" Then I blinked, and the music was gone. Like a slice of winter wind the reality of Mama's absence from my life sucked the breath out of my lungs. I bunched my knees to my chest and sobbed, willing, the pain away."
You can get the basic premise of the blurb. Juliet is left deaf by a childhood disease, a fact that is wildly known as in those times it was perceived as an undesirable trait. After her mother's death a viscount appears that wants to buy her home. At the same time, Juliet finds (steals more like it) a flower that brings forth a handsome ghost. The story is a Gothic ghost mystery and I loved it!
Juliet has been sheltered and cherished by her mother and uncle all of her life. She has made the assumption that she needs to live her life in seclusion, making hats and being taken care of. She has an uncanny ability to read lips which is at times unrealistic, I guess this is where her ghost came in handy. By the end of the story, she grew up as a character to not jump into conclusions and trust others.
On to the romance! There is a love triangle, but not really. I mean, can we call it that if one of the 'points' in the triangle is a ghost? The main characters have been through a lot, especially Chaine, who had a childhood full of horrors. My heart broke for him.
"She provided light in the midst of an inconceivably evil darkness. It burned her image into his... and altered his future. I could never have imagined a woman worthy of such reverence. Yet I've found you to be captivating and courageous, worthy of all that and more. Not despite your deafness, but because of it. If that makes me a fool. I will probably wear the title."
The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns, every time I thought I knew were things were headed Howard provided another masterful twist. There is also a lot of confusion created by both the viscount and Juliet's uncle keeping so many secrets from her! Men think they know better and just create a dang mess! The writing is fluid, enthralling, interesting and lyrical in nature. I really enjoy the epilogue as it tied all the loose ends quite nicely.
Overall, The Architect of Song was a beautifully written tale of the power that hope has to change a life. I'm a little surprised that this is the first in a new series since this book has the most fulfilling ending. I guess I just have to wait August of next year and read The Hummingbird Heart, right?This review was originally posted on Quite the Novel Idea...more
"But Papa, why should I talk when I've nothing important to say?"
Miss Charlotte Holmes is the youngest of four sisters and she's odd. Charlotte reminds me of Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang theory. She's SO smart that she doesn't grasp the subtlety and importance of certain social norms. She learns to dress, control her appetite, say the right things at the right time, but some things still hold no meaning or importance to her. She's an avid reader, she loves to eat, she's very aware that her brain works differently that most people, she's also aware that the world is a nasty place for women and she wants to do more with her life than marry and have children. She makes up the name "Sherlock" to help the police with certain cases while pretending to be a man. HOWEVER, at the beginning of the story she makes a really stupid decision. I know it made sense to her, but probably to no one else. How could someone so smart don't foresee what was highly possible to happen?
"And what is your particular talent?"
"I'm not sure how to describe it. Or even if it is a talent, rather than a nuisance... Discernment, I suppose" Charlotte took a deep breath. "I can tell more about you, for instance, than you would want me to know."
You might be asking yourself if there is any romance. The answer is: maybe? I'm not sure? I don't want to give anything away, but there is a hint of what could be and might have been, but I have no idea how Thomas will pull this one off. I've only ever read the Elemental series by her and I adore it. One of the main reasons is the romance, so the lack of it in this book felt like something was missing. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it immensely, the mystery itself was enough to keep me hanging to every word.
The plot is divided between the mystery that Sherlock is helping Inspector Treadles with and Charlotte finding her place in life outside of her parents house. The mystery is very intricate. I could not tell who'd done it for nothing. There is constant action and detective work and disguises, and Baker Street, and Watson... It's like visiting with an all friend :)
Other characters worth mentioning are Mrs. Watson, Inspector Treadles, Lord Ingram, and Livia. Mrs. Watson is a widow and she takes Charlotte under her protection and becomes her partner in crime (so to speak), encouraging Charlotte to use her talents to help others - for a fee, of course. Inspector Treadles works for Scotland Yard and is a young and smart inspector that has big ambitions. He has requested Sherlock's help through Lord Ingram for certain puzzling or unsolved cases. Lord Ingram is Charlotte's childhood friend and I feel like he really understands her so well. He made a catastrophic mistake on choosing a wife, but is willing to live with the consequences of his decision. He does care a lot for Charlotte. Livia is Charlotte's sister and loves her dearly. However, Livia is very unsure of herself and has very low self esteem and is not willing to stand up to her parents. I really liked all the characters, but some added more to the story than others. I loathed Charlotte's parents.
"What do you fear the most, Miss Holmes?"
"I..." Charlotte exhaled. She know what she feared, but she wasn't accustomed to voicing it aloud." "I fear always being beholden to someone else. I want to be independent - and I want to earn that independence. But I can no longer believe that fortunate state of affairs will ever come to pass, not with all the mistakes I've made."
