2021 Quarterly Bookshelf (January – March)

Here we go again! Welcome back to the second year of my “Quarterly Bookshelf” where I talk about the books that I have read within a three-month period. I cannot believe this is the second year and it is going to be epic!

I have a reading goal of 20 books this year. (If you do not remember or you are new here, last year I had a reading goal of 15 books.) I have faith that I can complete it!

Something new I have added on these posts is my personal rating of the books that I have read. While that information is typically found on my Goodreads account, I figured it would not hurt to have it here as well. However, if you are interested in reading any of these books do not let my thoughts and rating influence that decision.

Another thing I have created for this year is located on my Instagram. Right after I finish reading book I post on my Instagram Stories a “24-Hour Book Review”. In this quick review I give your the title, author, my rating, and a little review of the book. Mostly it is if I liked it or not. It only lasts for a 24-hour period so if you are curious, check out my Instagram: @LorraineDaisy18

As a little disclaimer, you may see that there were parts of certain books that I did not like. That does not make me like the series any less than before. I personally think as a fan of something you do not have to like everything and you can dislike parts for various reasons which in turn does not make you any less of a fan than someone else.

*Beware! There might be some spoilers in my reviews!*

Eclipse (Twilight, #3) by Stephenie Meyer

“In the dead silence, all the details suddenly fell into place for me with a burst of intuition. Something Edward didn’t want me to know. Something that Jacob wouldn’t have kept from me…It was never going to end, was it?…” (Full Summary)

Where to start with this book. Let’s start with the issue of imprinting. It is first introduced in this book and it bothers the heck out of me. I am “meh” about it when both characters are age appropriate however I am not happy about a young child being the subject of it. (Spoiler Alert: In the next book, the imprinting is still around and did not get better but this is how I interpret it.) We are only showcased imprinted pairs in a romantic setting, even though in this book it is stated the imprint could be anything the other wants like a brother or a protector. Until it is showcased in a platonic relationship or any other type of relationship, I will stand on the side of not liking imprinting. Moving on to another topic, I believe Jacob Black should not have survived the newborn battle. (Or a less dark thought, been able to move on from Bella Swan in all aspects.) Jacob was so pushy with Bella and he manipulates her into doing things that she has stated “no” to him before. I find it dangerous that Jacob does not take “no” for an answer. I am not saying that Edward is perfect because we all know he is not. (Sorry! But I am still Team Edward.) Overall, this book did introduce what it means to be a newborn vampire and how dangerous one can be. It was interesting to learn more about the vampire world throughout. At the end of the day, it did have some good parts of the book and ended the chapter on James and Victoria.

My Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4) by Stephenie Meyer

“When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one?…” (Full Summary)

After almost thirteen years, I have finally finished The Twilight Saga. (About ten years ago I stopped reading this book when I had about 130 pages left and then never picked it up until 2021!) It is a nice feeling to finally finish, however that does not make this book move up in my list. Starting with the beginning, I really enjoyed the wedding and the honeymoon part. However, I will be honest that I kind of wish they did not since Bella Swan did not express interest in wanting to be married. Being in love was enough for her. Another part that does bother me is the introduction of a child. I never got the mothering feeling from her. And it still seems very random to add it into the last book with no other mentions in the rest of the series. Now onto Jacob Black’s point-of-view is one of the annoying parts of this book. I did not care for the change in point-of-view since IT DID NOT HAPPEN IN ANY OF THE OTHER BOOKS! It kind of just throws off the groove and ruins the story for me. I would have liked to know Bella’s point-of-view of when she is pregnant just like how we know all her thoughts throughout the rest of the story. (I did skim read this section of the book during this read but I have read in detail in the past when I was “Team Jacob” so I felt like I was missing nothing important.) And then the imprinting. While I have some faults with Renesmee, I do not support the imprint or a romantic relationship with Jacob. (Even though she is a child in this book, all of the past imprints, expect for Quil’s, has showcased a romantic relationship. There has not been a platonic relationship showcased in the books.) Jacob was way too entangled with Bella and Edward for almost three of the four books to not make an extremely weird and uncomfortable romantic relationship with Renesmee work. (As stated in my “Eclipse” review, Jacob should have died in the newborn battle and all of this would have been avoided. I also say three out of four books because Jacob was not a major factor in the first book.) Onto the third part where Bella’s point-of-view returns and she is now a newborn vampire! When the previous book stated how hard it was for a newborn vampire, I felt that Bella became too perfect at being one. She was able to deal with blood lust and not hurt humans right off the bat. She still has her father and shapeshifter friends in her “new” life. While I enjoyed meeting the other vampires that the Cullen’s know, the ending just fell flat for me. (The movie for the end of “Breaking Dawn” did a much better job and actual put some action into a very boring talk.) I also found Renesmee a bit annoying and again a little too perfect. Everyone who was introduced to her was in love with her afterwards. It just was a bit too perfect. (I know I keep using that word but that is the best word to described it at the moment.) Overall, it was a descent ending to the saga but I wish there was just more action and sacrifice and a tad less happily ever after. (Wow…I just went a bit dark!)

My Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

“Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality…” (Full Summary)

There is something about this book and story that makes me very interested in it. At the current moment, I have no words on what is keeping me interested. Probably has to do with the characters and the world but I know something is there. I find Jude to be an interesting character and I am curious on how her relationship with Cardan will play out in the next book. Overall, I did find this book to be enjoyable and I plan on reading the next book in the series to find out more about Jude and Cardan’s journey.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses, #1) by Harper St. George

“Even a fortune forged in railroads and steel can’t buy entrance into the upper echelons of Victorian high society–for that you need a marriage of convenience…” (Full Summary)

I am definitely a lover of historical romance! So starting strong on my first historical fiction book this year. I really enjoyed this book and exploring the world of American Heiresses marrying English men who hold titles but are low on funds. This might sound familiar because of Downton Abbey whom Cora and Robert were in a similar situation where Robert needed money and held a title and Cora was American and rich. From what I understand it was a common practice back in the day. While this book does not stand out in the crowd, I do think it is a worthy read. Plus who wouldn’t want to marry some one with a title. Okay, our main character does not care about the title so I guess that is okay. There is a sequel coming out with her sister being the main lead, so I cannot wait to pick that one up when it comes out.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1) by Julia Quinn

“In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood…” (Full Summary)

First off, I did watch the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix before reading the books. (I actually never heard of the series until the show was out and everyone was raving about it on social media.) I did enjoy the tv show and I am excited for the second season whenever it comes out. Now onto the book review of the first one. I am not the biggest fan of Daphne or Simon. They do not annoy me or anything but there is nothing that makes them stand out for me. I find them pretty standard romance novel characters. I did find the latter part of the book to be much better and more enjoyable than the first half was. I did make sure to only read the first epilogue for the time being because I have heard the second one gives spoilers for the later books. (I will read the newer epilogues when I am finished with all the books!) This book did not stand out in a crowd for me but that might be due to the tv show as which I felt did a good job on showcasing Daphne and Simon’s relationship from the books but still did not interest me and make me invested in their love story. I am excited to continue on with the rest of the books and see what happens to the other members of the Bridgerton members.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2) by Julia Quinn

“But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom…” (Full Summary)

We have the first five star rating of the year! This book was huge improvement from the first one. I have really grown to love Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield. The reason I think this book was an improvement was due to both of our main characters had something to overcome. In this book you learn how Anthony’s father passed away and how much that affected him back then and in the present. As well, Kate had a personal trauma stemming from childhood that affected her in a way as well. And how I love Kate and how she does not take anything that Anthony does. (I have some high hopes for the show and I hope they get the right actress to play this character!) I also felt we got to drive deeper into how much the Bridgerton’s love each other. This also stems to Kate’s family as well with her stepmother and half-sister. Definitely going to be rereading this book in the future!

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3) by Julia Quinn

“Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother…” (Full Summary)

This one was definitely a favourite of mine alongside the second book! (I cannot possibly choose between Anthony or Benedict now! They are both favourites of mine!) I did like the Cinderella aspect of the book. It was done very nicely and not over the top. While it was present throughout it was only the beginning that felt the most like a fairy tale. I do find this one to be a bit more spicy in the romance. A nice little change from the previous two books when all things happened after the couple was married. And oh how I loved Sophie and Benedict’s banter between each other. So much angst but so worth it in the end! (If only the books were a tad bit longer because I need more!)

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgertons, #4) by Julia Quinn

“Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London. Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for…well, it feels like forever…” (Full Summary)

This is again one of those books that gets really going right at the end and then just ends. I did not realise that I was that at the end until I flipped over to the epilogue. While I did enjoy seeing Colin Bridgerton finally realise his love for Penelope Featherington, the dead stop ending was something that I was not expecting. I would have like to have seen the direct aftermath of Colin and Penelope’s announcement. I felt like it was cut too soon and I wanted more. (Maybe the next book goes into that a bit?) I did like that we found who Lady Whistledown was in book four verses the TV show which gave away the answer way too soon in my opinion. (I mean look at “Gossip Girl”. We did not know who it was until the last episode of the last season.) Colin and Penelope’s relationship is the cutest and the most fluffy. The classic girl-next-door gets the one who she has been in love since the beginning.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh (The Marriage Game, #2) by Ella Quinn

“Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for…” (Full Summary)

I am really going down the historical romance rabbit hole and I do not mind one bit! I picked up this book in my local Safeway and I was not disappointed. (I have been known to pick up books wherever I am at. I have done it a few times in airports.) However, I was not expecting getting two stories within one book. Typically I have read romance books where it is mostly focused on one couple but this book gave us two romances. Anna Marsh and Sebastian were our main character and I really loved their chemistry together. And how they kind of knew that they were meant for each other even though it took some time. And the little surprise that happened about halfway or so was beautiful done. Overall, I really good historical romance novel.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons, #5) by Julia Quinn

“Sir Phillip knew from his correspondence with his dead wife’s distant cousin that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he’d proposed, figuring that she’d be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except…she wasn’t…” (Full Summary)

Another Bridgerton book finished! And the first one where our love interest has children already from another marriage. I felt like this book was an improvement from the last book. (Sorry Colin and Penelope!) It was very Eloise to run to some man’s house whom she had only talked to through letters. It just felt right with her character in the books. (If they get to this storyline in the TV show, then I am curious how they would play it out.) I did like the relationship with Phillip and Eloise, even though there were moments I was a bit mad at him for his actions but in the end all was well and I enjoyed the book very much.

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons, #6) by Julia Quinn

“In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one’s life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London’s most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton…” (Full Summary)

At first I was not sure about this book. (In the TV show, Francesca is sent to Bath for most of the show so we do not get to know much about her.) She is the first Bridgerton siblings to have a second husband. So with all that in mind, I really enjoyed this story. It felt kind of like a slow-burn in the terms of a romance novel and when Francesca and Michael finally declared love for each other, it ended very nicely. Even though we are only barely introduced to Francesca’s first husband, it was nice to know it was a love match as well but I feel Michael is defiantly a better pick. (And as usually, I am curious if they get to this storyline in the show, what will they do? I am so curious with what goes on with the show storyline since it is already changed from the books in some areas.)

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

It’s in His Kiss (Bridgerton, #7) by Julia Quinn

“Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth’s sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past…” (Full Summary)

Our last female Bridgerton sister is now off to find her love match! In previous books, I feel like we do not get to know much about the younger siblings until the later books. (Which is due to publication and how the author writes her books) It was nice to finally get to know Hyancith Bridgerton. We also get some more information about Lady Danbury and get to know her family since our male character, Gareth St. Clair, is her grandson. Love getting more background information for characters we have know throughout the series. Another good book from the series.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgerton, #8) by Julia Quinn

“Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except…” (Full Summary)

What a rollercoaster of a book this one was! And so much pining happening, even more so in the later half of the book. Even though I knew Gregory Bridgerton would get together with Lucy, there was that feeling of maybe not. This was one book that things just kept happening and I had to know what was next. So much action and all was well in the end. It was a nice book to end on for the main Bridgerton book series. (I do not know when I will pick up any of the others in the world but I cannot wait until that day!) And the 2nd epilogue was defiantly not something I was expecting but all was good and well. Our characters are living their happily ever afters.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

“When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn…” (Full Summary)

My review has not really changed expect for that I have fallen more in love with this book since the last time I read back in 2020! There was something about this reread that made me love the story even more than before. Maybe that has to do with wanting to cosplay Edythe Cullen, our vampire love interest. (I am excited to bring her to life using her past, present, and future! So many ideas keep coming into my mind.) If someone asked me what was my favourite book from the Twilight universe, I would have to say this one. I love the similarities and differences it has to the original story. It is defiantly a comfort book of mine! You can check out my previous review of this book here.

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan

“Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him…” (Full Summary)

It has been some time since I last read this book and it still very much brings me a lot of joy. I first read this book way back in middle school and became obsessed with it then! It felt like going home in a way and it was a nice feeling. I plan on rereading the rest of the series sometime in the future. (I keep adding new books into my collection so I never know which one I will pick up next!) Even though it is a children’s book, I still highly recommend this book series and the rest of what Rick Riordan’s written.

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness

“In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont…” (Full Summary)

I do not know how many times I need to say it but people really need to read this book! This book and the other ones that follow are so good and are exacted what I wanted to read for the longest time. This was reread of this book and I am still very much in love with it. The characters and the world building are done so well. (The first time I read this series, probably only days went by before I decided to cosplay the main character, Diana Bishop.) I love the relationship between Diana and Matthew Clairmont. Definitely a favourite pairing I love from the fictional world. And please go and read it!

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Congratulations if you made it to this point, you have finished! I was pleasantly surprised how many books I read at the beginning of the year. Now onto a new month / quarter of 2021!

Lots of Love,
Shannon

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