Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hexed by Michelle Krys Review

Title: Hexed
Author: Michelle Krys
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Witch Hunter, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A fun, dark, magical debut, I really enjoyed Hexed, though there seemed to be some minor pacing issues--on the whole, it was a lovely book! Highly recommended!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Indie Blackwood seems to have it all: a hot boyfriend, a prime spot on the cheerleading squad, popularity. Never mind that her mother is a bit eccentric (and that's putting it mildly) or that cheer is like hell when best friend, Bianca, gets in a pissy mood. But when a mysterious Bible that her mother is weirdly possessive of is stolen, she sees a boy die right before her eyes. Suddenly a participant in a war that happens behind the scenes, Indie must gather her courage.. Or it might just be more than her social status at stake..

What I enjoyed:
-Indie, the hilarious, smart-ass main character--I could really picture hanging with her in high school, and I found myself laughing aloud at her antics more than once
-Bishop, the hot guy that Indie becomes close to in her quest to save her family--and herself--he was a real riot
-The premise of this novel was really cool--a witch that didn't know she was a witch!
-The humor in this novel really made it shine--I highly enjoyed it
-There were a lot of cool action scenes, especially as the end of the book neared
-Paige
-Indie's weird, lovable mother--she was a great character in this book
-The ending--I can't wait to see what happens next!

What could've been better:
-I really, really didn't like Jezebel--I mean, there was already a horrible mean girl in the story with Bianca
-Devon
-Most of Indie's high school friends
-There were a lot of pacing issues--it just seemed like it really took a long time for the ball to get rolling

I loved Hexed--an amazing, hilarious novel that will have you coming back for more! Highly recommended to fantasy fans! Next on deck: Fade by A.P. Kensey!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bloom by A.P. Kensey Review

Title: Bloom
Author: A.P. Kensey
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Action/Adventure
Series: Bloom, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An X-Men-esque thrill ride sure to appeal to superhero and action fans, Bloom was amazing--I loved this wonderful, fast-paced adventure! Wonderful!

Haven and Colton are two very different people who have never met. But soon they will meet, brought together by a set of very strange and clandestine circumstances. They both have special powers. Powers that they cannot even begin to control. On two different sides of a secret, brutal war that takes no prisoners and has more casualties than they can foresee. Both of them must decide what side they are on.. For there are no second chances..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the premise of this novel--I'm a sucker for anything that reminds me of the X-Men premise or superhero related--it was really cool
-The pacing of this novel was nuts--it was so fast, I couldn't put this book down and I finished it in a matter of hours
-Haven, the girl who can barely control the powers inside her, just wanting to live a normal life with her family, wanting no part in a massive war
-Colton--he was very deeply layered and I really related to him as he was tempted to use his powers for affluence and security--who wouldn't be?
-The cast of characters surrounding the two, particularly Micah, Marius, and Corva
-Bernam, the frightening villain who will stop at nothing in his quest for ultimate power
-The ending--it was perfect and I cannot wait for the next book!

What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this cinematic superhero novel! Amazing!

I loved, loved, loved Bloom--a must-read for superhero and X-Men fans! Wonderful! Next on deck: Hexed by Michelle Krys!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J. Pepper Review

Title: Death of the Mad Hatter
Author: Sarah J. Pepper
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An nontraditional retelling of the classic Alice in Wonderland, I really enjoyed Death of the Mad Hatter, particularly the romance between Ryley and Alice Mae--wonderful, and highly recommended!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

It has been prophesied in the magical, dangerous world of Wonderland that a child--a boy with a girl's name, or is it a girl with a boy's name?--will end the bloody red Reign of Terror, and believe that love is worth a beheading. Meanwhile, Ryley is a normal human boy, his monotonous life interrupted by the arrival of the beautiful, mysterious Alice Mae. Frustrated by her speaking in riddles and confusing behavior, Ryley finds he must unlock the secrets of his past.. Or he might not have a life to return to in either world..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the concept of this novel, a nontraditional, totally different retelling of Wonderland--though this might turn off purists
-Ryley, the boy who is just trying to keep his head above water, even when realizing his family's heritage and magical origins, who turns out who have a lot of spunk and a huge capacity for love, longing, and desire--he was really easy to relate to for me
-Alice Mae, the beautiful and mysterious girl from Wonderland, so steeped in her own lies and deceit that she fights her other, purer, instincts--I really felt for her as well throughout the novel
-The creative, fun spins on the old characters, like the White Rabbit, The Queen of Hearts. and the Mad Hatter
-The pacing of this book was wonderful--it was breakneck but smooth, especially with both Alice's and Ryley's points of view
-The ending--it was perfect!