The story is told in a third POV, so we can participate in all the story and the mystery as it's discovered. The ending was definite in respect to the mystery. Sherlock's life as a detective is just starting and she gets a new client right at the ending. I'm just now sure about the romance or lack thereof, then again Sherlock Holmes is not necessarily romance.
The characters - There is an incredible cast of characters. To be honest, the interaction and relationship between these two is worth the ticket for admission. Our main characters are Catalia (Cat) and Griffin. Cat has suffered unspeakable horrors, escaped and was "hiding" at a circus and earning her keep as a soothsayer. She has real powers that were granted to her by the gods, but is stubborn, distrustful and careful to show her true self to any one for fear of discovery. She's kidnapped by Griffin, which is a warlord and her match in every way. The banter between these two is priceless! It's funny, and heartfelt and a slow burning romance. I'm not sure that Cat completely trusts him yet, but she definitely loves him and is trying to get used to having a family. One of my favorite couples for sure!
World building and plot - The world is based on Greek mythology which I love. There are dragons, gods, griffins, and all that good stuff. The plot is so good. We learn the truth about the characters slowly and I'm sure we still have more to learn. It's complicated, fascinating and just pure awesome. There is war, shenanigans, jealous ex-girlfriends, best friends, lying, truths, fantastical creatures, gods, best friends and a circus. Amazing!
I'm happy with the ending, not a cliffhanger in site, BUT I suspect that all hell is going to break loose very soon. Just saying...
I truly loved this one. I adored the writing, the plot, the world building and above all Cat and Griffin :) I cannot wait for Breath of Fire, which I was granted access to recently. If you are an adult and you love fantasy this is a series for you. Read and you won't regret it!
Quite the Novel Idea http://quitethenovelidea.comhttp://quitethenovelidea.com/liza-rev... you know, our dear Bee loves Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgeQuite the Novel Idea http://quitethenovelidea.comhttp://quitethenovelidea.com/liza-rev... you know, our dear Bee loves Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. If you don't know this, then I assume it's your first time visiting Quite the Novel Idea, in which case, Welcome! In any case I listened to Simon because of Bee (of course!) and since both her and Rach have raved about it, I will keep this review short and sweet. Simon Simon is SO sweet. He's in high school and if that isn't stressful enough, he's dealing with the realization that he's gay and trying to figure out what that entails. Specially in a conservative place like Atlanta. He's well liked, has good grades, is active in drama class and has a group of close friends that are there for him. Simon has a strong narrative voice, a clear personality, it is easy to get to know and love him. Emails For a big part of the book is of the emails between Simon and Blue. I love them. They give the reader such an incredible insight to the inner workings of their minds. We get to know each of them as they know each other, we get to love them both and we want to see them be together. They are so cute that there was no doubt in my mind that at the end, love would prevail. Becky Albertalli's Writing This is Albertalli's first book. Seriously. Her writing was fascinating and so full of the feels. She captured Simon's feelings so clearly: the frustration, fear, uncertainty, anger, love, delight... She has so much talent, that I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! There are some difficult topics to tackle in this book, homosexuality, race, and bullying being the big two and she did it gracefully. Family and friendship Simon's family is ever present in the story, which I love. It makes the story more realistic, even if he thinks they are overwhelming in their "caring". I also loved his relationship with his sisters and the fact that they had his back. Nick, Abby, and Leah are Simon's best friends and support group. I do have to say that Leah was a bit needy and got offended rather easily. I think she realized that by the end. Discovery I think Simon vs. the Home Sapiens Agenda is a book about discovery. Not only of accepting who you are - quirks, personality and sexuality included - but also on dealing with difficult situations and believe me, Simon has quite a few of those. Growing up and high school is not easy, and having to deal with "coming out" and what that entails in a conservative community is even harder. I think that Simon did a lot of self discovery during the length of the book. Romance The romance between Blue and Simon is slow, real, growing, and plain adorable.
Although Michael Crouch has quite the list of narrated books, this is the first time I listen to one of them. I really enjoyed the experience. It's usually harder for me to hear male narrators making the female voices, but I think Crouch did a pretty good job. I was never confused or wondering who was talking. I also love that Crouch acting talent shines throughout the reading of the book, it's full of feeling, trepidation, wonder, and so many of the beautiful feelings that make Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so special.
Many of Amanda Quick's historical romances take place in the regency era, but 'Til Death Do Us Part is Victorian and a little darker than some of her books. It is essentially a Gothic novel with some morbid elements such as memeto mori. These are items like pictures, bells, and rings with the purpose of commemorate someone's death. Different is good in this case!
