Posts Categorized: 2016

A Curious Beginning: Review

A Curious Beginning: Review

If you’ve been itching to curl up with an absorbing historical mystery that will make you laugh and swoon, then A Curious Beginning is right up your alley! I am not usually much one for mystery novels, but the combination of features here, Victorian London, an intrepid and super sassy heroine (also a lady scientist, yay!), and a developing romance hit all the right checkmarks for me. I’m glad I gave this one a try as it really is a super enjoyable set up to what could, finger crossed, be a long and rewarding series! The story begins with our heroine, Veronica Speedwell, burying  her last “relative” and remaining connection to her childhood. A foundling, Veronica had been raised by two spinster sisters, often moving at a whim around the country, causing constant upheaval in her life. Veronica soon discovers, though, that her very life is under attack, with mysterious… Read more »

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison: Review

A Fierce and Subtle Poison: Review

I’m not quite sure what to write about Samantha Mabry’s debut, A Fierce and Subtle Poison. It’s an absorbing novel – magical realism isn’t generally my thing, but Mabry’s prose made this novel really work well for me. It is incredibly beautifully written, you all. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it. It’s been one of my favorite reads of the year so far. Additionally, I started and finished A Fierce and Subtle Poison in less than 24 hours, so there’s that. So. The book is a retelling (I think) of Hawthorne’s short story, Rappaccini’s Daughter, of which I remember … not a whit. The premise of the novel is something like this: there’s a legend about a cursed house in Old San Juan, where no birds will fly over. In it lives a cursed girl, with green skin and grass for hair. Lucas and his friends have both heard and… Read more »

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The Library School Diaries: Part II

The Library School Diaries: Part II

  Hello, friends, and welcome to another installment of the Library School Diaries! I am so sad that library school keeps me basically incapable of keeping up with you all on blog posts, Twitter, Instagram, and all other places of social fun. I have been diligently plugging away at my second semester of studies for Master of Library and Information Science with a specialization in the School Library Certification Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Just like last semester, I’m taking five classes again. It’s a huge course load, and I also have two part-time jobs, so things have been super busy for me! But without further ado, let’s take a look at what I’ve been learning in my second semester.     I’m in the school library program (I hope to be a high school librarian one day!), and as someone without a previous education background, this means I am also working… Read more »

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The Serpent King: Review

The Serpent King: Review

With its contemporary setting, religious themes, serious subject matter, and known tearjerker elements, The Serpent King isn’t the sort of book I would typically love. But I went into it with an open heart and a strong desire to like it. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite agree. I felt that the weighty material the book wants to cover ultimately couldn’t be carried by the comparatively weak character portraits. Let’s delve into it. The story centers on three main characters, Dill, Lydia, and Travis. Dill is living under the shadow of his snake-handling preacher father who has been in jail for several years now after a conviction on possession of sexual images of minors. In his small, Tennessee town apparently the sins of the father are visited on the son, as Dill must deal with an angry, judgmental community. He also struggles with the weight of his own conflicted feelings on faith… Read more »

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The Love That Split the World: Review

The Love That Split the World: Review

I’d been slow to read Emily Henry’s debut novel The Love That Split the World (in part because it’d been advertised as the lovechild of Friday Night Lights and The Time Traveler’s Wife, and … I irrationally dislike that book). The Love That Split the World is chock-full of the sort of themes I very much enjoy in young adult novels: relationships, belonging, figuring out one’s identity and one’s place in different communities. And in The Love That Split the World, those were the aspects I most enjoyed. Give me all your feelings! The trappings of time travel or parallel universes, while interesting, were often confusing to me. And while understanding those things was necessary for plot purposes, it wasn’t necessarily all that important in terms of the story’s emotional impact, which was – at least for me – much more powerful. Still, I feel conflicted about The Love That Split the World. Here’s why. The premise is… Read more »

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Rebel of the Sands: Review

Rebel of the Sands: Review

This review is going to be frustrating to write. So far, all of my GoodReads friends have adored Rebel of the Sands, and it comes on the strong recommendation of Wendy. But I was never swept up by the story, or as wholly captivated by the world and the romance as I quite wanted to be. I’ll address some of the things that I think prevented from being fully invested at the start of this review. Amani is a gunslinger (awesome!) and a girl struggling to get by in Dustwalk, her unfriendly desert community. For as long as she’s known anything, Amani has been desperate to escape. This is historical fantasy that blends a Middle Eastern-based setting with the tone and feel of an American Western. And it just didn’t work for me. I found the language (It’s folksy and Western. Like, “I reckon” and a town named “Dustwalk” when… Read more »

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Blackhearts: Review

Blackhearts: Review

I was excited to read Nicole Castroman’s debut, Blackhearts, because I love historical fiction! I love historical fiction set in the 18th century! and Blackbeard! And, um, as a North Carolina resident, I went to the NC Maritime Museum this summer and saw artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. If you are in or around Beaufort, NC, by the way, you too can do this thing. While I did not totally love Blackhearts, I am not sure that it’s the fault of the book? I went into Blackhearts wanting richly developed historical fiction with a little bit of romance on the side. What made Edward Teach into Blackbeard? Instead, the book is … a lot of romance. It’s primarily about Teach’s relationship with Anne Barrett, who is working, when they are first introduced, as a maid in Teach’s father’s home. Anne is the daughter of a white merchant and a… Read more »

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