What could've been better:
-I wish it had been more explained, how Wonderland fell into corruption, and how Hearts became so evil--there wasn't enough background for me

I really, really enjoyed Death of the Mad Hatter--it was fun, quirky, and different! Next on deck: Bloom by A.P. Kensey!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson Review

Title: The Mirk and Midnight Hour
Author: Jane Nickerson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A valiant attempt at a Southern retelling of the ballad Tam Lin, I enjoyed The Mirk and Midnight Hour--though I didn't like it as much as its predecessor.

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Violet Dancey is a true Southerner--that is, she knows all about hoodoo, voodoo, and dark magic. But she never expects it to take her life by storm. Mourning her twin brother's death, she is struggling to remain herself after the Civil War takes a toll on her beloved Mississippi. When she discovers a wounded Union soldier nearly dying on her property, she heals him--and in becoming his friend, courts severe consequences. For a mysterious, magical family named the Van Zeldts have been using voodoo to keep her Thomas alive.. And not just out of the goodness of their hearts..

What I enjoyed:
-As always, the gorgeous, poetic prose that is Nickerson's signature--I was drawn in immediately
-Violet, the sad, lonely girl who becomes a great heroine, fighting hell and high water for true love
-The cast surrounding Violet, particularly her father, Seeley, and Sunny
-Dorian--his name was perfect--he was never what he seemed and he was a great villain throughout the novel
-Thomas, the gentle, loving Union soldier that Violet falls for so violently
-The mysterious, magical Van Zeldts, frightening and powerful and a fitting stand in for the fairies in Tam Lin
-The ending--it was perfect

What could've been better:
-It seemed like it took a long time for things to get rolling
-It took forever to realize how the actual story tied in with Tam Lin


Despite some minor pacing problems, I really enjoyed The Mirk and Midnight Hour! Highly recommended! Next on deck: Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J. Pepper!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson Review

Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic Fiction
Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, gothic homage to the beloved fairy tale Bluebeard, I loved Strands of Bronze and Gold--it captured my imagination completely! A wonderful debut novel I will treasure forever!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sophia Petheram's father is dead. She receives an invitation to visit her godfather Monsieur Bernard de Cressac to come live with him, with little money and even fewer options. Once there, she is the recipient of something she has always longed for: comfort and luxury. But such things come with a price: Her godfather has frightening mood swings, is overly forward with her, and is hiding dark secrets on his spacious estate.. Secrets that all have to do with his previous wives.. And if Sophie doesn't unravel the mystery quickly enough, she might not live to tell the tale..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved, first of all, the gorgeous, lyrical writing that enchanted me from the start and captured my imagination
-Sophie, the strong, spunky Yankee who comes to reside at Wyndriven Abbey, and who throughout the book holds her own--she was an amazing main character, and I related to her a lot
-de Cressac, the terrible villain and stand-in for Bluebeard--I really feel that the author did the fairy tale great justice in this character, and I found myself getting chills as I encountered his mercurial mood swings with poor Sophie
-The vibrant cast of characters surrounding Sophie, particularly Duckie, Gideon, and her family members
-The pacing of this novel really worked for me too--I couldn't put it down!
-The creepy gothic tones that bring to mind Rebecca and Jane Eyre--especially with the ghosts
-The ending--it was perfect and did justice to all of the main characters, I was really happy with it!

What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this beautiful, creepy Bluebeard retelling! Brava!