Calista and her brother brother inherited a mammoth of a house from their grandmother, but not the means to maintain it and thus she comes up with the idea of an "introduction" agency. In other words, she interviews single people that are looking for companionship and then makes monthly events in her house in which like-minded individuals are introduced to each other. One of her clients is Trent's sister and that's the reason he wants to meet Calista. However, Calista is dealing with a very disturbing series of events that seems to indicate that she's being stalked by a madman that is leaving creepy items with her initials that are meant for death people.
Trent Hastings is a famous author of crime novels (sort of like Sherlock Holmes) and he happens to be visiting Calista just when she receives one of the offending objects. Trent is intrigued by her and the strength that he finds in her and he offers his help on finding the culprit. What follows is a great game of cat and mouse. I have to confess that I did not suspect who the culprit was or the reason until almost the end. The whole plot was so well thought out and frankly amazing.
Our main characters, Calista and Trent were so good, both separately and together. They are strong characters, survivors of trauma, loyal, oldest siblings taking care of their family and breadwinners. Together, they become even stronger, even if they are not perfect. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, and given that Calista has given up on love, they take it a step further. There is certainly romance, but not the flowery kind.
Can you tell that I love 'Til Death Do Us Part? I hope you can and that if you are a historical romance fan, you give this book a chance. Amanda Quick is still - after all this years - a magnificent writer.
Even though the characters don't have names - they are referred to as "the queen", the tallest dwarf", "the princes" - it is really easy to tell who the characters are since they come from really well known fairy tales. However, there are not a lot of similarities between their stories. A lot of it feels more realistic and also darker than the pink-colored fairy tales of old. The book is short and it feels like it and besides the ending is a bit abrupt and there is definitely room for more of the story in a future installment (although there's none planned that I can tell). I'm not sure I can tell you a lot more about the story, it would be very easy to give it away.
One of the elements that I liked the most in The Sleeper and the Spindle is that the queen takes matters into her own hands. She's not a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued, quite the opposite. She's the one that rescues, fights, figures out the riddles and conquers evil. I loved it! It sends the right message to young girls. The queen is accompanied in this quest by three dwarfs, who act as escort and counselors.
Six of Crows is a book so complex that I will not attempt to describe in detail the plot. You can find plenty of reviews that sing all the glory and can do it better justice that I can do it. Rather, I will concentrate in the main characters and let you put the puzzle together. Six characters, told from all of their points of view in the third person. I promise that it’s not confusing at all!
“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for 'good luck.”
A convict with a thirst for revenge. Matthias is belongs to a “cult’ that hunts the Grisha and he wants revenge on Nina for putting him in jail. He’s strong, tough, somewhat narrow minded, tender, and loving too.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. Jasper is a student turned gambler and gangster. He’s in Kaz’s inner circle, a sharpshooter with blind faith in his friends.
A runaway with a privileged past. Wyland is the son of an important merchant. He’s had a privileged upbringing, but he ran away from home. He seems weak at the beginning, but proves his worth when it mattered.
A spy known as the Wraith. Inej is a fascinating character. She was kidnapped when very young and “saved” by Kaz. She’s a spy and friend of heights and she’s always loyal to Kaz. Always.
“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you'll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won't matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns you heart.”
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. Nina is a Grisha that has been waiting in a strange land for the chance to save Matthias from prison. She’s realistic, straightforward, loyal and appreciate friends.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Kaz is my favorite character because he’s so complex. Make no mistake, he has no redemption. He’s… well, bad. Cunning, smart, without morals, ethics or empathy.
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
The setting of Six of Crows is shared with that of the Grisha series. Some of the same countries belong to this world, but more that seem inspired by Holland (Ketterdam) and its many canals and by Russia and its ice glory (Ice Court). It’s all described in detail and it paints an accurate picture in the reader’s mind. Exquisite. The writing is sweeping , breathtaking and raw.
“Stay,” she panted. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Stay till the end.”
“And after,” he said. “And always.”
“I want to feel safe again. I want to go home to Ravka.”
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll set fire to raisins or whatever you heathens do for fun.”
“Zealot,” she said weakly.
“Nina,” he whispered, “little red bird. Don’t go.”
Just like Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, I felt like Six of Crows should have been labeled New Adult. It’s definitely more appropriate for older readers because there is plenty of violence as well as some of the cruel realities of life. Let me also warn you that the story is slow to get into, please stick with it because it’s certainly worth it.
3.5 Stars Firstlife is by first book by Showalter, since I didn’t read her previous series. It turned out to be an interesting and unique story, even i3.5 Stars Firstlife is by first book by Showalter, since I didn’t read her previous series. It turned out to be an interesting and unique story, even if it took me a while to get into it.
