September 12, 2019

Review: Ford by Susan May Warren

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Seriously, I don't know how Ms. Warren does it. She is incredibly gifted at writing edge-of-your-seat tension, both romantically and otherwise! I was pulled into this story pretty much from the first page and then was only further hooked as I got to know RJ better. Because I have to admit that I came for Ford and Scarlett, but I stayed for RJ and York. (And now I have to wait so long for their story! Humph. ;)

Let's begin with the fact that most of this book takes place in Russia. What a harsh and fascinating landscape to have as a backdrop. The uncertainty and fierceness felt by our characters is only enhanced by this country. I confess that I really want to visit just to experience it for myself! :) Ms. Warren's descriptions of the area create an atmospheric-feel to the story. All the (practically) non-stop action is fueled on by this feeling, which means I spent most my time anxiously turning each page, wondering what was on the horizon.

Then there are the characters. Watching Ford be confronted with so much of what he fears and how those who love him and know him so well help move him into growth and courageous-living (as if he wasn't already courageous! But he did need a little more of a push in a certain direction...) is wonderful to witness. Scarlett has some growth and courage to learn as well. These two are one of those couples that understand and fit each other so perfectly. Enough so they can also preach some good truth to one another when needed. And then there's RJ...and York. Oh my heart, I was utterly captivated by those two! *happy sigh* They face a scary situation, yet each has a fierce determination that captures the other's notice. There's simply something so vivid and pivotal between them. I cannot wait to find out more of their story.

The plot turns and twists all over the place and you never know just where you'll end up next. There is really such a great lot of things all going on at once and somehow Ms. Warren pulls all the threads just so, perfectly timed, and the picture becomes a whole lot clearer. With still a lot of threads yet to be pulled! So yes. I am now officially onboard the Montana Marshalls train and will (sort of) happily wait for more! (It's a good thing there are two previous stories to help me through the waiting period....)

**I received a complimentary copy via Just Read Publicity Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

"For a second she saw the brother she’d known better than herself. Proud, strong, faithful, determined, and yes, just reckless enough to save them all."

September 11, 2019

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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Just wow, people! This is simply a fantastical bit of storytelling which is filled to the brim with plot twists and intriguing characters. I was utterly fascinated with this world that Ms. Harrow has created. From those first few paragraphs until the final words on the final page, I was swept into January's life and subsequently was unable to put her story down! Let me attempt to describe to you why...

Firstly, there's the world-building. Ms. Harrow has created a complex world which requires some delving out. I learned never to assume anything about anything, there are always more possibilities than you may be imagining. And also one never can tell for sure who may be trustworthy and who isn't. I was constantly kept on my toes wondering just what may yet come in the next chapter. The details that we begin to uncover about who everyone truly is and how they truly fit into this world are slowly, tantalizingly revealed. There is so much going on underneath the surface that I think a reread or three will probably reveal even more details that I completely missed my first go round!

Then there are the characters. Most of which I liked, but they don't sit comfortably either. Oh no. These characters have depth and a fierceness about them that doesn't soften much. Even January herself has a few unexpected sharp corners. There were times I understood her and times I didn't. All the others pretty much had guaranteed sharpish places and so much that they weren't saying, either to January or to me. I'm not complaining about this, however! It meant I was always endeavoring to figure them out further. These aren't your typical warm and fuzzy type of people. They've seen things, they've experienced things, and those things have changed them forever.

For all the fantastical bits that enthralled me, there were other things that I didn't enjoy, sadly. The romance parts didn't really sit well with me. There are two central romances (both mostly subtle in the background) and while I never felt a connection to either couple, the one caused me to dislike the ending just a tad. I almost think I would have enjoyed it more had that romance not happened at all. I simply never saw enough true emotion going on to help me understand some of the choices made. But that's just my own personal qualm and one which may not bother someone else...

Overall, I was so thoroughly involved within this story that when I finally finished a few hours later, it felt like I hit real life with a jolt! :) There are so many wondrously written sentences that I kept finding another and another I had to stop and reread. Her lyrical way of writing means that Ms. Harrow is certainly an author I will keep an eye out for in the future. Her attention to detail and ability to withhold information while seeming not to withhold it at all is a skill that not many writers have. I was suitably impressed and look forward to rereading this one again!

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.

This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.

It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page."

"If we address stories as archeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, mundane and magical. It is at the moment when the doors open, when things flow between worlds, that stories happen."

August 28, 2019


Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

Listening to: I discovered podcasts this summer! I know, I know. They've actually been around for ages, but I hadn't ever listened to any. Until now. I've tried several, but one of my newest faves is Speaking With Joy. I even had the privilege of going to hear her speak (and sing) in person a couple weeks ago! That was pretty cool, I admit. Joy talks a lot about literary awesomeness, as well as art in many forms. She's a deep thinker and I like that.

