Genre: Historical Fiction

Review: The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh

Posted February 22, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Wages of Sin by Kaite WelshReviewer: Holly
The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh
Series: Sarah Gilchrist #1
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Audible Plus
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh's medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and perhaps worst of all her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.

Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city's ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St. Giles Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah's patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.

Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patients, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh's dank alleyways, bawdy houses, and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh's most lucrative trades, and in doing so, puts her own life at risk.

An irresistible read with a fantastic heroine, a beautifully drawn setting, and fascinating insights into what it was like to study medicine as a woman at that time, The Wages of Sin is a stunning debut that heralds a striking new voice in historical fiction.

I chose this audiobook because the narrator, Mary Jane Wells, is lovely. I was browsing the audiobooks she’s narrated on Audio Plus and came across this one. I thought the blurb sounded interesting, and I’ve been in the mood for gothic mysteries lately. This novel is set in the Victorian era.

Sarah Gilchrist was sexually assaulted by a peer, and therefore “compromised”. As a result, she’s been sent to Edinburgh to live with her aunt and uncle while she attends medical school. She, and a handful of other girls, are the first female students studying to become doctors. Their plight is difficult, but Sarah loves medicine and truly wishes to help those in need. She volunteers her time at a low-end clinic for prostitutes, which is where she meets Lucy. Lucy, a young proustite, is pregnant and very upset about it, but Sarah sees a lot of herself in Lucy and can’t stop thinking about her. This is why she’s shocked and upset when Lucy’s body turns up as a dissection specimen a few days later. They claim Lucy committed suicide, but things don’t add up and Sarah begins to investigate. Her main suspect is none other than one of her professors, but as she gets deeper into her investigation, the more she realizes she may be in danger as well.

I enjoyed the narration, and the story was told well, but the main character, Sarah, made a lot of questionable decisions. She was forced to spend time in a Sanatorium after her attack because she kept blaming her attacker. Plus, the novel was extremely dark and depressing. Just when I thought things couldn’t be any more bleak, we’d be hit with another sad, sorry fact about the fate of women and their lack of rights in the 1890s.

I appreciated the strength of character it took for Sarah to stay on her current path, despite (or perhaps in spite of) the misfortunes she suffered in the past. But her blithely following said path without a thought to her safety or the consequences of her actions was frustrating. I wasn’t surprised by any of the revelations, but I did enjoy Sarah’s surprise, so I guess there’s that.

Though I enjoyed parts of this, I don’t believe I’ll continue with the series. Sarah didn’t endear herself enough for me to want to read more books from her point of view.

3.25-3.5 out of 5

Sarah Gilchrist

three-half-stars


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Rowena’s Monthly TBR Pile: April 2020

Posted April 13, 2020 by Rowena in Features | 1 Comment

So, every month I put a list together of the books that I either need to read for review or the books that I want to get around to reading (finally). I’m also trying to be more responsible with my Kindle Unlimited and Audible Romance Package subscriptions so I’m going to post my TBR Pile on the blog so you guys can keep me honest.

I’ll also be sharing my progress each month even though for this month’s post, I’ll be sharing my progress through my February 2020 TBR Pile since I didn’t put a list together for last month. Oops. I’m telling you, this covid-19 thing had me all turned around, stressed and just not in the mood to read. I’m hoping to turn that shit around this month. Here’s how I did with my February pile (I read most of these books in March, a whole ass month later).

Previous Month Stats

Books to Read: 10
Books Read: 10
Books Unread: 0
Pages Read: 3,170 | Hours Listened: 0
Favorite Read: Chasing Cassandra | Least Favorite Read: The Kissing Game

Does it count if I read all of these books in March even though they were on my February TBR Pile? Screw it, it counts to me! I really did not like The Kissing Game but I adored the heck out of Chasing Cassandra. So all in all, it wasn’t a bad reading month at all.

April’s TBR Pile

Book Club
Rowena’s Monthly TBR Pile: April 2020The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Set in post-war Germany, the international bestseller The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a stunning emotional thriller about our fiercest loyalties and our deepest desires. In the bitter winter of 1946, Rachael Morgan arrives with her only remaining son Edmund in the ruins of Hamburg. Here she is reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an extraordinary decision: they will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

«Una novel·la captivadora, no només d’amor entre la runa, sinó també de traïció i venjança. Els dies que vindran és ple d’amors il·lícits –entre antics enemics, per un país i un règim derrocat–, i això és el que han de fer les bones novel·les: posar a prova les lleialtats i les consciències.» Literary Review

Well, book club has been canceled for however long we’re in this COVID-19 shelter in place thing in L.A. We canceled it last month too but we were supposed to read this book for book club. It was my sister Blanche’s turn to pick a book and she chose this one because she watched the movie and became low key obsessed with it. She’s been wanting someone to talk about it with so she made sure we’d read it and discuss it with her. Not going to lie, I’m glad book club got canceled because I have no interest in reading this one.

