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Book Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll. This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling.  Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded

Book Review: Time's Convert (All Souls Universe, #1) by Deborah Harkness

Words cannot begin to describe how excited I was when the novel Time's Convert (All Souls Universe, #1) by Deborah Harkness came out in bookstores, and I pre-ordered the newest edition to the book series from Barnes and Noble. I prepared for the new release by rereading the original trilogy to refresh my memory of what happened. The original All Souls Trilogy includes A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. However, when Time's Convert arrived in my mailbox, I was in a bit of a reading slump, and it took me all this time to actually read it. Boy, am I mad at myself for not reading it right after I finished rereading The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3).

At first, I did have a little trouble getting into Time's Convert because I felt like I knew the least about Phoebe, Marcus' mate. Once the other character's story lines were interwoven into the book, I really was able to get into the book, and I even began to like learning more about Phoebe's transition into a vampire.

I loved the fact that we got to read about the early childhood of Marcus and how he grew into a man . . . and eventually was turned into a vampire during the American Revolutionary War. I enjoyed how the Marquis de Lafayette (Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier), Thomas Paine, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and the Liberty Bell were all woven into the story as well. It definitely made me me interested in learning more about some of these real life characters.

As we learned that Marcus and the de Clermont family was also involved in the French Revolution, it also sparked an interest in learning even more about that as well. We all know that Marie Antoinette and Louise-August were sentenced to death by the guillotine. I never knew that it was named after the person who invented it (Joseph-Ignace Guillotin). Even though I learned about the French Revolution in high school, I really had no idea that is happened so closely to the American Revolutionary War. Who says you can't learn something factual from a fiction book?

Time's Convert doesn't have as much going on in it as the original trilogy, and I didn't expect it to knowing that this was the backstory of Marcus. With that being said, there was a bit of action in it and unexpected secrets revealed. I loved the fact that I didn't entirely know what was going to happen either. I expect that some people would be disappointed with this book because it has a lot of history included in it, and some might find that boring and unexciting. I am glad to say I'm not one of those people; I loved this book. I give it four out of five stars just because I did have a little trouble getting into it at first.

Synopsis of Time's Convert: During the battles of the American Revolutionary War, Marcus MacNeil meets Matthew de Clermont. When Marcus is offered immortality, he readily agrees, and the transformation is not easy for him with all these new rules. Fast forward to the present day, Phoebe Taylor, an employee at Sotheby's, has fallen in love with Marcus and decides she wants to live an immortal life with him.

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