Reading: I've been slowly savoring my way through Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson. Loads of book lists plus just wanting to take my time in delighting in it has caused me not to rush my way through it. I have been adding to my TBR as well as highlighting SO many sentences and paragraphs that resonate! If you haven't read this one, friends, I recommend it.

Enjoying: My birthday was last weekend, so a friend and I went on a non-strenuous hike (that description is a must when I'm the one going hiking, friends! A hiker I am not) and were rewarded with BEAUTIFUL views and quiet (which made for splendid conversation time). It was delightful!

Watching: Not too long ago I rewatched Under the Greenwood Tree. Fancy Day and Dick Dewey are very fun to spend time with! If you haven't watched it ever, please do if you get the chance. It's funny and sweet, with a bit of drama and romantic woes thrown in. (And seriously, those names?! Makes me kinda want to read the book this is adapted from...)

Feeling: Curious. Wondering what is yet on the horizon for me. After a busy, crazy eight months overseas, it's been....interesting readjusting to life at home again. And now I've been home for half the time I was gone! Time is crazy fast. There is so much I'm dreaming of and so much I'm wondering about...I am simply in a season of wonderment and uncertainty, yet enjoying a good life all at the same time. It's weird, but good? Kinda hard to explain, in other words... :)

Dreaming of: Adding lots of different types of books to my TBR. I've already got several non-fiction titles piled up on my bedside table! And after listening to Joy's podcast (and reading her sister Sarah's book!), I've been wishing to add a lot of different things to my TBR actually. I've always tended to veer towards certain genres and certain aspects of those genres when it came to choosing what to read next, but now I'm thinking I need to branch out and try new things...even if they don't intrigue me at first notice they could yet surprise me! And broaden my ideas and thoughts.
So. Any suggestions for me???

Intrigued by: The way that men really like to talk. At least, the men who live around my little town seem to! I have been greatly amused (and intrigued!) by the amount of gentlemen who call and/or stop by at work just to chat with my employer, apparently. I've decided that the stereotype of teenage girls talking a lot needs to change! I think the gentlemen around here can top anything a teenage girl could do. By far! :D

So what's new with you??

August 7, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Forty-Seven

More reviews coming your way! And how's your reading life going these days? I've slowed down a bit from May and June where it felt like I reading all the time. I did have a Saturday a couple weeks ago where I basically read all day. But the last few days or so, I haven't done a lot of reading. I've been writing instead! Go me. :)

Anyhoo! On to the fun stuff...

I Owe you One by Sophie Kinsella
This was cute. Sort of forgettable once I was finished, but cute while reading. I liked Fixie, yet she kind of drove me nuts a few times. Which necessitated me skimming quickly through a scene or two more than once. I just didn't love this one as much I'd hoped I would, but I did enjoy the romantic bits with Seb! He, too, made a couple decisions that made me wonder what in the world, but I liked him fairly well overall. So! If you're in the mood for an entertaining story to forget the world for a tiny slice of time, this may be the one for you! Especially the middle to latter half which had the best moments in my humble opinion...

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
A delightful story about a bookish Nina who I loved from the first pages! This book was just a whole lot of fun and it made me want to completely overhaul my life and go run a bookmobile in the UK somewhere. :D I did love Nina a lot. I wanted her to choose this new life for herself so badly and so once she did, I was quite happy to travel alongside her as she figures this new chapter out. She is simply the endearing sort of bookish person who I could totally picture myself having lovely bookish convos with while we sat sipping our hot drinks in her bookmobile. Of course, her romantic prospects were an enjoyable diversion as well! This was simply a charming story that I want to reread again right now...

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
This went in a very different direction than I expected from the synopsis, I admit. But that is not a complaint! I really enjoyed the world-building as the first few chapters sets up how everything works and just what sort of sword's edge Isobel is balancing on. It's a fascinating atmosphere that Ms. Rogerson creates around her characters and I loved getting all these tension-filled glimpses of things going on underneath the surface. The romance bits were pretty adorable, I wasn't sure what sort Rook would be. But I liked him! He and Isobel have great chemistry, especially in the beginning stages where I could so easily picture the both of them falling in love almost unknowingly. The story isn't perfect, but overall quite enjoyable! Enough that I hope to read Ms. Rogerson's next book sometime soonish. :)

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
A bookish Nina (yes, another one! :) whom I loved to bits! I loved her passion for trivia and how it was such an unconscious fascination for her. I loved her bookishness and love of stories. And I loved her way of pushing through all the new family who find her and bring her into their drama. How she basically finds her people (more than she had before now, I mean, because the girl has quite the awesome tribe around her already) and finally allows who she truly is to settle more firmly inside her. I related so much to her, even if my life is so completely different! I just got all her introverted uncertainties and how she was just fine as she was thank you very much. But being pushed out of her comfort zone is good for our Nina and her subsequent journey of discovery is simply delightful. Reading this story just made me want to go hug all my books in my personal library and if that doesn't convince you to read it I don't know what will. ;)


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