the place as emotion after emotion blindsided me. Eleanor & Park’s relationship is one for the records, and I hope to read more about them in the future. Fans of Catherine by April Lindner will really enjoy this one!


Pages: 320

Publication Date: February 26th, 2013

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Rating: : ★★★★☆


Teaser Quote: “Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.”

She shook her head. “Don’t.”


“Don’t talk about after.”

“I just meant that… I want to be the last person who ever kisses you, too…. That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I’m trying to say is, you’re it. This is it for me.” 




Book Reviews
October 5, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles) – Kady Cross

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help – and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on – even it if seems no one believes her.

The Girl in the Steel Corset was my first steampunk novel and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, it blew me away. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to read it all in one sitting, but by the time I got to the middle of the book, I absolutely could not put it down.

I was captivated immediately by the character of Finley, Kady Cross’s new version of Jekyll and Hyde. Finley’s dual personalities are riveting and I like that everyone immediately understands that Finley is two different people in one body. The characters of Steel Corset aren’t blind and oblivious. They are incredibly smart, talented, stubborn, and unique. It’s impossible to really dislike any character due to the fact that they all have so many layers to their personalities – layers that Cross peels back and explores in full.

The ensemble cast is one of the biggest highlights of the first novel in The Steampunk Chronicles. Cross seamlessly weaves from one character’s viewpoint to another. Though the majority of the novel is told from Finley’s and Griff’s points of view, we also spend time in the minds of Sam, Emily, and even The Machinist. Telling a story from multiple points of view increases the suspense and allows us to connect to each character more fully, which is very important when dealing with such a large cast.

In addition to phenomenal character development, this book is packed with action. There are multiple plot lines and conflicts existing at once, thus there’s never a dull moment. But at no point does it seem like there’s too much going on or like Cross has bitten off more than she can chew. The entire plot seems well-thought out and leaves the reader feeling as if Steel Corset is only the beginning of what’s sure to be a thrilling ride.

If forced, I could only cite a few faults. The first would be that I really can’t decide who I like better: Griff or Jack Dandy? Sam or Jasper? Finley and Emily certainly have their hands full with those boys. I would also say that the mystery of The Machinist’s identity is a little predictable, but not in a bad way. Sometimes it feels good, as a reader, to solve mysteries on your own. Plus, all the events surrounding The Machinist, including the end of the book, are anything but predictable.

As an added bonus, the story’s set in 1897 England, which means awesome outfits as well as a fun mixture of futuristic inventions and long-forgotten customs (and, oh yeah, masquerade balls, anyone?). Basically, there’s nothing not to love about Steel Corset. Luckily, this is just the beginning.

Pages: 473
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “He walked her into the moonlight as though escorting her into a ball. Even though she knew she could snap his neck in an instant, she felt slightly off center—somewhat as her other half had with Griffin. Dandy had power, and that gave him confidence.”

The Luxe – Anna Godbersen
Book Club Read
March 5, 2009 posted by Nikki

The Luxe – Anna Godbersen

Love a good scandal? Then you’re going to love this. The Luxe is like Jane Austen meets Gossip Girl, and there is not one part of that combination that I don’t adore. Set in the 1900’s, this tale is overflowing with love, betrayal, deceit, and all those other juicy things that made the books we love so perfect. With New York as its backdrop, The Luxe follows the lives of five individuals whose lives are more intertwined than one could possibly imagine.

Elizabeth is the eldest of the Holland daughters and is now of marriageable age. Since her father died, the Holland family has been suffering financial difficulty and Lizzie’s mother thinks its time she married her daughter off to a nice rich family who can provide a life of security and wealth for the Holland’s once more. When her mother arranges for her to be married off to Henry Schoonmaker – the most eligible (and wealthiest) bachelor in all of New York – despair clutches at Elizabeth more than one could possibly imagine. You see, Elizabeth has been having a secret affair with someone else – someone that, if her mother ever found out, she would be forbidden from seeing ever again…

Lina knows Elizabeth’s secret, however. She’s a servant in the Holland household, and Elizabeth’s own personal maid. Lina sees Lizzie sneaking out of Will’s room one night and her heart shatters into a thousand tiny pieces. Lina always wanted Will to herself and is horrified to learn that Lizzie – the perfect girl who has everything – has the one thing in the world she wants more than anything. Lina is a vindictive girl who will stop at nothing to attain her glory, or her man.

Lina is a bit like Penelope in that sense, which is why is it entirely unsurprising that their paths eventually meet. In a moment of fury, Elizabeth fires Lina and within the hour, Lina finds herself homeless. As she’s walking on the sidewalk, Penelope’s carriage trots alongside her and the two get chatting. Lina knows exactly who Penelope is and strikes a deal with the malicious woman in red that can only lead to Elizabeth’s demise. You see, Penelope has it bad for Henry and is horrified to learn of his engagement to her friend, Elizabeth. But with Lina’s help, Penelope orchestrates a plan to put a stop to their engagement and steal the bachelor for herself.

Henry, however, isn’t interested in Penelope in that way. Sure, they’ve had many a night together and they’ve done things that unmarried people simply should not do, but Penelope isn’t the kind of girl he could ever see himself marrying. But neither is Elizabeth. Henry – like Elizabeth – is forced into the arrangement by his parents. Then one day whilst calling on his fiancé, Henry is introduced properly to her sister, Diana, and is immediately taken by her brash persona. She’s beautiful, in an artistic way, and is everything he wants in a woman. Henry embarks on the pursuit of his life – to make Diana fall in love with him.

And she does. Diana is not a flip person and is taken by surprise that her feelings for Henry are so strong. He’s rude, unapologetic and ridiculously over-confident. But she wants him – badly. But he is destined to marry her sister, who is in love with someone else altogether. The whole thing is a bit of a mess and Diana finds herself in the stickiest of situations.

As the lives of New York’s elite become more and more tangled, you’ll be unable to put the book down. Anna Godbersen writes with a beauty so rich it is as if she actually lived in New York during the nineteen century.

Godbersen’s characters are dynamic and successfully incited emotions in me so powerful that I actually had to get up off the couch and pace while I read. I fell in love, learned the true power of what it feels like to hate, and became a complete slave to the pages the further I got into the novel.

Each page oozes with elegance, and like most guilty pleasures in life, is positively addictive. Watch out for the cliffhanger ending, though, as it will leave you breathless beyond your wildest dreams. Thankfully the second novel, Rumours, is in stores as we speak, with the third installment on the way…

Girls everywhere will love this novel. Jane Austen, eat your heart out!

Rating:: ★★★★★

P.S – We’re actually reading The Luxe for our bookclub choice this month. Click here to join the discussion.