Shellie’s quick take:A complexly interwoven and otherworldly mystery that is also a dark coming-of-age st...moreOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
Shellie’s quick take:A complexly interwoven and otherworldly mystery that is also a dark coming-of-age story. It centers around the events leading up to several devastating tornados and a painful loss.
Shellie’s description: Set near some woods in Alabama, Danny and Walter are on the verge of being forced into becoming adults. Danny’s mother and sister have disappeared before a powerful storm and Walter and his friend Seth are targets from violent and heartless bullies. Each story is set within two different times, one current and one during the 1960’s, with the boys each telling their sad stories in the first person. They relate their tales in alternating chapters, slowly unraveling the mystery of the disappearance of Danny’s family.
Shellie’s thoughts: An intense read, this book feels somewhat paranormal in nature. However, it’s one of those reads that leads you into a hidden world but then brings you back to reality in the end. What also adds to the thrilling nature of the book, is that how the boys are connected does not become completely clear until the last third of the book. It has a satisfying and twisty plot and a surprising ending.
Even though this book has a great structure that kept things moving along, and the more I think about the storyline the more I admire its complexity, I do have one minor grumble - the voices of the boys were so similar that several times I found myself confused about which one I was reading about.
Beyond that it’s a terrific book that is highly recommended for those wanting a thrilling and otherworldly coming-of-age story, and of course those looking for literary horror. 4 stars for this creative and twisty story.(less)
Shellie’s quick take:A sweet and “bookish” story about a house that helps lost but tal...moreOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
2.5 stars actually.
Shellie’s quick take:A sweet and “bookish” story about a house that helps lost but talented women find themselves. It’s magical realism for female bibliophiles.
Shellie’s description: There is a special house near London located on a street called Hope. It calls to exceptional women to live in its walls when they are in crisis. What’s unusual about the house is that you cannot see it unless you have been chosen by it. In fact many famous women have arrived and received its help over its 200-year life and their pictures cover the walls.
As the story alternates between a handful of characters that are in need of assistance, we slowly get a picture of why the current set of women are there. They are then magically given what they require so that they can move on in their lives.
Shellie’s thoughts: On the plus side it’s an easy-to-hold and physically small book with some cute ideas. It has an eclectic group of gifted main characters including one that is over 60 and another that is LGBT. There is also an impressive list of the long-deceased prior inhabitants, whose ghosts visit its current residents with their advice and insight. With the dead’s accomplished mini bios at the end for reference, the book has a slight feminist perspective highlighting the women that have paved the way both for the current residents and for women in general.
However, even though it has chocolate, ghosts, fashion, romance and advice, it was a bit trite for my tastes. And sadly, though the story line gave me the desire to want to know what was going to happen to the characters, the writing did not pull me into the text and consequently I felt the desire to skip parts of it.
Do not let my slightly negative thoughts deter you; I am seeing positive reviews from a variety of readers. I did think the book was okay, but would not put in on my favorite list for magical realism. I would recommended it for literary-minded romance readers who want everything tied up neat and sweet in the end and who like a bit of magic in their reads. 2.5 stars for this debut novel.(less)