Posts Categorized: 4 star books

Of Metal and Wishes: Review

Of Metal and Wishes: Review

My goodness. This is a beautifully written, gruesome, creepy, and yet somehow intensely romantic read. Going into this I had no idea that it was a Phantom of the Opera retelling. I thought it was a paranormal read with an actual ghost featuring in there as a love interest. I do think it best to inform you this is not the case! Still, that is not to say there is no mystery to the Ghost of this story and the unfolding of that is one of the central joys of the book. I’ll leave you to it. :) I loved the characters in this story. Wen is such a courageous person, perhaps more so because, truly, she is timid and vulnerable. Full of self doubt and quick to take on the burden of self punishment, it is great to watch her transformation over the course of the story. The supporting… Read more »

Divider

Silver Shadows: review

Silver Shadows: review

!!!! was the only reaction I had when I finished Silver Shadows a few days ago. I’m still smiling about it, because Richelle Mead is in fine form in the fifth installment of her Bloodlines series, which features an engrossing story, well-written action scenes, swoony romance, and exciting–OH SO EXCITING–plot developments. As the book begins, we find Sydney in captivity. The Alchemists don’t approve of her involvement with vampires, so they’ve taken her to a “re-education” center, where the methods of controlling the residents are so extreme that Adrian is unable to use spirit to contact her. Sydney’s state of mind, physical trauma, and the day-to-day workings of this awful environment are detailed in a convincing way, as are the quietly clever, methodical ways she works to stay mentally strong, and to help others. One of the things I like best about this book is that it takes place away… Read more »

Divider

All Four Stars: Review

All Four Stars: Review

Warning! Do not read this book while hungry! You will just end up grumbly and resentful at all the delicious, delicious food inside! But perhaps not as sad as poor Gladys is after her parents ban her from the kitchen for one measly little accident with a blowtorch. Worst of all, they’re terrible cooks and only order super gross takeout from their town of East Dumpsford. Gladys is a food wizard and her parents are simply food Muggles. What’s a little foodie to do? A surprising amount, actually! Goodness but this book is charming. The writing is unbelievably cute. It has that faint irreality and sense of wacky adventure that is common in MG and employed here to great effect. You might think this entire scenario to ludicrously unrealistic but trust in this author. Each turn of the story was delightful and had me chuckling along. And there are so… Read more »

Divider

Guy in Real Life: Review

Guy in Real Life: Review

Wow. So I went into this book thinking I was going to read this charming little story about two gamer kids overcoming their differences and falling in love. And this is that book. Sort of. But it’s mostly so much more. It’s a complex, yet sweet and often humorous, examination of identities and gender roles. This is one of the most unique and affecting coming of age stories I’ve ever read. We have Lesh, a refreshingly normal, nondescript teenage boy. Lesh likes metal and his best friend Greg and…that’s about it. Then there’s Lana who is a force so wholly herself. Lana has a rich inner world which she cultivates through drawing, embroidery and fulfilling her duties as Dungeon Master. She has something else that Lesh so sadly lacks: a supportive circle of friends. I really appreciated the duality of Lana’s assured sense of self against Lesh’s insecurity and vulnerability…. Read more »

Divider

Strange Sweet Song: Review

Strange Sweet Song: Review

A wish granting feral space cat. This book has one. I kind of just want to leave that there and walk away. Seriously, do you need to know more?! Okay, okay fine. Were you like me? Did you take one look at the synopsis, see that the main character’s name is Sing, and that she…sings? Did you think this book must therefore be senselessly silly? If you were like me I have good news for you: you tragically underestimated Strange Sweet Song. Yes, Sing is a very silly name and especially for a singer. This is true. It should console you to know that Sing herself hates it as well. Her parents were celebrities in the classical music world. Think of it as an unfortunate celebrity baby name. It is a part of her prison. A command, and a  constant reminder of the shadow of her famous parents from under… Read more »

Divider

On Strong Female Friendships: The Art of Lainey guest post + giveaway

On Strong Female Friendships: The Art of Lainey guest post + giveaway

I love finding authors who write great stories with humorous dialogue, so The Art of Lainey was such a treat to read! Featuring memorable characters and just the right lighthearted tone, the book is a bit like Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen series (one of my all time contemporary favorites), or like a funnier Sarah Dessen. My favorite thing about this book is the friendship between Lainey and her best friend–it was particularly enjoyable because the book is ostensibly about Lainey trying to get her ex-boyfriend back. The fabulously frank and funny Bianca is one of the best BFFs I’ve ever read, and I really enjoyed how familiar and comfortable and honest these girls are with each other. It’s our pleasure to welcome author Paula Stokes (aka Fiona Paul!) to The Midnight Garden to talk about why she thinks seeing these kinds of relationships in YA literature is so important…. Read more »

Divider

The Goblin Emperor: Review

The Goblin Emperor: Review

What an intriguing and refreshing surprise this book was! I was hoping I would find a story special and worthy enough to be reviewed on my birthday and I succeeded. Steampunk, feminist elves (and goblin) for the win! This is not a fast paced, action adventure fantasy. There is no strong magical aspect. Rather, it is a fascinating character study, a meditation on subtle court politics and intrigue, and an examination of the relationships that make it all worthwhile. Much like the intricate clockwork in the story, the book itself is one of many details and pieces, some interconnected, some working separately but contributing their own importance, and all ticking steadily on to bring us one truly complex and captivating tale. First off, I will say that there is some adjustment needed to the language used. At the back of the book is a guide to the pronunciations and naming… Read more »

Divider