For What It's Worth

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

review: Alex & eliza by Melissa de la Cruz


32860355Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York.


As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.


Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher

Review:
Let me preface this review by saying I haven't seen Hamilton – the musical – or knew very much about the history of either Alexander Hamilton or Elizabeth Schuyler. I’ve noticed that a lot of readers who read this based on their love of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical seem disappointed. Since the publisher is really pushing this one to fans of the musical, I think it’s fair that readers have certain expectations. Since I have nothing to compare the book too – my opinion might not be yours.

I really enjoyed Alex & Eliza even though it’s a slow moving and understated romance. Certainly not the “Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.” sweeping romance I was expecting from the summary.

Honestly, it’s your basic historical romance set up. The girls of the Schuyler family are coming to a certain age and need to get married. ASAP! because the Schuyler finances aren’t that great and they need to get those girls paired off with rich men to save their reputation and property.

Of course, Eliza is going to be feisty and all – I will only marry for love!

Then she meets Alex and she is smitten with him despite the rumors of his rakish behavior and being the bearer of bad news against her father. Alex, in turn, loves Eliza’s sharp mind and understated poise. Alex believes he’s not of her social status and they keep getting separated by events and spend most of the book pining rather than wooing.

Despite all of this though – I kind of liked it - because of Eliza.

Eliza is a really delightful character. She wants to help the men in the war effort and really puts herself out there to do so, helping to vaccinate soldiers against small pox for example. She’s not a wild trouble maker or anything but she stands up for her convictions which I loved about her.

Her sisters, Peggy and Angelica, were interesting as well. They each knew what they wanted for themselves even if it meant marrying for convenience or money. Women didn’t have options back then but they both took control of the things that they could and did what was best for them. 

Alexander, on the other hand, was pretty boring and wishy washy. I understand that, as an orphan with no family, he didn’t feel he could ask for Eliza’s hand but because of that, nothing much happens with him as a character. Meanwhile Eliza’s leading a pretty bold and interesting life for a woman in those times. I honestly wish the book was just about her and her brushes with history during the Revolutionary War - which were rather extensive because of her family connections.

There’s a bit of a forced conclusion that finally forces our pair together and I wasn’t a fan. *Highlight for mild spoilers: Alex saves Eliza from a sexual assault.*

As far as historical accuracy goes…I did a little research after I finished and little was known about Alex & Eliza's romance so de la Cruz took some creative liberties to fill in those details but the historical references to the time, places, people and events seem accurate.

*Highlight for a real Alex/Eliza spoiler that ruins the whole”epic love story” thing lol - despite this being a love for the ages, Hamilton had a year long affair with Maria Reynolds, and was subsequently blackmailed by her husband, while Eliza was pregnant with their  seventh child.*

Alex & Eliza wasn't quite the book I was expecting but I recommend it if you're looking for lighter historical fiction with a dash of real life history and romance but not overly heavy laden with substance. It's a cute story - just not an epic romance that shaped a nation kind of story. If you manage your expectations it's a fun read.

*The publisher tweeted the other day that Penguin has picked up Alex & Eliza's story for a book #2. I bet now that we have the set up already, the next book will be more exciting with them being together more. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

monday mini’s...


Just a couple today - I didn't have a chance to read much this past week and I hope to have a full review up for Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz on Wednesday.

AND I only ONE more book left from my April TBR pile to read so that's exciting! It's the little things in a blogger's life that makes us happy. lol


29468046
 Black Widow: Red Vengeance (Black Widow #2) by Margaret Stohl


The Avengers’ iconic master spy is back, and she’s seeing red.
Emotions are dangerous, which is why the graduates of Moscow’s famed spy school the Red Room are taught to keep their enemies close and their loved ones at a distance. Black Widow and Red Widow, also known as Natasha Romanov and Ava Orlova, forgot that lesson once, and they won’t forget it again. ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher via ALA16

My thoughts: I hadn’t realized that this was the second book in a series. I figured it would be ok and easy to catch up to speed anyway but I was wrong. It’s clear some big stuff went down in book #1 Forever Red, and as someone unfamiliar with BW and S.H.I.E.L.D, I wasn’t able to fill in the missing pieces so I DNF’d this one. I do hope to pick up the first book at some point and come back to it. It in no way reflects the quaility of writing in this case.


30814007 Danced Close (Portland Heat #6) by Annabeth Albert ~ Goodreads

Source: Purchased

My thoughts: I love, love, love Albert’s M/M romances and Danced Close was no exception. Todd is a recovering addict, living with his mother trying to believe that he’s worth this second chance at life. While Kendall is a wedding planner, identifies as a Genderqueer man with a femme style that often leaves him facing ridicule and preconcieved notions when it comes to boyfriends.  It’s a really quiet kind of story. No big drama or angst – just two men learning that they are deserving of love and taking that leap to believe in each other. They were both so sweet and thoughtful to each other that I felt all warm and squishy inside reading this one.



Friday, April 21, 2017

friday fast 5


1.

I mentioned on last week’s FF5 that I was going to watch Kubo and the Two Strings on Netflix. I did and it was fantastic! And I loved this version of Guitar Gently Weeps by Regina Spektor that played at the end of the movie.


2.

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I love the art of tattooing but most of the television shows I’ve seen are reality shows and that’s not my thing. I stumbled upon Tattoo Age on VICE and it really dives into the artistry and the people behind the tattoo's. Each episode is an hour long and features one artist. Really good show!

3.

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I loved this discussion post over at Ksenia’s blog – Something Delicate about book hype

I think every person who has a book blog has dealt with this issue in some way. Go forth to Ksenia’s blog and discuss!

4.


I have VERY limited crafting skills but I saw these cute origami bookmark corners on Instagram and decided to give it a go. It was actually really simple and if I can do it – you can do it!

Here are a few links to get you started if it’s something you want to try.


If you Google origami bookmarks, you’ll see lots of options like this cat, embellished, monsters, foxes to name just a few.

*Tip: when working with patterned paper, lay the side you want as your color/pattern face down. I actually used to sheets of contrasting paper on the orange and blue ones so there would be contrast. So the inside of the bookmark will be the side facing up when you are folding. Hope that makes sense. I didn’t see that mentioned in any of my tutorials.

*And that really big heart on the bottom right in the top picture is over sized – I was practicing with a larger sheet of paper first. You’ll want to use a 4x4 sheet so it fits on the corner of the page neatly.

5.

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And finally – how cute are these book-ish shoes from Groove Bags??!!!

They have sneakers, tote & handbags, socks, pillows for almost any hobby. Photogrophy, horses, cats, sewing, music, theatre, baking…

At the time of writing this post, everything was on sale & a 10% off coupon popped up while I was there.

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In case you missed it this week on the blog:

Monday mini's
Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Happy TGIF everyone!