I loved, loved, loved Strands of Bronze and Gold--easily a new favorite for me! Next on deck: The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton Review

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, sad, and lyrical debut novel about the strange Lavender family, I loved this beautiful book--it was absolutely amazing! Easily a new favorite book of the whole year!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Meet the strange, talented, beautiful Lavender family: Vivane, who has an extraordinary sense of smell, Henry, who won't talk but can make maps easily, and the star of the novel, Ava, born, literally, with wings. In their small town, they are considered odd, to say the least. Ava, now sixteen, is grappling with trying to balance being a normal girl and with being considered a local legend, or even, an angel. With the arrival of the holy man Nathaniel Sorrows, Ava realizes she must have the strength to deal with the agony of growing up, even if it nearly kills her..

What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical, gorgeous prose that peppered the novel, like a fairy tale or a poem, utterly enchanting
-The multiple generation narrative that starts back in the day and sets the foundation for the whole family, and why they are considered so strange
-The hilarious, vibrant Lavender family, each with their own insecurities and quirks, particularly Vivane
-Ava, in particular, the sweet, uncertain girl that just wants to be normal, despite having been born with a pair of bird's wings--and her character development was rich and well-thought out
-The stifling small-town setting that the Lavenders live in, all too relatable to me
-The rich cast of characters that pepper that small town
-Nathaniel, a frightening, all-too real villain--he was definitely scary
-The ending--it was perfect!

What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this gorgeous, tender debut novel!

I loved, loved, loved The Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender! Amazing! Next on deck: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff Review

Title: The Diplomat's Wife
Author: Pam Jenoff
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Series: The Kommandant's Girl, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though not as good as its predecessor, and slow at first, I enjoyed The Diplomat's Wife.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Marta Nedermann has barely escaped the horror of World War II with her life. Battered, bruised, and ready to move on with her life, Marta finds love again with a rough American soldier named Paul. After a whirlwind engagement, the two make plans to meet in London--but her hopes are dashed when his plane crashes. Desperate, devastated, and pregnant, she marries Simon, a sweet, kind British diplomat, and at last finds peace in having a home and family. But when Communist spies are suspected in British intelligence, Marta has no choice but to face the ghosts of her past, and maybe, just maybe, expose the deception..

What I enjoyed:
-The tense, frightened time of post-wartime Europe, described so accurately by Jenoff
-The premise of this novel was good--in that way, it was reminiscent of The Kommandant's Girl
-I liked the way deception was woven so accurately into the novel
-Marta, but I only liked her after a while--she seemed really unsympathetic to me at first and I had a hard time relating to her, but it got better as the novel went on
-The later half of the book's pacing was good
-I loved the cameos that came into the book, particularly Emma and Marek
-Paul
-Dava and Rose
-Delia and Charles
-Rachel
-The ending

What could've been better:
-The first half of the book's pacing seemed really slow
-Simon seemed really fake, even before everything happened
-As I said before, it was hard for me to relate to Marta at first, and I wasn't too sympathetic to her situation

I liked The Diplomat's Wife--it was an enjoyable read. Next on deck: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff Review

Title: The Kommandant's Girl
Author: Pam Jenoff
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Series: The Kommandant's Girl, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A gorgeous, deeply layered novel that asks us what we would sacrifice for freedom and for peace, I loved The Kommandant's Girl--it was as moving and beautiful as it was heartrending!

Young, naive Emma Bau has been married for just three weeks to her husband Jacob when the Nazis occupy her beloved Poland. With Jacob gone to join the resistance, and her parents locked away in a nearby ghetto, she turns to her husband's aunt Krysia for help. Frustrated, angry, and helpless, Emma is soon approached herself by the resistance: She must get close to the Kommandant, a powerful Nazi, in order to gain information. Forced into a deception, Emma must decide what she is willing to sacrifice.. Or it could cost her her very life..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the gorgeous, luminous prose used to narrate the novel--it was simple but not overly so
-The pacing of this novel was amazing--I couldn't put it down!
-Emma, the naive, sweet narrator who finds herself compromising everything she knows and loves in order to help the resistance--even if it means doing something she isn't comfortable with--and her character development was rich and real
-The Kommandant, on one hand a brutal murderer, and on the other a man who just needs love and companionship again
-Krysia and Lukasz
-Jacob, and his fierce devotion to his ideals
-The ending--it was nearly perfect

