{Book Review} Four Nights With the Duke by Eloisa James

Four Nights With The Duke
Series: Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #2
By: Eloisa James
Published by: Gollancz on July 14th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Library

As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia's audacious proposal, but there's one thing he won't give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil's bargain...he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can't afford to lose.
My first historical romance book by Eloisa James and I am certain it won't be the last! I finished this book in less than 12 hours and enjoyed it very much. The bargain was what drew my attention and made me curious.

The story starts with when Mia and Vander were young. Mia was humiliated when her secret poem to Vander was disclosed but instead of cowering behind, she showed her inner strength when she came out from her hiding spot to face the group of boys who mocked her poem. Vander was with the group. Fast forward many years later, Mia was faced with no choice but to seek Vander for marriage to keep her nephew with her.

What I like about the book is the cast of characters, especially Vander's uncle, who injected some fun into the story with his antics. I like the bickering between Mia and Vander too and how both of them slowly come to terms with their feelings for each other. I also love it that Mia is an author in the book! How exciting! The thing that had me frowning was Mia's low self-esteem due to her figure.

This book can be read as a standalone, which was what I did and I'm ready to dive into the rest of the author's books!

{Bookish Review} Pax by Sara Pennypacker

By: Sara Pennypacker
Published on: February 2nd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: Library

Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds.

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax, this story truly showcases Sara’s mastery of characterization and her fluent ability to pay off small yet beautiful details. The conflicts that Peter faces are mostly internal and center around the anger that has affected both him and his father in the wake of his mother’s unexpected death. Peter can’t shake his grandfather’s claim that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” when he wants so badly to distinguish himself from his closed-off father. Pax’s hardships, on the other hand, are more external; his domestication has left him an unskilled hunter and misled him as to the true nature of men. However, it is the beautifully-crafted characters that Peter and Pax encounter on their separate journeys who ultimately help the protagonists find what they are looking for, in addition to each other. These distinctive and multi-dimensional individuals leave a rare kind of impression on the reader while subtly infusing it with themes of loyalty, self-worth, denial, and truth.
This book really breaks my heart. This story is told from dual POVs--Peter and his pet fox, Pax. Peter was forced to abandon Pax when his father enlists in the war. Peter was then sent to his grandfather's place, where he made the decision to head back to look for Pax against all odds.

Pax believed that Peter will come back for him and waited. However, things were not so smooth for the fox. He needed food and water and there were dangers all around him.

This story about loyalty and friendship touched me. However, for a middle grade fiction, there were mentions of animals being killed and a scene where a landmine detonated. It won't be pleasant for the young ones to be reading these. This story also touches on the element of strength and resilience, when Peter was injured but still determined to find Pax despite his injuries.

Pax is an emotional read about the strong friendship between Peter and Pax and the adventure they had while trying to find each other. I'd advise parental guidance when it comes to reading this book with the younger ones due to the themes of war and death.

{Bookish Review} At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec

At the Stroke of Midnight
Series: Naughty Princess Club #1
By: Tara Sivec
Published on:  February 27th 2018 by Swerve
Genres: Romance
Source: Bought

Once upon a time Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he’s run off with all their money…and the babysitter.

Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they’re mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippity-boppity-boo.

But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy’s happily ever after? At the Stroke of Midnight is a hilarious, empowering story where princesses can save themselves while slaying in stilettos.

At The Stroke Of Midnight centers around Cynthia, a perfect housewife whose husband abandoned her for their babysitter, leaving her and their daughter behind penniless. She tried her best to hide the truth from everyone she knew but things were getting difficult when she faced money problems. She need to get money fast...

I bought this book after reading a review from a book blogger and thought it would be a fun read. At The Stroke Of Midnight is a fast paced book but I could not relate to the characters in it. Sure, it is a fun read but I still could not understand the logic behind their decision to become strippers. To me, she was just whining throughout the book and it annoyed me. The part where she shined was when she stood up against her husband at the end.

This book wasn't for me but if you like the premise, go ahead and read it.

