I’ve got a couple books which were sent to me to review…that I’m here…to review…
Matrimony, Inc. by Francesca Beauman
My Edition: ARC Paperback –196 pages – 2020 – Pegasus Books – ISBN: 9781643135786 (hardcover)
Thank you to Wunderkind PR and the publisher for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
As someone who exited a 10-year relationship last fall and has vaguely contemplated returning to the dating scene, I was interested to learn about the history of personal ads and how they lead to today’s apps. And as a Massachusetts local, I found it kind of cool that the first personal ad appeared in the Boston Evening Post back in 1759.
If you’re looking for a quick little background on the evolution of personal ads from men seeking women, to women seeking men, the reasons people placed these ads, and how they grew into the variety of dating apps people use today, then you’ll probably be interested in this book.
I did find it a little dry at times, but it was neat to read the old ads and get some backstories about some of the people who placed them. Most of them were well-meaning, but there are definitely a few who used the ads to take advantage of others and cause harm.
I also learned that T.G.I. Friday’s was founded by a guy who bought his local tavern and made it more female-friendly because he was tired of hanging out with a bunch of dudes. Who knew?
While I wasn’t totally engrossed, given how short the book is, it’s probably worth a read if you’re interested in the topic.
A Cloud of Outrageous Blue written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper
My Edition: Hardcover – 307 pages – 2020 – Alfred A. Knopf – ISBN: 9781524700416
Thank you to Blue Slip Media and the publisher for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
Edyth finds herself sent to live in a priory after the death of her parents and separation from her brother and the boy she loves. She must learn to navigate this new way of life and determine whether to keep the things that make her different a secret. As she struggles with life in the priory, whispers of a deadly disease circulate outside the priory, and Edyth must determine if her secrets can help save those around her.
This book was hard for me to describe in an enticing way because I honestly found it a bit boring.
My favorite parts were the illustrations; Vesper’s style is somewhat simplistic but flowing and colorful. Several of the prints throughout the book would look excellent framed. I always appreciate when books are illustrated, especially if they’re YA or adult – who says older readers can’t enjoy illustrations!?
Unfortunately, the story just didn’t capture me. I did like that the main character had synesthesia; to my recollection, I’ve never read a book where any character had synesthesia. It added a lot of color to the story and really helped integrate the illustrations. Overall though, I wasn’t very interested in Edyth’s journey.
At times the conversations and tone also felt a little too modern. When Edyth and her boyfriend were speaking to each other, they felt more like modern teens than kids living in the like… the 1300s or something. There was also a conversation about some peasants who were gossipy and mean. Not saying that peasants couldn’t be mean back then, but my guess would be they would likely be too busy trying to survive to spend a lot of time gossiping. Little details like that brought me out of the setting.
Also, I know the book follows a girl who works in a priory, but she’s not actually on the path to becoming a nun, so when the religious element really picked up in the end, it threw me up a bit. Just not my cuppa.
This is by no means a bad book, it just wasn’t the right book for me. If you’re looking for a historical YA set in a priory, and/or a book with an MC who has synesthesia, then you might want to check this out.