Life Lesson of the Day: Don't piss off the faeries.
Many, many years ago, the Aes Sídhe (faeries) were banished from the Emerald Isle to a place of bleLife Lesson of the Day: Don't piss off the faeries.
Many, many years ago, the Aes Sídhe (faeries) were banished from the Emerald Isle to a place of bleakness--a grey, hostile place--and they've never forgiven the Irish for it. A generation prior to the beginning of the story, the Sídhe succeeded in cutting Ireland off from the rest of the world, and now wage a brutal war on the Irish by "calling" their teenagers--literally, disappearing them to the Faerie Otherworld, where the teens arrive, naked and vulnerable and forced to flee from the cruel Sídhe. If they catch you, they'll play with you and kill you. Or send you back, after a day, horribly maimed and traumatized. 9 in 10 teens don't make it.
To adjust, Ireland has established "survival schools" in which the teens endure brutal training and privation to up their chances of living through The Call. Nessa is one such teen--but her odds are even worse, as she is crippled from a case of childhood polio. It's her fierce determination to survive which keeps her going, but it might not be the Sídhe she needs to survive. Her school is filled with power-hungry bullies who feel the resources are wasted on people like Nessa--and even worse, the Sídhe appear to be infiltrating their world in new ways, through betrayals and ever more ruthless acts.
Think of Hunger Games and Divergent set in Ireland, with a magical flare and very very little hope. Don't expect more than the bleakest of happy endings. But DO expect a book that's hard to put down....more
I don't actively avoid Christian or faith-based fiction, but it's not high up on my priority list, either. I didn't thinkSneaky, sneaky Bethany House!
I don't actively avoid Christian or faith-based fiction, but it's not high up on my priority list, either. I didn't think to note the publisher/imprint of this book, but those of us in the know would have seen "Bethany House" and it would have been a dead giveaway. Because it sure wasn't from the blurb! "A sparkling British historical romance"...missing heiress, mother dead under mysterious circumstances, rare treasures...okay, I'll bite.
So, in the beginning, young and (of course) lovely Brook is thought by many to be the illegitimate daughter of a Monaco Prince. But she sends her devoted friend Justin to England with some scant evidence about her mother's family, and soon learns that she is a baroness, a missing heir to a wealthy lord who has spent many years searching for her. So to England she travels, and is confronted with a family who soon accepts her as one of theirs (or do they?) and a host of servants who are less than welcoming. But there are mysteries afoot, and an attack on her body draws her new family, friends, and servants closer to her--but it might be too late.
Also, at the beginning, very little talk about religion or God or faith. (And to be very fair, throughout the book there's little-to-no-talk about organized religion or denominations.) It took me a good third-to-half the book to realize that it was in fact a Christian-based novel. But by the end, there were many Biblical references, lots of praying, and plenty of folks trusting in the Lord to keep them in His plans and sights. It didn't quite come off as unbelievable, but I've spent many years in the more worldly circles of Downton Abbey, where the characters usually keep their faith at a comfortable distance from their day-to-day toils and big-picture plans. Somehow, I can't imagine Mary or Edith Crawley turning to their Bible or Anthony Stallen promising he will pray unceasingly.
Throughout, the language of the book avoiding what we call "swear words", and while there were a few incidents of violence and references to sex, the plot remained interesting, and not anesthetized. I enjoyed the book enough that I will happily read the next in the series. ...more
Honestly, I wanted to like this book. Having grown up in Florida--which to many is a lovely place, but to me always was and always will be a dead-endHonestly, I wanted to like this book. Having grown up in Florida--which to many is a lovely place, but to me always was and always will be a dead-end swamp--I was eager to read this novel of a young woman who grew up in a trailer and made stupid choices and persevered and managed to meet a decent fellow and get employed by a rising political power couple. But this book--it was just bad from beginning to end.
Why? The plot is riddled with gaps in its timeline--the book fast-forwards a year and a half from one chapter to the next. Crucially interesting things are glossed over. Poor editing and proofreading plague the text. The authors tell, they don't show, and as a result, when characters do certain things, it doesn't feel real because we never really experienced them doing the things they did. And it's hard to connect to the characters anyway, so when two people (the politician for whom she works, and her grandmother) fail her (one of them spectacularly, one of them sort of resignedly, but still surprisingly, because it was out of character) it's very difficult to care.
This is an entertaining but, at this point, formulaic story about what happens when a girl meets a guy and the girl (Jules, an insanely driven and ambThis is an entertaining but, at this point, formulaic story about what happens when a girl meets a guy and the girl (Jules, an insanely driven and ambitious high school senior) has a hard time believing the new guy (Alex, a former member of a one-hit-wonder Boy Band) is into her. Just when she lets herself think that she can make room in her packed schedule (student council, school newspaper editor, volunteer goody-goody) for a fella, he does something that, in her eyes, is tantamount to betrayal of her present life and future ambitions--he joins the school's rival media committee. By this point, Alex has insinuated himself into their group of friends, and so there's no escaping him. Of course, because this is a Teen Novel, they'll clear things up, but not before Jules alienates a few people and screws up a few times along the way.
Only things really remarkable about this book were that Jules' parents are both female (LGBTQ teen novels are a thing, yes, but how often do we encounter teen novels with LGBTQ parents!), and that this is set in L.A. (sigh), which the author does a fairly solid job of depicting. ...more