Rest in Peace Maeve Binchy!I just finished and am a little bit speechless. I fell in love with this book from the first page and stayed in love until the last. I really did not want to reach the end of this one. All of the characters are amazing and their individual stories are incredible. If I would have had the time I could have easily read this novel in one or two sittings and I will buy a copy so that I can read it again in the future. This was my first book by Maeve Binchy but now I will find everything that she wrote and read them all. I wish I would have discovered her work sooner.
*This is an uncorrected galley I received via NetGalley*4 StarsIn 1915 London, orphan Lora Jones, has known true hardship and has learned how to survive the rough environments that she has grown up in. Being an orphan is tough, but being an orphan who is different and has unique gifts is dangerous. When she is chosen to attend an elite finishing school for girls as one of the Duke’s charity cases it’s clear that she has a chance at a better life, but she soon has trouble keeping her gifts hidden. The strange draw towards the Duke’s son, Armand, and her growing feelings for the groundskeeper, Jesse, provides answers that she had thought impossible and bonds the three of them in ways that they never expected or welcomed but that could possibly save their lives. I like to get the negatives out of the way first. Pacing is my big complaint. There are a few places here and there that seemed slower that the rest. The lulls didn’t last long, but they were noticeable. The other thing is that I felt the characters lacked some depth. I won’t nag on that too much (that would normally be the big complaint) because in a way it does go along with the story line and could have been intentional. Like I noted above…this is an uncorrected galley so any grammar, spelling, or formatting mistakes were ignored. Plus I am no grammatical genius so I wouldn’t do that unless the mistakes made it unreadable. The plot in many ways is original (in my reading experience thus far) and that kept my fingers turning the pages. It has mystery, action, adventure, and love so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. There’s also this beautiful quality to it that made me want to sink into the words and stay cuddled up in them. The descriptiveness was so vivid that I would get goose pimples every once in awhile and that made up for the complaints that I did have. This was my first novel by this author but will not be the last. This is a light read and even with the slow spots here and there it could easily be read in one sitting if someone has that option. I definitely recommend this one.
4 Stars*This is an uncorrected galley I received through NetGalley*In Victorian London a teenaged orphan boy, Riley, lives in fear of his guardian, Albert Garrick, an illusionist turned assassin. When Riley is thrust into the future he gains a friend in nineteen year old FBI Agent Chevron Savano. Agent Savano has her own troubles to run from after making a mistake on a big case in Los Angeles. Being a laughing stock to her fellow agents she has something to prove. So when Albert Garrick comes looking for his apprentice Chevron and Riley work together to save both the past and the future from the assassin.This is packed full of edge of the seat action. The pacing was perfect and this could be a very quick read if someone has the time to devote. It really is a lot of fun. The time travel sequences are not confusing and it’s easy to follow. I was afraid it would feel congested or cluttered but it all flowed very well. There was some laugh out loud moments for me as well which I wasn’t really expecting. My only complaint would be that I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters. They are likable but lacking something. That could change with future installments. I would recommend this one to anyone young or old for a fast and fun read.
3 Stars*This is an uncorrected galley I received from NetGalley*Sobriety hasn’t been easy for radio DJ Heidi Hawthorne, but she manages well enough with the help of her friends and coworkers along with her dog, Steve. When a mysterious band called The Lords sends a gift for her to the station of an even more mysterious record she couldn’t possibly predict what playing it on the air would do to the people of her little town. As evil infects the town and people are brutally murdered the town’s history comes back to thrust her into a gruesome and violent hell.For about five minutes of my late teens I was a fan of Rob Zombie’s music (more so White Zombie). There’s a lot I like about his movies but a lot I don’t like about them. I thought it would be interesting to read something of his and I must say I liked it more than I was expecting. The formatting for this about a quarter ways in was horrible, but that is not the author’s fault so I won’t nag. For about 10 pages (ebook pages) things were jumbled and even repeated. There might have even been text missing since once things were back on track I felt like I missed something vital.My big complaint would be the reader/character relationship. I wasn’t really invested in them at all so I was indifferent to a lot of the events that took place. The other thing would be the vulgarity. I have heard the cliché “sex sells” many times but like in his movies there is a gross factor that for me screams desperate. I have never found that necessary in movies or book of the horror genre. On the positive side is the pacing. The speed or lulls match the action perfectly. For those who enjoy this genre it is a quick read. The plot is not original but this is a unique spin on an old favorite. The biggest positive for me would be the ending and for obvious reasons I cannot explain why. Will I watch this movie…yes eventually. Do I recommend this book…yes but read my complaint paragraph about the vulgarity first.