Buddy Reads

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews: Our featured review for April on the blog is Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews. You’ll be able to read our team review of that book in the last week of this month. So be sure to be on the lookout for that.

The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empire #1) by Jeffe Kennedy: So Holly, Ames, and myself were supposed to read this book together last month and the only person that read it was Ames. We’re trying again this month so wish us luck? 🙂

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews: I will be reading this book with Holly this month. She’s been really good about giving me reasons to continue my Kate Daniels binge read. She’s the best, isn’t she?

Only When It’s Us (Bergman Brothers #1) by Chloe Liese: It’s Ames turn to choose our monthly buddy read and she chose this one. I’m thinking it’ll be a good palate cleanser between Kate Daniels books. I’m totally down for a frenemies romance with pranks. Sign me up!

Review Pile

Undercover Bromance (The Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams
Yours in Scandal (Man of the Year #1) by Lauren Layne
First Comes Scandal (The Rokesbys #4) by Julia Quinn

I haven’t touched my review pile in a month. The stress at work and with this whole COVID-19 thing is really messing with my reading mojo so I’m hoping to finally get around to reading the books that are sitting on my review pile, just waiting to be read.

TBR Pile

Magic Steals (Kate Daniels #6.5) by Ilona Andrews
Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews
Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews

I’m slowly working my way through the Kate Daniels series and I’m hoping to get the above books read before the month is up. So seriously, wish me luck!

What books are on your TBR pile for April? Anything good that I should keep my eye out on? Please share the books you have on deck to read next month.


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 26, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5), Devil's Daughter, Chasing Cassandra
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

This is one of the books that Holly chose for me for our Summer Reading Challenge. I have read three historical this year. Three. I have been meaning to read this series, but historicals just don’t appeal to me as much as they used to. I’m really glad Holly chose this book for me because it introduced me to the Ravenels.

Devon Ravenel never wanted the responsibility of the earldom that is in his family. When his cousin Theo is thrown from a horse and subsequently dies, the earldom and all it entails is passed to Devon. Devon is now Lord Trenear, something he never wanted.

Kathleen was Lady Trenear for three days before her husband died. She’s already planning her future and the future of her three sisters-in-law when Devon Ravenel shows up at the family home. Kathleen takes an instant dislike to Devon and his brother, West. They are everything she is not. Kathleen is very much a rule follower while everything about the Ravenel brothers is the polar opposite.

I did not like this book. Kathleen was unbearable. She was a raving shrew. Everything Devon did was wrong. She never asked him why he didn’t want to commit. She just assumed he had a wonderful upbringing because he is a Ravenel. When Devon sets up a match between his friend and Helen, one of her sisters-in-law, Kathleen is appalled. And she makes sure Devon knows it.

As for Devon, I really did enjoy his character. I just questioned his judgement. I have no earthly idea why he would want to be with Kathleen. She was that unbearable.

Overall, I am glad I read this book. Only because of the other characters and the stories I know are to come. I’m really looking forward to Winterborne and Helen’s book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Ravenels

three-stars


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Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Posted April 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Format: eBook, Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana takes us on an emotional journey to Cuba, in both the past and the present as our main characters, Marisol Ferrera and Elisa Perez, battle through emotions, secrets and the hardships of war, all while falling in love with men that came with their own complications.

Rowena: This was really angsty and while I did end up enjoying it (I even cried), it was a bit slow to start. What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I have to agree. It took me a good while to get into it. Part of it was that in an odd switch I wanted to read this book in print, not in e-format. It’s usually the other way around. So I finally made my way to the bookstore and then I couldn’t finish this book fast enough!

And the angst wasn’t emotional angst. It was -oh my god we’re in the middle of a revolution and we could die- kind of angst. Which I was totally into. I can admit that I don’t know a heck of a lot about Cuba but this book did a really good job of making what happened, relevant and thought-provoking as well as providing a dangerous background for our main character’s grandmother.

