This novel left a number of unanswered questions. So much so, that upon finishing it, I immediately began searching online for discussions, sure that...moreThis novel left a number of unanswered questions. So much so, that upon finishing it, I immediately began searching online for discussions, sure that I had missed something. The author's choice of narrators and the awkward transition between them is strange and jarring. I truly feel that this book may have had a chance, had it enjoyed the scrutiny of a good editor prior to publishing.(less)
This book kept cropping up in recommendations by goodreads, on websites and from friends who know my reading style. I resisted for several months but...moreThis book kept cropping up in recommendations by goodreads, on websites and from friends who know my reading style. I resisted for several months but finally relented and started the audio book. I am new to audio books and still deciding whether or not I like them. The voice, Jim Dale (whom you might remember as the narrator from Pushing Daisies) was remarkably well matched to the writing style of this book. Though I eventually switched to the ebook (the audio was simply taking too long and I wanted to get into the meat of the story), the voice stayed with me and I believe it enhanced my reading. While listening to the audio, I also found the time jumping very confusing but was much better able to manage once I started reading and could easily flip back to check dates and get things straight in my head.
The Night Circus is beautifully written, with characters that will enchant any reader. Though the love story unfolds so slowly one barely sees it happening, I believe this is much more realistic than the "instant and undying love at first sight" that is popular in many novels today.
- OMG (view spoiler)[Friedrick's death - this is where I really started to sit up and pay attention, immediately wishing I could stay up all night to finish (though the demands of motherhood preventing me from doing so (hide spoiler)] - Loved the Tree connection (Bailey's tree, the Tree of Wishes, Widget's story, the trees in Marco's books. - I want to be a Reveur!
- It bothers him most at times like this, in the bottom of the brandy bottle and the quiet of the night. - I am haunted by the ghost of my father, I think that should allow me to quote Hamlet as much as I please - Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Cover Impressions: The cover is pretty but were I to see it on a bookshelf I am not sure...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover is pretty but were I to see it on a bookshelf I am not sure that it would stand out enough to entice me to buy it.
The Gist: Former ballerina Rosyln Byrne lost everything that defined her in one fell swoop. She has retreated to a remote Georgia island in the hopes that solitude and serenity will allow her to patch up her broken life. Instead she finds herself in the middle of another shattered family and in the path of a little girl desperately seeking something magical.
Review: Every summer I tend to feel the urge to dive into the world of magical realism. The River Witch falls into that category, but also offers up something unexpected. The setting of this novel makes for a fantastic summer read. It left me longing for a big old house with lots of history and a river with more than a little danger. As the days start to stretch, the thought of retreated to an island and escaping the stress of everyday life is more than a little tempting.
This is not a novel with a fast paced plot and the story clearly falls on the character's very capable shoulders. Rosyln has an impressive voice and her pain is almost palpable as she reflects on losing her child and the life she left behind in her mountain home. The music from her homeland weaves in and out of the narrative, binding it beautifully together. Ten year old Damascus is outspoken, precocious and utterly charming. She is especially broken by the loss of her mother and her father's inability to fulfill his role as caregiver. While searching for answers inside a pumpkin seed, she and Rosyln slowly allow themselves to open up to the idea of being cared for.
This is not a novel for the thrill seeking or action obsessed. The plot unwinds slowly, like a lazy afternoon, and wraps itself around your heart. The writing is beautiful and gentle, occasionally erupting with witty moments (usually through Damascus). Brock weaves a story of regret and eschews the easy, romantic route that sometimes defines this genre. There are no storybook endings here, but what the reader does get is a much more realistic portrayal of human nature and the strength of history and family.
A stunning debut novel and a wonderful addition to anyone's summer reading.(less)
Cover Impressions: This cover has that beautiful, magical feeling that keeps me coming b...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: This cover has that beautiful, magical feeling that keeps me coming back to this genre. I love the natural background and the simplicity of the barefeet. The yarn adds a wonderful pop of color and the tendrils on the font give it just that little extra detail.
The Gist: The Van Ripper women have always been strange. Living in The Stitchery - a run down home in Tarrytown, New York, they walk the line between the modern world and the realm of magic. The women in the family have the ability to knit spells, an ability they share with the people of the community - at a cost. Holding the town's secrets sets the Van Ripper women apart, sometimes even from each other. When the death of the family matriarch brings the three sisters home once more, they must learn to live with one another and with impact their decisions will have on the family for generations to come.
Every now and then, I feel the need to leave behind the world of YA and jump into an "adult" book. Usually when I am enticed to do this, it is by a book in the Magical Realism sphere like this one. The Wishing Thread is a wonderful story of three sisters and what home truly means. I loved the world of these women. The Stitchery had that run down feeling where magic can bury itself deep in the walls and permeate the very existance of each person who steps foot there. The sisters are all strong and unique characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. I loved getting to know each one of them and watching as they embraced what their hearts had known all along. There is a touch of romance in The Wishing Thread but it never overpowers the main story. The love interest is a kind and gentle man, willing to support Audrey in her endeavors and never balks at the idea of magic. I really enjoyed how the women weave their spells in a very subtle but powerful way. This is the kind of magic I love reading about - the everyday magic that takes work and sacrifice but reinforces the strength of the women who wield it. The Wishing Thread is beautifully written. Lisa Van Allen has a wonderful majesty over language and weaves the story together seamlessly. I will be looking forward to whatever works she is planning in the future.(less)
Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Author: Leslye Walston Publisher: Candlewick Books Release Date: March 25th, 2014 Rating: 5/5
Cove...moreTitle: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Author: Leslye Walston Publisher: Candlewick Books Release Date: March 25th, 2014 Rating: 5/5
Cover Impressions: Just beautiful. The design of the feather is incredible and I love how the title was incorporated. The colors work really well together. Gorgeous.
