Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, another book that was not what I thought!!

I really need to stop imagining things so vividly when I read their synopsis.

So, I mentioned that I got on a RR kick and read a few books of hers in a row. I think I have almost everything now — minus a short story (or two), and I’m saving Carry On for when I have a good few days off in a row.

landlineBefore I dive into this, though, the synopsis from Amazon:

What advice would you give the younger you…and would you listen?

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past; all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. Is she going crazy or is this a chance to make things right with her husband, Neal?

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over…if that’s what she wants…

A heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love, Landline asks if two people are ever really on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway.

So, I’ll make this clear — this is NOT a YA book. It’s about a woman in her mid-30’s who is faced with the possible break-up of her marriage.

I knew *that* going in. What I didn’t expect was the connection into the past. The synopsis — especially the first line of it — makes it seem like Georgie would be speaking to herself in the past.

She doesn’t.

Let me start from the beginning.

Georgie is a television writer for a somewhat successful show. However, she has been working on a script for a television series that would be HERS. She receives a green light from an interested party and is enthusiastic to throw herself into her project — but it means that she will have to miss Christmas with her husband and children. Her husband, Neil, takes the children to his mother’s house for Christmas and Georgie is left at home wondering if she made the right decision.

Every single time she tries to call her husband, though, she cannot get through to him. His phone is either off, busy, or he’s not in. When she calls from her old landline phone at her mother’s house, though, she speaks to him. But it’s not HER Neil — it’s Neil from when they were dating. So her Neil, but past Neil.

Speaking to past Neil helps her reconnect with why she fell for him in the first place.

It’s very sweet, but very frustrating to go through the situation with Georgie. You identify with her — you sympathize with her — you understand why she wants to have her own series so bad and stop working on the crap series that she’s on, and you understand that she only has this one chance — but you also get so frustrated that she isn’t spending Christmas with her husband and children. (Or maybe it’s just me — I haven’t been able to spend the last two Christmases with my family =( sigh)

A few entertaining things happen along the way — her sister has a crush on the pizza delivery driver and orders pizza all the time, and Georgie’s mother has a pregnant pug who is due to give birth at any moment.

Overall, it was enjoyable. Rowell is an excellent writer and I could definitely sympathize with her characters.

Have you read this book? Did you have the same misconception I did? What did you think?

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

So, I finally visited my local library and picked up a book — The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black! I was so stoked they had it. When I first read the synopsis, it sounded super intriguing — how can you not love a story with a boy in a glass coffin, knights, princes, faeries, and curses?

I have to say, though, that this book was NOT what I thought it was!!!

the-darkest-part-of-the-forest-holly-blackFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for…

Pretty straightforward, yeah?

I think because of the whole faerie prince and glass casket thing, it immediately put me in mind of some medieval-type setting. You know the ones — women wearing laced bodices, drawing water from a well — that type of story.

It’s not. Continue reading

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

I’m not gonna lie — I went on a Rainbow Rowell kick. I got a few of her books for my birthday, so the next few reviews I will be publishing will be reviews of her works.

The first I’m going to review is the short story she did for World Book Day: Kindred Spirits.

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels. Continue reading

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Okay, I have to admit: I’m not much of a graphic novel person. I love them, but I always hesitate spending on them because I feel like I fly through them so quickly, and I always feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth of enjoyment/time spent on the work.

Does that make sense? I feel like that makes me sound a little snooty. I’m not!

However, after reading Fangirl and adoring the illustrations, and realizing that Noelle Stevenson did some work for a collection of Adventure Time stories I have (yay Fionna and Cake!), I couldn’t resist Nimona.

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

nimona_finalNemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel has been hailed by critics and fans alike as the arrival of a “superstar” talent (NPR.org).

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Continue reading

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Oh, this book gave me the feels.

I didn’t think it would, to be honest. But before I explain, I should probably give you the synopsis…

justonedayFrom Amazon:

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Continue reading

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Oh my gosh I loved this book. I loved the drama, I loved the mythology, I loved the struggle of belief. I loved the intrigue, I loved the romance, and I loved the setting. I loved the internal dialogue, though sometimes I wanted to shake Twylla. I loved everything about this book, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

First, I should let you read a synopsis from Amazon:

sineaterSeventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. She’s the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company. But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love? Continue reading

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

I received an advance copy of this to review in a Goodreads Giveaway. I’m so glad I got this book! It was so engaging and I read a majority of it in one sitting. Tracy Chevalier has a talent for writing historical characters. I especially appreciated her depiction of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.