Rowena: Yes, the romance took a back seat to all of the angst from everything else that was going on. Once I got the hang of both timelines, all of the characters, and what was going on, I zipped right through this book. My heart hurt and then it soared for both Elisa and what she lived through, how hard her life was even though on the surface, her life looked pretty fluffy, it was anything but and for Marisol, too. When she gets to Cuba, she’s expecting to hear stories of her beloved grandmother through people who once loved her and confided in her but she found so much more than that and I was so here for all of it.

I really liked the way that Cleeton wove this tale. She brought everything going on in Cuba to the front of a very compelling story and I really enjoyed it.

Who was your favorite character?

Ames: Elisa was definitely my favorite character. My heart definitely hurt for what she went through. But I liked how we learned about her story through Marisol’s eyes. I agree with you, I like the way Cleeton wove these two stories together. I liked Pablo more as an old man than when he was younger. His experience and his heartbreak was what made me cry. I really wonder how Elisa and his life would have worked out if Elisa knew the truth. This was a bittersweet book. And I promptly pre-ordered Beatriz book once I was done. LOL.

Rowena: Same. I connected with Elisa’s story and her struggles with every single thing that she went through. From her struggles with loving a man who was fighting on the opposite side of the side her father supported to the way that her family had to creep out of the country to survive and everything that she felt with toward her brother and not being able to know for sure that he was safe and all of that.

I felt the same way about older Pablo. He missed out on so much and my heart for him and just everything. His love for Elisa was true and it was strong and it lasted his entire life even though he moved on. It was so heartbreaking. I’m super glad that I read this one and will definitely be reading more from Cleeton, she’s got magic hands weaving the good stories. I need more of that in my life.

Are you going to read When We Left Cuba? I’m already reading it and so far, it’s just as fantastic as this one was. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Ames: I am planning on reading When We Left Cuba. I needed to read something light and fluffy after Marisol and Elisa’s story though so I’m glad I have a bit of a wait until it’s released. I know I’m going to want to read it in paperback. LOL

I’m giving Next Year in Havana 4.25 out of 5 as well. Despite a bit of a slow beginning it’s definitely an engrossing story and it hits you in the feels. I highly recommend!

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Related Books

Next Year in Havana
When We Left Cuba

four-stars


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What Are You Reading? (+ Karen Harper Giveaway)

Posted March 29, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 11 Comments

Casee: I’ve been reading Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain #2) by Kristen Ashley for about a week now. I finally was able to really get into it last night as I’ve been traveling for most of this week. It’s quite a change of pace from the Chaos series, but in a good way. I’m really enjoying Lauren as a heroine. She’s very real. She has real problems, attempts to find real solutions, just real like that.

As I’ve been on the road, I’ve been listening to quite a few audiobooks. I finished Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) and Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews. I’m now about halfway through Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4). I love this series. I love Kate, Curran, Derek. All of them. I even love Saiman. After this I’m going to to take a break and move back to the Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs.

Holly: I didn’t have much reading time this week. I’ve been listening to/reading Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews off and on all week and that’s it. I need some serious help in the reading department, y’all. I’m headed for a full on slump and I do.not.want.

Rowena: I thought for sure that I would knock all kinds of books off my TBR pile in the month of March and that just didn’t happen. Send help? Maybe. Maybe not. Hopefully, I get my shit together this week and things pick up.

I did read some books though. I finished The Right Swipe (Modern Dating #1) by Alisha Rai and you guys, the hero is SAMOAN!! He’s Samoan just like me and I was super thrilled about that though I didn’t love the book as much as I hoped I would have. Still, it was solid writing and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series. I also finished Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, which was fantastic. It was emotional and it was intense and I’m so glad that I gave it a chance since it’s not normally the kind of book that I’d read. I’m much more of a fluffy romcom kind of gal but Next Year in Havana is much more intense and I thought it was such a well-written story. I also read You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn and that was a lot more intense than I was expecting. I thought it would be a lot lighter but there was a depth there that I wasn’t expecting but still really enjoyed. So all in all, though I’m not reading as much as I hoped I would, I still had a good reading week.

Right now, I’m reading When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton and that book is just as awesome as Next Year in Havana. I should finish it up today and after that, I’m going to jump into Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews and Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7) by Patricia Briggs. Wish me luck!

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Karen Harper Giveaway)American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt by Karen Harper
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: Print
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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Before Meghan and Harry, another American ‘princess’ captured the hand of an English aristocrat. Now, Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt, her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough, and her quest to find meaning behind “the glitter and the gold.”

On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things.

At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…?

From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchess is a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.

What Are You Reading: American Duchess

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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