What could've been better:
-I didn't really like Marta at first--she seemed really selfish, bratty, and totally indifferent to Emma's difficult situation

I loved, loved, loved The Kommandant's Girl--anyone looking for a good historical novel or romance should pick it up! Next on deck: The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker Review

Title: Beware the Wild
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Gothic Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A spooky, delicious creepy Southern gothic with elements of magic, romance, and mystery, I really enjoyed Beware the Wild--a thrilling, dark debut!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sterling Saucier knows to stay away from the local swamp in her hometown of Sticks, Louisiana. Everyone in Sticks does from childhood on. But after a fight with her beloved older brother, Phin, Sterling discovers that the old stories just might be true, because Phin goes into the swamp, and the dark-haired, sweet Lenora May comes out. Suddenly she is the only one who remembers Phin. Determined to get her brother back, Sterling must call upon all her strength and bravery, before it's too late..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the gorgeous, creepy, luxurious prose that drew me in from the start
-The hot, sweltering, stifling setting of Sticks, a small, frightened town chock-full of legends and fear
-Sterling, and her determination to get her brother back, despite her own fear--she had surprising depth
-The cool, different mythology that surrounded the story--the swamp magic was so cool and I really enjoyed it
-Fisher
-Lenora May--she was possibly one of my favorite characters in the whole book
-The vibrant, well-layered cast of characters surrounding Sterling, particularly Heath and Candy
-The pacing of this novel was amazing--I couldn't put it down
-The ending--it was perfect

What could've been better:
-I wish more had been explained about the Saucier family dynamic
-I wish we had learned more about the swamp magic and how it had affected other generations of Sticks residents

I loved, loved, loved, loved Beware the Wild--a wonderful new favorite! Amazing! Next on deck: The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini Review

Title: Touching the Surface
Author: Kimberly Sabatini
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, lyrical debut novel about forgiveness, redemption, death, and love, I loved Touching the Surface--an absolutely amazing novel that I will treasure forever!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Elliot Turner knows that she's in trouble when she has entered the afterlife for the third time. Stuck in the Obmil after dying again, as well as frustrated, angry, and frightened, she knows she could be the last time she gets a shot at getting things right--or the consequences could be more than she can take. Forced to face her past--as well as memories that cut her to the quick--Elliot realizes that redemption, love, and most importantly, forgiveness, could be as close as she wants it to be.. If only she'd let herself have it.

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the premise of this novel--souls being forced to face their pasts before moving on to their uncertain future--it was different and engaging
-The worldbuilding of this novel was solid and not at all hard to follow
-The pacing was good--smooth but still very quick
-Elliot, the fragile, angry, frustrated main character--relating to her was a little hard at first, but as the novel went deeper, I found myself crying and cheering for her in equal measure, and I loved her character development
-The vibrant cast of characters surrounding Elliot, particularly Mel, Oliver, and Trevor
-The vibrant memories that the cast went through, particularly Trevor and Elliot
-The deeply nuanced characters
-I loved the ending--it was perfect!

What could've been better:
-Elliot was a little hard to relate to at first--she seemed really self-absorbed and angry at the beginning of the novel

I loved Touching the Surface--it was absolutely beautiful! Amazing! Next on deck: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh Review

Title: The Moon Sisters
Author: Therese Walsh
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Beautiful, magical, and absolutely poetic, this lyrical coming of age novel completely swept me away--I loved it!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Jazz and Olivia Moon are two sisters who couldn't be more different--Jazz, at twenty-two, is practical, down-to-earth, and more than a little bit angry, and Olivia is eighteen, a dreamer, wanting to do justice to her mother's memory by journeying to the glades, the setting of their late mother's story. Brought together on a journey across the state, both girls find they must face their past demons in the girls'

What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical, beautiful, poetic prose that peppered the novel--it was absolutely stunning and I really, really loved it
-The dual point of views from both Jazz and Olivia, two sisters who couldn't be more different, adding an amazing richness to the novel that I loved
-The pacing--it was breakneck and I couldn't put it down
-Olivia, the loving, sweet dreamer of the pair of sisters, head in the clouds and determined to do justice to her beloved mother's memory
-Jazz, the angry, practical half of the pair, trying desperately to look after her sister so she won't get hurt--both sisters had remarkable depth
-The vibrant cast of characters surrounding the girls, particularly Hobbs and Babka
-The letters that added another point of view to the novel: the girls' poor, tormented mother
-The ending

What could've been better:
-There was absolutely nothing I didn't love about this beautiful contemporary novel! Amazing!