Before I say anything else, a synopsis from Amazon:

orchardWhat happens when you can’t run any further from your past?

Ohio, 1838. James and Sadie Goodenough have settled in the Black Swamp, planting apple trees to claim the land as their own. Life is harsh in the swamp, and as fever picks off their children, husband and wife take solace in separate comforts. James patiently grows his sweet-tasting ‘eaters’ while Sadie gets drunk on applejack made fresh from ‘spitters’. Their fighting takes its toll on all of the Goodenoughs – a battle that will resonate over the years and across America.

Fifteen years later their youngest son, Robert, is drifting through Gold Rush California and haunted by the broken family he fled years earlier. Memories stick to him where mud once did. When he finds steady work for a plant collector, peace seems finally to be within reach. But the past is never really past, and one day Robert is forced to confront the brutal reason he left behind everything he loved.

In this rich, powerful story, Tracy Chevalier is at her imaginative best, bringing to life the urge to wrestle with our roots, however deep and tangled they may be. Continue reading

What I Saw and How I lied by Judy Blundell

This ended up coming across my GoodReads recommendations a while ago, so I added it to my “Want to Read” list because it sounded interesting. I was so excited when I found this in a charity shop for £1!

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

whatisawIt seemed like a dream. The world had exploded… Summer’s ending, Evie’s step-father is finally home from the Second World War, and Evie is sick of her glamorous mother treating her like a little girl. Then a mysterious stranger appears: a handsome ex-GI who served in combat with Evie’s step-father. Slowly, Evie realizes that she is falling in love with him. But he has dark secrets, and a strange control over her parents. When he is found dead, Evie’s world is shattered. Torn between her family and the man she loved, Evie must betray someone. But who? “Gripping … beautifully paced and told” The Times “You’ll be holding your breath as you turn every page” News of the World

Continue reading

By Royal Command and The Betrayal by Mary Hooper

So, I finished Mary Hooper’s “At the House of the Magician” series.

byroyalSynopsis from Amazon:

Lucy has become a firm fixture in the household of Dr Dee, a real-life figure who was court magician to Queen Elizabeth 1. Lucy, in return for saving the queen’s life, has been told that she is to work as a spy for Her Grace and that she is to remain with the Dee family and await further instruction …And then Lucy hears unexplained cries in the Dee house, and finds a young girl imprisoned there. What is Dr Dee doing? Lucy means to find out. A thrilling historical story, full of intrigue and royal plots and counter-plots, from the acclaimed Mary Hooper.

Okay, so I have to admit, this book wasn’t quite as interesting as the synopsis would lead. That storyline maybe takes up two chapters at the beginning of the book. The rest of it is Lucy being given a spying task – to watch one of QE1’s ladies and follow her. That was interesting, because in one of the events where she follows her, she flees down the river toward London and it was fun to hear the different places she was going through. This book felt a little weak, but again, it’s aimed at middle schoolers. Continue reading

At the House of the Magician by Mary Hooper

I remember reading a synopsis for this book a while ago, and then I completely forgot the title and tried searching for it desperately (it’s not listed on John Dee’s Wikipedia page!). I was so happy to come across it again, all thanks to my previous charity shop find (Fallen Grace)! I ordered the series so that I wouldn’t forget it again.

I had the privilege of studying under one of the leading John Dee scholars when I was doing my MA. I find John Dee to be fascinating. He was on the Crown’s payroll to try to turn lead into gold, and is best known for his speaking to angels and conjuring of spirits.

magicianFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

Lucy has been forced to run away from home as she fears for her safety from her drunken father. She is taken on as a maid at the house of Dr Dee, court magician, upon whom Elizabeth I relies heavily, even down to advising the date of her coronation. The household is strange and sinister, and Lucy has a nose for intrigue …And she has more than enough to satisfy her: Lucy stumbles across a plot to assassinate the queen and has to find means to warn her…

Well, that was short and sweet, but it pretty much sums it up. I’m sure that this was written for middle schoolers. It’s not very long at all, the storyline is simple, and it’s educational. Continue reading