Posts Categorized: 4.5 star books

Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Ah, I am seriously so interested and excited by this book. For folks who are unfamiliar with The Madman’s Daughter series by Megan Shepherd, the basic premise is as follows: what if Dr. Moreau (island, animal-human hybrids, H.G. Wells) had a daughter with the same scientific bent? The first book (Wendy has a positive review of that book here; Tonya liked it less) follows Juliet Moreau from London – where she’s been living and working, cleaning university laboratories and the like after her father disappeared following a scandal that besmirched their family name – to the fabled island her father’s currently set up shop on. Juliet’s anxious and excited about reuniting with her father, but her feelings become more troubled when she discovers that the rumors are true: not only is her father a vivisectionist, but he is crafting human beings from the parts of different animals. (Whom he names after characters from Shakespeare, because… Read more »

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Station Eleven: Review

Station Eleven: Review

This is a fascinating story, a combination of post-apocalyptic genre fiction and literary fiction. A novel that is not so much concerned with the how of survival as it is with the why. It is a survival story but it is not survivalist. There are almost no heart pounding action scenes or encounters with the depraved dregs of humanity. There are big questions at hand. What does it mean to be alive when almost everyone else is dead? How do we go on when the world we knew is gone? How do you make a life in the graveyard of civilization? There is a certain horror element in how real the situation could be. A pandemic flu could come and wipe out humanity. There have been great plagues throughout history. In the age of air travel our world is more interconnected than ever. We will carry that virus farther and… Read more »

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Trial by Fire: guest post + giveaway

Trial by Fire: guest post + giveaway

I love paranormal romances, but it’s rare to find one that hits all the right spots in combining fantastic magic-wielding, fun action scenes, nuanced characters with agency, and swoony romance. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini arrowed right into the bulls-eye, however, and Lily Proctor’s development from an allergy-ridden, insecure klutz into a young woman who embraces incredible power in an alternate universe is handled with just the right touch. Lily is so painfully awkward in the beginning–and so obviously in love with a guy who doesn’t appreciate her–that I was nervous about whether the transition would feel right, but I loved the way she comes into her own. This book also hit on two of my GoodReads shelves that don’t see nearly enough action: the hilarious books shelf and the crush-worthy boys shelf! That’s right, a guy you wanna make out with AND a story that keeps you laughing…. Read more »

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Heir of Fire: Review

Heir of Fire: Review

Send help. Once again, the inimitable Sarah J. Maas has destroyed me. Darker, more animalistic and complex, with a spate of awesome new characters, greater sense of magic, and ever expanding locations, this series has started to fully realize its potential as truly epic fantasy. At last, the world of Throne of Glass feels as though it’s living up to the promise of The Assassin’s Blade when it comes to the scale of the story. This volume has a very different feel from its predecessors. The majority of the novel takes place outside of Rifthold, has Celaena separated from Dorian and Chaol, and features plots and locations that make the story fresh, new, and unpredictable. In many ways I can’t help but admire Maas for having the guts to to be true to her story when it’s so different from what readers have come to expect from previous books. But… Read more »

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Cuckoo Song: Review

Cuckoo Song: Review

Cuckoo Song is one of those books that I really struggled to find the words for. You know those books that have such an intense amount of complexity, beauty, and feeling? The kind of book that leaves you asking yourself, “How can I do this book justice?” Yes, this is one of those. I was expecting this story to be a creepy, horror-tinged, fantastical mystery. And it is those things. But I was not expecting it to also be a story about the devastating effects of war on both societal and personal levels and of how a family torn apart by grief can come back together again. It’s also somehow lovely. So, so lovely in the midst of such horror.. Imagine you woke up one morning with all memories fractured, able only to grasp at mere pieces of who you are. You went missing from your home last night, found… Read more »

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Open Road Summer: Review

Open Road Summer: Review

When Crossroads came out, I was in high school, and I saw it with my friends opening night. I knew I would hate it. I knew it would be terrible. I was right. But I LOVE stories about teenage friendships. The friendships are my favorite part of any coming-of-age story. Something that adults frequently get wrong when writing about teenage romance is that in real life, girls’ friends are significantly more important to them than their romantic partners. Once you get older and start thinking about marriage and maybe starting a family, suddenly the person you date/marry/whatever becomes the center of your life, but in most healthy teenage relationships (those without co-dependency issues) this isn’t actually the case. Teenage girls rely on their female friends for most of their emotional needs. The friendship between Reagan and Dee is the backbone of this story, and they fit together like one of… Read more »

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Dorothy Must Die: review

Dorothy Must Die: review

Well, color me surprised! These riffs on classic stories can go either way, but it turns out that Dorothy Must Die is an awesomely skewed Oz. There’s plenty to enjoy for all lovers of fairy tale-type fantasy whether you’re familiar with the books or film. Those who love the original stories will appreciate the nods to all the Oz inspirations, including a rescue from a pole, unsettling statues, a protective kiss, eye trauma, chamber maid disguises, and so on. Personally, I’d always thought Dorothy should have clicked her heels together and wished for something better than a trip back to Nowheresville. “You only heard half the story. She did go home,” Indigo said. “Turns out, home wasn’t so great after all…one way or another, when Dorothy got here, that’s when all the problems started.” But while Dorothy Gale found that there was merely a man behind the wizard, Amy Gumm… Read more »

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