{Bookish Review} Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately
By: Jenn Bennett
Published on: April 4th 2017 by Simon Pulse
Genres: Romance (YA)
Source: Library

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.
Took me a while to get my hands on this book after I saw it on some book blogs. I was already looking forward to reading about how their online identities will be revealed to each other. I wasn't disappointed and I thought that the characters' shock was expressed pretty well.

I felt that the author did a good job in creating relatable characters. I particularly like the friendship between Bailey and Grace. The only thing I wished the author would have touched more upon was the relationship between Bailey and her mom. I felt that it was just a touch and go thing. It would be good if there was more about them.

Overall, Alex, Approximately is an enjoyable and cute read for me even though the plot was predictable. Looking forward to reading other books by the author.

{Bookish Review} Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
By: Neal Shusterman
Published on: November 22nd 2016 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Dystopia (YA)
Source: Library

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

I'm not a very big fan of dystopian reads but somehow the summary of scythe convinced me to give it a try. A world where there is no hunger, no disease, no war and no misery. Plus the fact that there is no death except for death by scythes' hands to keep the population under control. These are what got me thinking about how the story will turn out.

We first learnt about Citra and Rowan (what unique names they have) and their families and how they first came into contact with the scythe who will eventually take them as apprentices. The world building is realistic and kept me engaged throughout the story and I'm impressed by how the story unfolds--the unexpected twists and turns that had me hanging by the edge of my seat.

I really enjoyed reading Scythe, especially about the character growth of Citra. Once I have finished reading Scythe, I went to hunt for the second book immediately. That's how much I really want to continue reading the story.  I'll recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading this genre.

{Bookish Updates} 3 June 2018

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.


It has been almost a month since the last Sunday Post on Bookish Michelle! I put the blame on procrastination and laziness. Didn't get to read as much as I wanted to in May but I will have more time in June since I have reduced the number of my weekend classes. My legs gets tired easily from hours of standing in classroom and  they cramp in the middle of the night while I sleep. It's very awful... That's the downside of pregnancy I guess. I won't be working July so I'll have even more time to read. I'm soooo looking forward to that!

Did some doodling for my online greeting card shop. The website has been down since January as my partner and I were too busy with work to focus on creating new designs. Meanwhile, I've started on working on my graphic tablet and graphic design programme and created a new logo for the shop. My partner is super happy with it and prefers the word version over the round logo version.

I've been taking some drawing and watercolour lessons on Skill Share as well and I'm liking it so far. I'm on 2 months trial and if you'd like to try it out, you can do so via this link here. It's a 2 months trial and if you decide to pay for premium after the trial, I get a month too. ;)

I guess that's enough update for today. On with the bookish stuff!
Last Week On Bookish Michelle

New Books For Bookish Michelle

  • Scythe - Have always wanted to read this and I managed to get a copy from the library! Review coming up this week since I've finished reading it.
  • Dating the Undead - The title caught my attention as I was walking around the library. Borrowed it even though the rating on Goodread was just so so. Hope it's good!
  • Stormswept - Sabrina Jeffries is one of my to-go historical romance author. I didn't know she wrote under other pen names as well.
  • The Creakers - Got to know this book through my Goodreads feed. Some book blogger read this and like it. I'm reading this at the moment. Just started though.
  • Thunderhead - Sequel to Scythe. Scythe is sooooooo good that I borrowed the ebook from the library immediately after finish reading. The library near to my place doesn't hold a copy... 
I just hope that I'll be able to finish reading all the books that I've borrowed. I had to return Alex, Approximately because my loan period is up and I can't renew the book. I couldn't really get into the book but I'll try again!

{Bookish Finds} Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)
By: Laura Sebastian
Published on: April 24th 2018 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genres: YA Fantasy

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.
Found this book in the catalogue from one of the local bookstores in Singapore and the super short summary there caught my attention. I went to Goodreads immediately and found out that this is actually the first book in the trilogy which was released this year. This means to say that if I were to get this book, I have to wait for quite some time before being able to continue the story. Should I get this? Will you get this book if you are interested in it, like I do?