Review: This book is so incredible, yet so difficult to describe. It is told through the eyes of teenage Ava Lavender, born under the strangest of circumstances and possessing a pair of dappled wings. The story follows her great grandparents as they immigrate to America anticipating an easy life and streets paved with gold. It continues through the life of Ava's grandmother Emilienne and tells the tale of her 4 great loves, all of whom came to a disastrous end. The torch is then passed to Ava's mother, Viviane who experiences the loss of a beautiful love and is left with a pair of twins: Ava with the wings of an angel and Henry who rarely emerges from the world in his mind. The entire family is both blessed and cursed with an ethereal strangeness that follows from one generation to the next. It is a story of heartbreak, but ultimately one of love.
Title: Lost Lake Author: Sarah Addison Allen Publisher: MacMillan Release Date: January 21st, 2014 Rating: 4.5/5
Cover Impressions: I do like this cover, b...moreTitle: Lost Lake Author: Sarah Addison Allen Publisher: MacMillan Release Date: January 21st, 2014 Rating: 4.5/5
Cover Impressions: I do like this cover, but it doesn't quite have that magical feel for me that Allen's other books do. I think it is sort of missing something and I would have loved to see the alligator featured somewhere.
Lost Lake in Suley, Georgia has been home to Eby and a group of regular visitors since she and her husband bought the magical cottage ground. As the population ages and visitors are lured away by a new waterpark attraction, Lost Lake is beginning to be forgotten. Eby agrees to sell the property and prepares to spend one last summer in the place so beloved by so many. Kate has spent the last year in a fog, mourning the death of her husband. She took a backseat as her mother in law, Cricket, managed their affairs of her and her daughter, Devin. On the morning that they are to move in with Cricket, Kate's eyes finally clear and she realizes how miserable Devin's life has become. On a whim, they escape to the one place where Kate felt happy and at peace: Lost Lake. Once there, Kate begins to discover that the world still holds magic and romance and that returning to her old life may be more difficult than she expected.
I have read all of Sarah Addison Allen's books. I am a huge fan of her special brand of magical realism and the way that her characters find those elements that have been missing in their lives. I will admit, Lost Lake started off a little slow. I was finding myself more inclined to do other things in the evening rather than rushing through my mommy routine in order to jump back into this book. By about halfway, this issue resolved itself and I became much more invested. The plot was a little predictable overall, but still held moments that were pleasantly surprising.
Title: Don't You Forget About Me Author: Kate Karyus Quinn Publisher: Harper Teen Release Date: June 10, 2014 Rating: 4/5
Cover Impressions: So pretty, tho...moreTitle: Don't You Forget About Me Author: Kate Karyus Quinn Publisher: Harper Teen Release Date: June 10, 2014 Rating: 4/5
Cover Impressions: So pretty, though I don't quite connect the tree with the story. I would have loved to see something around the Rehabilitation Center or the Forget-Me-Nots.
The Gist: At first glance, Gardnerville is a magical place where the dying experience a miracle cure and no one ever gets sick. However, no great magic comes without a price and Gardnerville is no exception. In cycles of four years, the teens in town undergo a transformation. Some might walk off never to return, others might set a building on fire. In fourth years, things get even more dangerous and lives are often lost. Skyler struggles to forget the fourth year when her sister, Piper, led the town's teens on a parade that ended in a plunge off a bridge. Popping pills and avoiding people, she tries to numb the pain but she cannot escape the fact that a fourth year is coming, and her own inner demons are calling from the depths.
Review: I loved Another Little Piece and was very excited to see what Kate Karyus Quinn had in store for this novel. Again, I adore her world building. The town of Gardnerville is like nothing I have encountered before. Magic simmers just below the surface and erupts with volcanic power and devastating consequences. I am a huge fan of the premise that great magic requires great sacrifice and the way KKQ has created an idyllic small town with a very dark secret was whimsical, but with a serious bite.
Each inhabitant of Gardnerville seemed more interesting than the last. Each had their own story and I loved seeing them play out through Skyler's story. I found it hard to sympathize with Skyler as she numbed her pain with pills but I could see how she struggled to maintain a grip on a reality she had spent so long altering. I was not a fan of the love interest and could really have done without it or him. Likewise, the "Bad Guy" (whose name I have forgotten). Perhaps I could have enjoyed his character a little more, had it not been for the fact that he was a teacher who was (at one point) involved with a student. The ick factor on that one is just too high for me and I cannot deal with it nor get past it.