*This is an ARC copy I received via library thing*4 StarsIn 1845 Emily Dickinson is just fifteen and already feels the monotony of a domesticated lifestyle. While waiting for some kind of excitement to enter her life she meets a handsome young man who knows nothing about her or her family for a change. He’s a mystery that she finds surprising and she wants to keep their new friendship a secret. The mystery of his identity, however, turns Emily’s life upside down when his body is found in her pond and she has to race the clock to not only find out who is he but also how he died.As far as a mystery goes this one was pretty predictable, which would be my one complaint. This being a book for young adults’ I would expect more to the mystery and this reads more like a mystery for a middle readers’ (which I am also a fan of). Otherwise I really enjoyed this. There’s a tad bit of everything a good story needs plus a tad bit of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. I could absolutely envision the author’s Emily as the real life Ms. Dickinson that I have read about in the past. This novel seems well researched and the author provides the reader with titles for further reading if they are so inclined. The characters, along with the plot, make this a quick and enjoyable read. Even though there is a little bit of dark mixed in it’s ultimately a feel good story. This one will definitely generate some interest into an amazing writer and poet.
I got a little worried when I saw all of the one and two star ratings but decided not to read the reviews. I tend not to read low rated reviews so that's not uncommon. It's not that I don't respect those opinions. I just like to go into a book with a neutral attitude.One of my negatives about the book is that there were times when I got a little confused with the plot, but the more I read the more those kinks seemed to smooth out. The other thing would have to be that I didn't really get a feel for some of the minor characters who had some significance to the plot. I am a character person so that's a big deal for me.I did enjoy the story line and think that it is a fresh look at an old theme. There were times that I found myself laughing and I really enjoyed the protagonist. There's some action which is always a plus and the pacing is great. This could easily be read in one sitting if I would have had that option. This is another one that I will recommend.
4 Stars*This is an uncorrected galley I received from NetGalley*After Madeleine and her mother run away from their previous lives to Cambridge (our world) she forms a relationship with a boy, Elliot, from the Kingdom of Cello. Elliot’s father is missing under mysterious circumstances and Madeleine wants nothing more than for her father to rescue her from her new dreary life. Their correspondence is forbidden but as they pass notes back and forth through the “crack” they find that their mysteries are being solved with their unique experiences including assignments about Isaac Newton and the magical Butterfly Child. With the increasing “color attacks” in the Kingdom of Cello and Madeleine’s mother’s strange behavior they have to depend on each other to find answers quickly.I am only saying this to explain why this took me longer to read than it should have and doesn’t reflect upon the rating I am giving. The formatting was really rough and made it difficult at times to read. If the story wasn’t as good as it is I don’t think I could have continued. My one complaint is that there were times in the beginning that I found myself a little confused and going back to make sure I had a grasp on the material. There are a lot of characters to keep straight and when you are flipping from one world to another more clarity can be required. I would have to read a finished copy to see if maybe the formatting had something to do with this. Otherwise I only have good things to say. The plot is amazing! The story lines of the two protagonists might not be entirely original but the author puts a unique spin on it. Even though some of the things they come into contact with are tough problems that the reader may be able to relate to, it’s told in a way that’s easy to digest. The characters are a lot of fun and I got emotionally involved in their stories. The best part of this one for me is the magical atmosphere the author created. If there was a way to get to the Kingdom of Cello I would be on my way. I truly recommend this one no matter if you are a young adult or adult. It has a little something for everyone and is like a vacation and a great story all in one.
*This is an uncorrected galley I received through NetGalley*Fifteen year old Izzy Brannick has been trained to fight monsters, but attending school for the first time turns out to be a conflicting experience for her. Tackling high school drama and a new small town comes after Izzy’s sister Finley disappears and weird reports of a haunting at the school is the break from their dangerous lifestyle that her mom thinks they need. Making friends was not on Izzy’s agenda but getting close to them could lead her to the clues she needs to solve the haunting and move on. When people start getting hurt Izzy must trust those new friends to help her to stop the haunting once and for all bringing her closer to them than she intends.There is nothing for me to complain about. The one thing that I really enjoy about Rachel Hawkins’ books is the characters. They are always very vivid, unique, and even the antagonists are relatable. The pacing is right on speed with the action and the pages turned effortlessly. If I could have dedicated my time to this I could have finished it in a few hours.The character relationships were great (even comical at times) and it was not over romantic, which is refreshing in young adult novels. I absolutely recommend this one and will be waiting for the next installment anxiously.
I won this book through a goodreads giveaway.*This is a sequel to Tempest*Since this is a second in a series I would rather not give a synopsis out of fear of unintentional spoilers. I am guessing that if someone has made it this point they have already seen at least one description.The first thing I will mention is my relief. I have what I call “second syndrome.” I tend to dislike sequels. This isn’t true of every series and some seconds I have liked considerably more than firsts, but it does happen often. That is not the case for Vortex, thank goodness. My main complaint is the same as it was for Tempest and that is the pacing. It is slower than I would have liked, especially since there is more action. It did take awhile for me to get to the point of not wanting to put it down and that can be the only explanation.There are more characters to keep track of, but that didn’t pose the problem that I thought it would in the beginning. They all seemed to fit well and their personalities are so different that it adds more fun to the story. I really do like the concept and it’s done very well. Not to repeat my Tempest review, but time travel story lines can be very disorienting, so it’s nice to be able to say that this one is easy to follow. Relationships are an essential part of this plot and a nice anchor to the plot. I recommend this one as well.