The premise of the story is innovative. There are two realms: 1) Troika – which is light, sacrifice and love and 2) Myriad – full of darkness, violence and deceit. In one’s life someone must decide which realm to join after the die for the first time (hence “Firstlife”). The decision is binding, so it is kind of important. There’s a catch, if you remain unsigned, then “Many Ends” is what awaits you after your first death and that place is kind of like hell. Not good. Of course, there’s a lot more to the plot, but you get the basic premise.
Our main character is Tenley, Ten for short. She’s in a prison for teenagers design to force them into decisions they don’t want. Ten’s parents put her there because she refused to sign with Myriad. This place is full of horrors and it’s awful, but it made Ten very strong, fearless and a good fighter. She cannot made a decision and it causes her no little amount of trouble. I take it that it’s an important decision, but her ambivalence made me crazy! It turns out that she’s pretty important to both realms (not sure why though) and everyone wants her in their team. After her seventeen birthday, the pressure increases and two boys come into her life.
Archer and Killian are both sent to help Ten make a decision and to keep her safe, so kind of guardian angels/spirits. Archer is from Troika and he’s blond, strong, kind, and good to the core. Oh, and he has a British accent. Killian is a bad boy from Myriad. He’s more complex and he’s suffered a lot in his second life. He’s intrigued by Ten and her strength and need to help others. Killian is ruthless and kills without thought. Oh, and he has Scottish accent. Now, there is not triangle, okay? Archer is more like a big brother and Killian is most definitely the romantic interest. Which makes Ten’s decision harder: Does she joins the realm full of light or the one where Killian is? I love the romantic aspect of the story and that it was not insta-love.
I was slow to get into the story. I felt like at the beginning Ten told us a lot, which felt like a big info-dump to me and honestly put be off a bit. It did get better and more interesting, so stick with it :) The world building could have been done a bit better, but the overall idea was really good. There is a lot of action in the book and I was always wondering what kind of calamity will befall Ten next. Some parts of the book are very thriller like. The writing was also quite good.
This book was looonnggg (per Goodreads the book is 480 pages long) and it felt long. You understand what I mean, right? I think there was some unnecessary parts that didn’t add much to the story, I think Showalter could have told the same story and still cut like 100 pages. It felt like we were in a loop all the time with Ten thinking and whining about what choice to make.
Overall, I liked Firstlife. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a good start to the series. Now I have to wait for the second book – Lifeblood – due sometime next year, I imagine. ...more
Quite the Novel Idea http://quitethenovelidea.comhttp://quitethenovelidea.com/liza-rev...Although I've listen to all there books in audio, I failed tQuite the Novel Idea http://quitethenovelidea.comhttp://quitethenovelidea.com/liza-rev...Although I've listen to all there books in audio, I failed to review them and so I must give you the basic premise of the series without spoiling it for you. So there it goes: Some years ago there was a "big disruption" that shifted territories into different "ages. For instance, Boston, one of the main settings of the series is in the 1800's "Age", Australia is in the future, and Spain is in the Inquisition age. This creates travel and exploration between ages dangerous, and very strange. Some of the are off limits since they are in the past (like in the Ice Age) and others are so far ahead in the future that it would cause a lot of confusion to go there.
That being said, the Mapmakers trilogy is a fantasy and even though it is considered middle grade, it had an universal appeal. There is magic, religious fanaticism, prejudice, bad people (and I mean BAD people), pirates, adventure, exploration and much more. It is really hard to put into words how much is housed between the pages of the book. The plot is intricate, complicated, full of twists and turns and action packed. I mean, Grove is a genius to create so many settings, languages and cultures. The writing is beautiful.
Sophia, Theo and Shadrack are our main characters. Shadrack is one of the most famous cartologists of New Boston, a professor and prominent citizen very active in the government. Sophia is Shadrack's nice. She's in search of her parents that left to help a friend in Spain when she was very little and never came back. She's also a student of maps and her internal clock is broken (that means she looses track of time very easily). Theo is an orphan that we get to met on the first book of the trilogy and is sort of adopted by Shadrack. The characterization is incredibly good and there are SO many characters both new and old. The character growth that both Sophia and Theo undertake throughout the course of the series is amazing.
I really don't want to get into the details because so much happens here and a lot of it is spoilery if you haven't read the first two books.
The only thing I didn't like is that even at the end, Grove didn't explain how the Disruption came to be. I thought that we would get some sort of explanation of what happened.
Overall, The Crimson Skew is an imaginative series of a that creates an intricate world building based on a catastrophic event. It s a series about family and friendship, about adventure, about following your heart, about doing the right things even when it's not the easiest thing to do. It's about being open to the possibilities and about maps.
The Crimson Skew (indeed, the whole series) was narrated by Cassandra Campbell. She is a veteran at voice acting and it shows. The voices are amazing, very distinctive from each other and cohesive thought the series which is a big accomplishment since there SO many characters and accents. An outstanding job.