I loved, loved, loved The Moon Sisters! Any fans of beautiful prose and contemporary fiction should run--run--to the nearest bookstore and snatch it up! Next on deck: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Torturer's Daughter by Zoe Cannon Review

Title: The Torturer's Daughter
Author: Zoe Cannon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series: Internal Defense, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A chilling, frightening dystopian novel that completely had me hooked, I really enjoyed The Torturer's Daughter, despite some flaws.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Becca Dalcourt is the daughter of the dystopian's regime's most famous torturer. She's never really thought much of her mother's job, but when she gets a call in the middle of the night from her best friend, Heather, who has been put in prison for being a dissident, everything changes. She finds herself questioning everything she has believed. Digging deeper into her mother's job and trying to make sense of her world now turning upside down, she discovers that some sacrifices must be made for freedom..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the creepy, chilling tone the author uses to paint her dystopian setting--I got chills more than once
-The pacing of this novel was absolutely breakneck at all times--I couldn't put it down
-Becca, the main character, at first believing in the government--and more closely, her mother--but then realizing that this way of life can't go on
-Becca's mother, the torturer, and the mom, undeniably human and yet a villain all the same
-Jake
-The creepy, horrific, scary environment that Becca lives in
-The ending

What could've been better:
-I wish the reader had been told how the world ended up that way--for me, that's part of the enjoyment of dystopian novels
-Heather

I really enjoyed The Torturer's Daughter, despite some minor flaws--it was wonderful! Next on deck: The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen Review

Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Queen of the Tearling, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An epic, engaging fantasy with something for everyone, I had trouble with The Queen of the Tearling at first--but when I picked it back up, I was utterly enchanted!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kelsea Raleigh Glynn has never wanted to shoulder her mother's burden: become Queen of the Tearling. All she wants is to live with her foster parents and read her beloved books. But as her 19th birthday approaches, she knows she has no choice: she must step into her mother's shoes and take the helm of ruling the country, however reluctantly. But dark forces all around her are plotting to destroy her.. And she must become queen if she has any hope of survival..

What I enjoyed:
-Kelsea--I really felt a kinship to her, not just because of her name, but because of the way she loved books and the way she felt very uncomfortable in her own skin--her character development really sold this book for me, and the mystery about her heritage as well
-The vibrant, complex, and long cast of characters that surround Kelsea, particularly The Red Queen and Mace
-This book was absolutely epic in scope--the reader is taken to many, many different point of views throughout the novel
-I loved the way this book was a high fantasy, and that it had everything--magic, darkness, evil villains
-The Red Queen, and the mystery surrounding her

What could've been better:
-At the beginning of the novel the pacing really suffered and at first I had to put the book down because it was just so slow and incredibly detailed--so much so it wasn't holding my attention
-At times the violence and the sexual matter got a little out of hand for my taste
-The worldbuilding was very vague--I didn't really understand it and it wasn't explained very well

Despite some issues, I liked The Queen of the Tearling--it was an interesting book! Next on deck: The Torturer's Daughter by Zoe Cannon!
-In the beginning

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft Review

Title: The Art of Falling
Author: Kathryn Craft
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, inspiring novel about a young dancer's fall from grace, The Art of Falling cracked my heart open and filled it entirely--it was an absolutely beautiful novel!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Penelope Sparrow loves to dance--she needs it like she needs to breathe. After a terrifying fall that has left her immobile, Penny finds that she must face her demons--or they could smother her entirely. Helped along by a cast of flawed, lovable characters, the reader is led on a journey that is both heartbreaking and tender, and Penny finds that even on the brink of being destroyed, with enough strength, she can find herself again.

