Death Coming Up the Hill by Chris Crowe took my breath away! So much history packed into a 197 page book! The history flowed through the story seamlessly and cohesively. The Haiku format brought interest and simplicity to the layout. I highly recommend this book to all historical fiction readers.
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for the arc of The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle! Cara and her family (her mother, ex-step brother Sam and her sister Alice) suffer annually from an extreme bout of accident proneness. While looking through her entire photo collection, she sees Elsie in each of the pictures. Elsie is a mysterious and quiet girl Cara has known throughout her lifetime. Cara’s best friend Bea has a knack for tarot cards and other supernatural talents. The story has a British feel – smoking outside of the school, tea, Irish class – which gives it more interest to American readers.
Spoiler Alert: After reading other reviews on The Accident Season, I feel the need to point out that the main focus of the story is not on Cara and Sam’s relationship or even on the awful stepfather, but on the entire strangeness of events happening, now and in the past, to Cara’s family members, seperately and as a group. The mom explains Elsie towards the end of the story, even though she doesn’t want to believe it herself.
The Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake is a magnificent read. Thank you Entangled Publishing for the copy of The Thief of Lies! First of all, I love the cover and the story concept. Another plus, the young woman on the cover actually matches the description of Gia that Brenda Drake describes in the book! Sometimes that is a rare thing. The matter of fact descriptions throughout the story are entertaining and informative and help with the world building. On page 146, the description of Veronique’s dress made me laugh out loud. Gia has an enjoyable love interest, but she frustrates me when she jumps to conclusions about Arik instead of thinking of how he feels, but I suppose that is human nature. Gia has found out how complicated her life, past and present, is and how much more complicated it is going to become as she deals with mysterious and vivid dreams and the truth unfolds. There’s a lot going on in this book, but it’s all cohesive and flowing. Every time I think I have grasped all of the details, something else slams into me, such as Gia’s betrothed. This 378 page book packs a big punch!
I would be happy if the Library Jumpers series contained eight books, one book per year of Gia’s Sentinel duty or even six books total and have a book for each Chiavi (key) that needs to be found. Oh the amazing and wonderful possibilities!
Thanks to NetGalley and HMH for Young Readers for the arc of Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor! This is a marvelous book about Hope and time-travel. Hope loses her mother during an earthquake and then many years later, Hope travels to Scotland to visit relatives and to hopefully learn more about her mother. Once Hope is in Scotland, the adventures begin. The mystery surrounding Hope and the smoothly flowing writing make Into the Dim a treat to read. Once I began reading this book, I had a very difficult time pulling myself away from this magical time-traveling story with its dynamic characters and wonderful writing. Several times, the descriptions felt so real that I actually caught myself holding my breath – especially through the claustrophobic parts. The book held surprises and suspense; I love it and want to read the sequel now!
I have debated my rating of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard for a few days now. I give it 3.5 stars. Reading Truthwitch is like learning a new language for the first few chapters. There are several different types of “witches”, each with a unique power, but I feel that more explanation is needed for these powers and the world of the book. I am also saddened by the errors. For example, shears and sheers are used on the same page to describe the same pair of scissors and on page 222, putting is spelled “puting”. Too many similar words occur throughout the story with not much explanation of their meanings. The one that bothered me the most is on page 401, when Cahr Awen is mentioned (I think this is a cool concept of power) and Carawen (which is some vow). Now that I am done complaining, I will talk about what I did like. I thought the chapter when Merik and Safi danced was just plain fun and the suspense kept me interested in reading to the end. The intense ending brought cliffhangers to all of the characters and I am interested to learn more about Iseult and Aeduan! Hopefully the sequel will bring these characters and their world more to life!
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes intrigued me in so many ways. I was immediately drawn into the story from the very first sentence! A girl who has no hands – extremely sad. A girl whose hands were cut off purposely by someone else – horribly tragic and frustrating. Minnow’s hands were taken from her just because she didn’t want to marry someone who already had eight wives. When Minnow was five, her family joined a religious cult lead by a prophet named Kevin. Therefore, they were known as Kevinians.
This compelling story has so many different facets, so once I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down. The cult life, Minnow’s anger and confusion, the sadistic prophet, Jude and his struggles, Minnow’s escape and first confrontation with a city dweller, and the forensic psychologist Dr. Wilson and his affect on Minnow. This book is inspiring with the message that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes, it only matters what you think!:)
Thanks to NetGalley and SparkPress for the arc of Blonde Eskimo by Kristen Hunt! A light colored Eskimo in modern times finds out about her ancestry and the power she holds. She also discovers the uniqueness of her power. The story would flow better if told through Neiva’s point of view instead of third person and sometimes alternating points of view. I enjoyed the journal entries which all are in first person and Neiva’s point of view.
Neiva moves to Alaska and lives with her grandmother. Her parents have left on a trip and want Neiva to finish high school in Alaska. She is not used to her surroundings and is also struggling with everything that happens on her seventeenth birthday and after! Strong characters, I especially like Nate and his personality, and the mythology make this an interesting read.
Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for the arc of Pure Soapmaking by Anne-Marie Faiola. This book is full of detailed directions, precautions and illustrations making it a must have for anyone interested in soap making! I have thought about soap making in the past and was interested in reading this book to see how difficult making soap would be. It isn’t as easy as I thought it would be and there are real precautions that need to be taken to make soap safely, but after reading this book I really want to dive in and try to make my own natural soaps. All ingredients and supplies needed are listed and notes on how to adjust recipes are also included, as well as how to make a safe work space. Great hobby book!
Thanks to Algonquin for the free book of Jackaby by William Ritter! This Sherlock Holmes style story has a supernatural twist, which just adds to the fun! On page 55, Jackaby gets “socked” in the face by a woman because he made a harmless statement. I laughed out loud at this! The humor continues throughout the entire book and is placed appropriately so it doesn’t interfere with the suspense of the mystery.
I love that Abigail Rook is the narrator of the story. Abigail is impressively independent, especially in the 1890’s setting. I enjoyed the letter at the end of the story immensely. In this letter, Jackaby dictates to Abigail his request for the police to return his tuning fork. A long winded explanation later, Abigail includes a small note, unbeknownst to Jackaby. The note simply states, “Please return Jackaby’s tuning fork. He’s getting more obnoxious than usual.” The fork is returned that very evening with a note attached, “I completely understand.” Jackaby mistakes the note for understanding of the importance of the fork, but Abigail knows the truth. I am not doing the humor in this book the justice it deserves. Read it and enjoy it for yourself:)