Posts Categorized: 3 star books

The Girl from Everywhere: Review

The Girl from Everywhere: Review

Well, this is frustrating. There are times when you read a book and you feel like it’s not the book, it’s you. This is one of those times. There is so much contained in this story that I should love. We have time travel, pirates, romance (well, ha, we’ll get to that shortly), and diversity! But The Girl from Everywhere was a book I struggled to connect with from the beginning, and unfortunately, failed to connect with overall. The premise is very interesting. We have a girl born in Hawaii in 1868, but who has grown up on a tall ship literally throughout time and place on this Earth. Her father is from modern NYC, so Nix is equally at home on her smartphone in 2016 as she is traversing to 19th century India. Nix finds herself on this ship thanks to her father, the captain. Her mother having died… Read more »

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Sorcerer to the Crown: Review

Sorcerer to the Crown: Review

In many ways, this book was such a perfect Christmas-time read. It is a Regency-era British historical fantasy that delights in the magic employed within its pages, and the utter charm of its characters and its world. The writing is also a treat; completely in the style of a book that had been written in the Regency era, it more than does its job in conveying the reader so completely to the world on its pages. When you want a book that’s going to wholly transport you, this is the sort you reach for. In the world of Sorcerer to the Crown, Britain’s supply of magic has been on the decline for years. The flow of magic from Fairyland into the mortal realm has all but stopped, as have the presence of familiars, the spirits/vessels of magic needed to make a mere magician into a sorcerer. This being Regency Britain,… Read more »

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Worlds of Ink and Shadow: Review

Worlds of Ink and Shadow: Review

If you ever read and loved Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, you should probably read Lena Coakley’s forthcoming novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow. I didn’t entirely love Worlds of Ink and Shadow – which posits that the Brontë siblings could all construct fantastical imaginary worlds and enter them at will –  but at what cost? ::cue ominous music:: What I did really love was being reminded of how much I love the Brontës, and the obvious affection that Coakley has for her subjects. I also haven’t read much of their juvenilia – I’m only familiar with it from Juliet Barker’s biography of the Brontës – but now feel renewed interest in their work and curiosity about material that I haven’t read, which is never a bad way to feel. In any case, the premise of the novel is a really interesting one – the Brontës can… Read more »

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These Shallow Graves: Review

These Shallow Graves: Review

If you enjoy historical fiction with a spunky female lead, some romance, and a murder mystery thrown in for good measure, you might want to pick up Jennifer Donnelly’s latest book, These Shallow Graves. I admit, I was lured in by the promise of a spunky female lead in this case – a girl who secretly dreams of being a writer and defying societal expectations! – ’cause that’s my jam all the time. In turn-of-the-century America, no less! (An aside: my love for American history has been totally revitalized by the release of the soundtrack for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, by the way. And this is … a century later! Where’s my Revolutionary War YA when I need it?) Anyway. Ahem. Back to business! Despite the spunky female lead, while I liked many aspects of These Shallow Graves, I didn’t connect with it emotionally in the way that I wanted… Read more »

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It’s A Wonderful Death: Review

It’s A Wonderful Death: Review

It’s interesting how some three star books are “good” three stars, and some three star books are “bad” three stars. This is definitely the case of a “good” three star. It’s a book that I genuinely enjoyed, and one that was funny, deep, and alternately light hearted yet heart aching throughout. I suppose this is the part where I admit to you, friends, that I have been in such a terrible reading slump for well over a month now. Nothing (other than Cara McKenna’s excellent romance novels it seems) is getting through to me at the real emotional level. This novel was good and affecting, but some emotions just didn’t get through to me, and I can’t tell if it’s me and my slump or the book. Frustrating! So the premise goes that RJ’s soul is accidentally reaped and she is sent onto the Afterlife for “processing”. The Afterlife was… Read more »

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Dreamstrider: Review

Dreamstrider: Review

While I, sadly, didn’t fully connect with this novel as I would have liked to, I do have to admire it for the sheer ambition of its scope. This story set itself after the incredibly complex task of telling a political mystery, set in a fantasy world, where dreams themselves figure so heavily they are practically characters. You know how difficult it is to describe your dream to someone? You can see it so clearly, but when you go to actually tell it it’s impossible? This story features a lot of dreams, and I have to applaud Lindsay Smith for the attempt to capture and convey the weirdness and irreality of them in the context of a story. Dreamstrider takes place in a fantasy world that is reminiscent of a sort of 17th-18th century Europe. The Barstadt Empire is a nation with a very strict class system. There are the… Read more »

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Lizard Radio: Review

Lizard Radio: Review

Do you want to read a dystopian novel with a genderqueer protagonist who may or may not be part lizard? If this sounds like something you didn’t know you wanted, Lizard Radio is the book for you. It’s a hard book to describe. Our protagonist, Kivali – familiarly known as Lizard, was abandoned as a baby  (wrapped in a lizard t-shirt!). Lizard is adopted by Sheila, a human woman who becomes her foster mom and sends her, at the opening of the novel, to CropCamp. The novel takes off from there – CropCamp is all about teaching teenagers how to be good citizens of an oppressive totalitarian government; teens have to attend CropCamp or one of the many other strictly regimented government-run camps and, if they fail, risk being sent to Blight. At CropCamp, a camp focused on developing agricultural workers, group conformity is prized; state-sanctioned heterosexual relationships are supposed to emerge… Read more »

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