What I enjoyed:
-I really enjoyed the premise of this novel--falls from grace are nothing new, but Craft puts a personal spin on this one, and I really enjoyed it
-The pacing of this novel was great too--it flowed quickly but smoothly
-The inside look at the chilling, frightening world of professional dance, told from personal experience
-Penny--cynical, bitter, angry Penny, all too human and incredibly fragile--I found myself relating to her along the way, especially when it came to her body image--she was a great main character and her development was amazing, especially when she was putting herself back together
-Marty, the kind, sweet, gentle baker who becomes her friend
-Angela, the beautiful best friend who, in spite of being crippled with a terrible illness, becomes a great character--she really made me cry at times
-Penny's mother, the rock in her life, and her best friend, despite everything
-The ending

What could've been better:
-At first the prose confused me--it felt like Penny was talking in present tense and then in past tense at times

I really, really enjoyed The Art of Falling--a wonderful book! Next on deck: Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford Review

Title: Songs of Willow Frost
Author: Jamie Ford
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: My first novel by Jamie Ford, and certainly not my last, I simply loved Willow Frost--a beautiful, sumptuous, lovely tale of a mother and son finding their way back to one another--absolutely amazing and a definite favorite! Bravo!

I won this book in a giveaway on Goodreads.

William Eng is a twelve year old orphan living at the Sacred Heart orphanage. On his birthday, he begins to wonder again about his origins--and his mother, in particular. On an outing to the movies, he sees the beautiful Chinese actress, Willow Frost, onscreen, and is utterly convinced that she is his mother. Led on a journey spanning across decades, William finds that he just might be in for a happy ending.

What I enjoyed:
-The poetic, tender, achingly sad prose that peppers the novel--it was absolutely beautiful
-The pacing of the novel was good, spanning years smoothly and delicately, skillfully winding past and present together
-The bitter, desolate setting of 1920s and 30s Seattle
-William, and his desperate desire to find his family, as well as a real home, and answers about his past
-Willow, the real star of the novel for me, the beautiful, soulful young woman who does everything to try to make her dreams come true, as well as support her son--to see her struggle was incredibly heartbreaking and I was crying more often than not
-Charlotte, of course
-I really enjoyed the ending--it was lovely

What could've been better:
-There was absolutely nothing I didn't love about this finely wrought tale!

I really, really loved Songs of Willow Frost--a masterpiece! Next on deck: The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters Review

Title: Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Author: Daniel Waters
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lyrical, creepy, dark and thrilling, I loved Break My Heart 1,000 Times--easily one of the best ghost stories I've ever read, and a new favorite!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Everyone's way of life has changed after The Event--a horrifying crisis that took, some say, over five million lives all around the world. The result of this tragedy has become a fact of life: ghosts, faint memories of the dead taken in The Event--have become commonplace. But something's different: The ghosts are gaining power, and Veronica Calder is now sharing her bathroom with a ghost. Leap Day is approaching--one of the few that Ronnie actually gets a birthday. But with it comes dark, terrifying truths: August Bittner, a local teacher, has become obsessed with the idea that his daughter can come back. But only if August can give her a host.. And it just so happens that Veronica's a prime candidate..

What I enjoyed:
-The creepy, frightening, dark atmosphere that Waters paints: a world where ghosts and humans coexist, fragile and frightening and existential
-The pacing of this novel was amazing--it was absolutely breakneck and I was frantically turning pages trying to figure out what was happening
-Ronnie, a complex, multi-layered character full of depth--she was a great main character and I really enjoyed her
-Kirk, the boy trying to get close to her and lower her defenses, as well as trying to figure out why the ghosts were here
-Bittner was a huge selling point for me in this novel--he was an amazing villain and I enjoyed him, even with his frightening, up close and personal descent into madness
-I liked the way everything unfolded--I couldn't see anything coming and that really sells me on horror novels
-The ending!

What could've been better:
-I wish there had been more background on August, as well as the ghost that haunted him and his family

I loved, loved, loved Break My Heart 1,000 Times! A gripping nail-biter of a horror story that had me riveted! I wish there were more books like this out there. Next on deck: Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford!