The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

This is going to be an odd post, mainly because my thoughts on this book are so divided. I really, really wanted to like this book, since all the main characters are female. Unfortunately, I found it a bit lackluster.

A genderbent retelling of Beowulf, this book follows Frey and a band of three other girls: Runa, Ovie, and Juniper, the Sea Witch. There’s also Trigve, a young man who travels with them. The four girls have been living as Mercies- a group who is paid to give a quick death (usually to those who are dying of disease, etc). Frey decides she’s tired of the Mercy trade and wants to seek out glory by finding and killing the Blue Vee beast. The other girls join her.

One problem that I had with this book is that the pacing seemed very off.  There would be a ton of conversation about something that would either end up being unimportant, or would be resolved quickly and unsatisfactorily. An example of this is the Cut-Queen. There were legends and rumors regarding her all throughout the book, but the actual scenes involving her were only a few pages long and, frankly, boring.

The world in and of itself would make for a pretty cool Dungeons and Dragons setting, but an interesting setting does not a good story make on its own. Out of the four main characters, the only one who felt developed to me was Juniper, the Sea Witch. I honestly kept confusing Ovie and Runa’s skill sets.

There were also a few odd choices that rubbed me the wrong way.  The author spent a lot of time discussing hair. I know, that’s a weird sentence. But she did. Everyone was always braiding and unbraiding hair, discussing genealogies based on hair color, thinking about cutting hair off….see what I  mean? The other thing that was a little off-putting was the amount of times words were italicized to show emphasis. It would happen multiple times on a page and I found it very distracting.

I do think it’s cool that there is a YA retelling of Beowulf: as far as I know, this is the first re-imagining in this genre. However, I recommend that you just read Beowulf (the Seamus Heany translation is fantastic). If you are looking for a good retelling of Beowulf, I suggest you give Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton.

Have you read this? Do you agree?

Image result for the boneless mercies

Advertisements

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

 

Admission: I’ve read Bram Stoker’s Dracula three times throughout my life and I still don’t like it. I find that it drags. But Dracul looked so enticing, I had to give it a go. I was not disappointed.

While Dracul is written in the vein (pun intended) of Dracula, I found it to be much more interesting. Its gothic atmosphere and slow build worked in its favor, making it eerie fun. The authors chose to follow firmly in the Dracula mythos, eschewing Anne Rice’s additions to the genre (she’s a brilliant author, by the way).

Why did I enjoy this book, when I don’t like Dracula? Honestly, I think it’s because the female characters in this book have spunk. They aren’t helpless at all, and they move the story along. In fact, without Ellen, there would be no story.

The switch-off between different character’s points of view was a fascinating choice, and the fact that some parts were told as letters made it easy for pertinent information to be included without boring the reader to death (again-pun intended. I’m having way too much fun with this).

I found the Author’s Note at the end to be extremely interesting. It talked a lot about the Stokers, and gave the most enthralling information. If you enjoyed The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, chances are you’ll want to sink your teeth (Bwahaha!) into Dracul.

I included a picture of the author bios below because Dacre Stoker’s was so interesting. Have you read this book? What did you think?

 

20190126_201041~21265485923..jpg

Image result for dracul

Amazing Science Fiction Books

I love a good science fiction book. I think the genre is much broader than a lot of people originally think. I honestly am not a huge fan of the space battles and little green men type of books, but these sci-fi books are right up my alley:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: 

Image result for frankenstein book

This is one of the first books in the science fiction genre and opened the door for much of the gothic sci-fi. It’s introspective, eerie, and all-around incredible. The fact that it takes place on earth made it very easy for me to suspend all disbelief and just get into the story.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown: 

Image result for red rising
“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
“I live for you,” I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he toils willingly, trusting that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.  He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. (taken from Amazon)

This series is brutal but brilliant.  It’s a part action, part militarist novel, with incredible world(s) building. No character is untouchable, and I was on the edge of my seat almost the entire time.

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card: 

Image result for ender's shadow
The human race is at War with the “Buggers,” an insect-like alien race. As Earth prepares to defend itself from total destruction at the hands of an inscrutable enemy, all focus is on the development of military geniuses who can fight such a war, and win. The long distances of interstellar space have given hope to the defenders of Earth–they have time to train these future commanders up from childhood, forging them into an irresistible force in the high orbital facility called the Battle School. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. In Ender’s Shadow, Card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean–the one who became Ender’s right hand, part of his team, in the final battle against the Buggers. Bean’s past was a battle just to survive. His success brought him to the attention of the Battle School’s recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. Bean was sent into orbit, to the Battle School. And there he met Ender…. (taken from Amazon)

It makes much more sense if you read Ender’s Game first (you really should; it’s one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read), but I like this book better. It’s a parallel novel, telling the story from the perspective of Bean, who was my favorite in Ender’s Game. It starts with his origin, which is engrossing, and moves on to join with the events in Ender’s Game. It’s wonderful.

The Coldfire triology by C.S. Friedman:

Image result for the coldfire trilogy

Over a millennium ago, Erna, a seismically active yet beautiful world was settled by colonists from far-distant Earth. But the seemingly habitable planet was fraught with perils no one could have foretold. The colonists found themselves caught in a desperate battle for survival against the fae, a terrifying natural force with the power to prey upon the human mind itself, drawing forth a person’s worst nightmare images or most treasured dreams and indiscriminately giving them life.

Twelve centuries after fate first stranded the colonists on Erna, mankind has achieved an uneasy stalemate, and human sorcerers manipulate the fae for their own profit, little realizing that demonic forces which feed upon such efforts are rapidly gaining in strength. 

Now, as the hordes of the dark fae multiply, four people—Priest, Adept, Apprentice, and Sorcerer—are about to be drawn inexorably together for a mission which will force them to confront an evil beyond their imagining, in a conflict which will put not only their own lives but the very fate of humankind in jeopardy. (taken from Amazon)

A delicious blend of sci-fi and fantasy, the series is like nothing else I’ve read. My husband introduced it to me years ago, and I’ve read it at least twice more since then because it’s that good.

Steelheart  (The Reckoners book #1)by Brandon Sanderson:

Image result for steelheart by brandon sanderson
How far would you go for revenge if someone killed your father?
   If someone destroyed your city?
   If everything you ever loved was taken from you?
   David Charleston will go to any lengths to stop Steelheart. But to exact revenge in Steelheart’s world, David will need the Reckoners—a shadowy group of rebels bent on maintaining justice. 
   And it turns out that the Reckoners might just need David too.

This superhero- meets- spy novel is a lot of fun. It’s fast-moving, and incredibly creative. Brandon Sanderson is an incredibly talented author, and this book is one-of-a-kind.

Honorable Mention: 

Fray by Joss Whedon, Karl Moline, and Andy Owens (graphic novel):

Image result for fray by joss whedon

Hundreds of years in the future, Manhattan has become a deadly slum, run by mutant crime-lords and disinterested cops. Stuck in the middle is a young girl who thought she had no future, but learns she has a great destiny. In a world so poisoned that it doesn’t notice the monsters on its streets, how can a street kid like Fray unite a fallen city against a demonic plot to consume mankind? Joss Whedon, the celebrated creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, brings his vision to the future in this unique tale. As inventive in the comics medium as in that of television of film, Whedon spins a complex tale of a skilled thief coming of age without the help of friends or family, guided only by a demonic Watcher. (taken from Amazon)

This is so stinking good! Enough said.

What are some sci-fi books I’ve missed? Have you read any of these?

The Wicked King by Holly Black

**SPOILERS FOR THE CRUEL PRINCE BELOW**

I was planning on reviewing both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, but then realized that it would be hard for me to discuss the sequel without at least bringing up some spoilers from The Cruel Prince. So, if you haven’t read The Cruel Prince yet, do not continue. Spoilers aplenty below.

I actually enjoyed The Wicked King much more than The Cruel Prince for several reasons. While we have basically the same cast of characters as the original book, we know them all well enough now to move past surface interactions and go deeper into the core personalities of each of them. Also, the whole Locke seduction doodad from The Cruel Prince has played itself out so The Wicked King is able to move on to the nitty gritty of the story.

At the risk of drawing many readers’ ire, I really love Locke. Yes, he’s a jerk. He’s narcissistic, cruel, and capricious, but he knows who he is, and he doesn’t apologize for it. Also, his interactions with Jude in The Wicked King are pure gold. I’m curious to see how much of what he has been doing is part of a greater plot, and how much is just who he is.

I loved the machinations, and backstabbing in this one. Watching the characters working at cross-purposes, even though some of them have the same goals, was a ton of fun. The action scenes were great, and no one writes Faery quite like Holly Black.

I’m hoping to see more of Vivi in the next book. I think she has such potential! Jude rocks, of course. She’s her own worst enemy in a lot of ways, but she’s also plucky, strong,and very smart.

For those who have read both books, though, I do have a question: On page 154, there’s a sentence that reads, “You might think I am heartless to allow this, no less order it”. It’s Jude, not speaking to any of the characters in the book, leading me to believe she’s speaking to the reader. It didn’t sit well with me because I don’t remember that happening anywhere else in either book. Did it happen and I just forgot? Or maybe I misunderstood the paragraph? Thoughts?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great adventure, the world is unique and twisted, and the characters are interesting. I’m looking forward to the next installment. What about you?

Image result for the wicked king

Middle-grade Gems, as Told by My Fifth Grader

My ten year old is an advanced reader who loves books. He can read anything, ability-wise (although Shakespeare might take a while), but he does have specific tastes. I thought it would be fun to write a blog post, talking specifically about his current favorites.

Randoms by David Liss

Image result for randoms by david liss

Zeke Reynolds comes from a long line of proud science fiction geeks. He knows his games, comics, movies, and TV shows like Captain Kirk knows the starship Enterprise. So it’s a dream come true when he learns the science fiction he loves so much is based on reality—and that he’s been selected to spend a year on a massive space station. To evaluate humanity’s worthiness, the Confederation of United Planets has hand picked three of Earth’s most talented young people—and then there’s Zeke. He’s the random.

Unfortunately, Zeke finds life in space more challenging than he’d hoped. When he saves his transport ship from a treacherous enemy attack, he’s labeled a war criminal. Now despised by the Confederation, rejected by his fellow humans, and pursued by a ruthless enemy, Zeke befriends the alien randoms: rejected by their own species, but loyal to each other. But their presence in the Confederation may not be so random after all, and as the danger increases, Zack’s knowledge of science fiction might be the only thing that can save himself, his friends, and Earth itself. (Taken from Amazon)

His opinion: “It’s a good sci-fi for readers my age, and slightly older. It’s good for geeky nerds out there because it’s got a lot of funny references to sci-fi. There’s even some Serenity in there [I’m a huge Firefly fan]. Overall, it’s a really good book with great characters. Although it’s a more serious sci-fi, it has a lot of fun points and the characters are easy to relate to. The main character doesn’t really have that much going for him. I like how down-to-earth it is, even though it’s in space. ”

Gamer Army by Trent Reedy

Image result for gamer army by trent reedy

After Rogan Webber levels up yet again on his favorite video game, Laser Viper, the world-famous creator of the game invites him to join the five best players in the country for an exclusive tournament. The gamers are flown to the tech mogul’s headquarters, where they stay in luxury dorms and test out cutting edge virtual-reality gaming equipment, doing digital battle as powerful fighting robots. It’s the ultimate gaming experience. (taken from Amazon)

His opinion: “Best points: First of all, I liked the fact that it was a different setting that most sci-fi books that I’ve read. Everyone is living in virtual reality.
Secondly, I like how the characters evolved throughout the book, especially the main character.
Third, the action scenes were really cool and exhilarating.
Overall, Gamer Army is a fast-paced combo for both video game fans and action fans.”

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

Image result for ranger's apprentice book 1

They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaksand shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . . (taken from Amazon)

His opinion: “I thought that the first Ranger’s Apprentice book wasn’t going to be that good when I saw how old it was, but once I read the book, I really liked it. The characters are nicely done and the action’s good. I like how accurate it is to medieval times while still having its own fantasy style. My favorite character is Will. He’s a great archer, and he’s fun and mischievous, and I like that. I like that they keep introducing new villains.”
Honorable Mentions:

Image result for unwanteds books

The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann

Image result for the zodiac legacy series by stan lee

The Zodiac Legacy series by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong

Image result for septimus heap series

The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage

Image result for boundless book

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

These are my fifth grader’s current favorites. I’m curious how this will change over the course of the year. I might have to interview him again in around six months.

Do you have young readers? Have they read any of these? What are their favorites?

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

For my birthday, I was given free reign of the bookstore. I came home with this lovely book, which I’d been dying to read. Wow. It was so good!

It’s a re-imagining of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, a lesser-known fairy tale that I loved as a child. Told with nods to the original, as well as to classic fairy tale tropes (such as cruel stepmothers and the power of love) , it is nonetheless wholly its own.

Echo, the main character, was very well developed. She had her flaws, but she wasn’t annoying. Her inner strength and her loyalty made it easy to cheer for her. I also loved how beautifully described the settings were, and I am dying to visit the mirror library.

It’s a wonderful adventure, a journey full of magic and wonder, deftly told by a skilled weaver of words. This was the first book I’ve read by Joanna Ruth Meyer, but it most definitely will not be the last. If you enjoy beauty, enchantment, and a visit to the fairy tales that many children (myself included) grow up on, this book is one to read.

Image result for echo north book

Non-boring Nonfiction

I’m not a nonfiction fan. At least, I haven’t read much nonfiction. I’m trying to branch out into more genres, and I’ve discovered something interesting: I like nonfiction. Not all of it, but I’ve read enough to say that, maybe, the genre deserves more of a chance. With that in mind, here are a few that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed:

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

Image result for the professor and the madman

The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. (taken from Amazon)

This was absolutely engrossing. Prior to reading it, I had no idea how weird the genesis of the Oxford English Dictionary was.

A Gathering of Saints: A True Story of Money, Murder, and Deceit by Robert Lindsey

Image result for a gathering of saints

The yellowed manuscripts threatened the foundations of the Mormon Church, and the elders were willing to pay millions of dollars to suppress them. But the documents were fakes, and their brilliant forger committed double murder to hide his crime. The sensational case of the 1985 Salt Lake City bombings exposed a master plot to topple the powerful Mormon empire. (taken from Amazon)

Having grown up in Salt Lake City, I naturally found this engrossing, although the events in the book happened when I was too young to remember. I devoured this book.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Image result for wishful drinking

The bestselling author of Postcards from the Edge comes clean (well, sort of) in her first-ever memoir, adapted from her one-woman Broadway hit show. Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen. (taken from Amazon)

This book is brilliant. Equally hilarious and inspiring, this meant even more to me because I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was in high school. She handled her mental illness with grace and more than a bit of humor.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire 0 9781451621389 1451621388

An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. “A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

I found this utterly engrossing. Due to her symptoms, at times the author relied on others to tell what happened simply because she didn’t remember. It was a very interesting read.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instruc­tions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apart­ment. Sestero’s nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of costarring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct—in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.

Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and fre­quently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head.”

The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart. (taken from Amazon)

Tommy Wiseau is the most fascinating, mysterious person I’ve ever had the extreme pleasure to read about. This book is fantastic! After you read the book, look him up on YouTube and watch some clips of him acting. Just…Oh, man.

There you have it. If, like me, you don’t read much nonfiction, I suggest you give it a go!

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

A viking-inspired world? Epic, well-written battle scenes? Characters that break from any mold? Yes, please!

I loved this book! It follows Eelyn, a hardcore warrior. Her clan, the Aska, have a long-standing feud with the Riki clan. The first chapter of the book opens on a heated battle, which I loved. The author assumed the reader is smart enough to pick up on details and information as the story progresses, instead of throwing a long-winded explanation in at the very beginning.

During the battle, Eelyn learns that not only is her brother- whom everyone thought died five years ago- alive, but he’s fighting for the enemy. Reeling from the betrayal, Eelyn ends up being captured by the Riki in the next battle. As she is among them, she begins to question her assumptions. Eventually, she has to decide whether to work with the Riki to help defeat a more powerful enemy, or face the destruction of both clans.

While the battle scenes are incredible, the characters are what really stood out to me. They all develop naturally, and are written with such emotion that the book kept me riveted. I also liked that in Eelyn’s culture, women are seen as equals. She didn’t have to sneak out in disguise, or argue for an opportunity to fight with the warriors; it was just assumed that she would.

Another plus was the lack of overtly saccharine romance. While there is a relationship, it develops over time, and is much more natural feeling. I ended up really enjoying this book. It’s one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in quite a while.

Image result for sky in the deep

Book Blogger Confessons/Book Tag

This is my first attempt at a book tag, so hopefully I do it right. Thanks for tagging me, fictionnochaser. Check out her awesome blog here: www. https://fictionnochaser.com/2019/01/11/book-blogger-confessions-book-tag/

Rules:

  1. Answer these questions truthfully.
  2. Once you’re done, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer these questions next.

    WHICH BOOK, MOST RECENTLY, DID YOU NOT FINISH?

    Mariah Mundi #1: the Midas Box by G.P Taylor

    I tried, I really did. But, man this book was boring! I honestly had a hard time remembering the character’s names, the plot was all over the place, so I ended up shelving it to try again at a later time. Maybe. It’s too bad: I love the cover!

    WHICH BOOK IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

    The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I’ll be the first to say that the writing isn’t on par with, say, Patrick Rothfuss, and the “maybe it’s incest, but I can’t help it” thing is pretty disturbing if you think about it. I love these books, though! I think the big draw for me is the Shadowhunter world. It’s pretty stinking cool.

    WHICH BOOK DO YOU LOVE TO HATE?

    Um…probably the Twilight series. I found out, after reading the trilogy, that it’s actually four books long and I skipped an entire book without even realizing it. Obviously, that means the books weren’t for me. I think it was the third book I missed, but it might have been the second. I still haven’t felt the urge to remedy that.

    WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU THROW INTO THE SEA?

    The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. This was the worst book I’ve read in a very long time. I tried to find something positive about it…nothing. Trust me: skip this one.

    WHICH BOOK HAVE YOU READ THE MOST?

    The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I pretty much have the entire trilogy memorized. I reread them at least twice a year. They’re phenomenal!

    WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU HATE TO RECEIVE AS A PRESENT?

    Um, I don’t think I’d hate to receive any book as a gift, because it means the giver knows me well enough to know how much I love to read. I reserve the right to not read any book I’m given, though. I don’t read romance novels, so that would be a pretty useless gift.

    WHICH BOOK COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

    I’d be pretty bummed if I lost my copy of A Diversity of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey, Richard Woods, and John Howe. I’ve had it forever, and it’s a hard one to find.

    WHICH BOOK MADE YOU THE ANGRIEST?

    The book that made me the angriest recently is Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. I hated it so much that it ruined my enjoyment of the previous two books. I’m pretty sure my opinion isn’t shared by too many people, though, so don’t avoid it based on what I thought of it.

    WHICH BOOK MADE YOU CRY THE MOST?

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky. This is another book I’ve read multiple times and I cry every single time. It’s heart wrenching and beautiful in its honesty. I love it so much. My favorite literary quote comes from that book:

    “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

    WHICH BOOK COVER DO YOU HATE THE MOST?

    I loathe any cover that’s a movie poster. If the book came first, I want a book cover!

    Okie dokie! I’m tagging

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

I absolutely loved this book! Ostensibly about an unsolved murder and disappearance that happened in 1862, this beautifully told book is really a commentary on time, and how events and people connect, despite seeming unrelated.

The book starts with an archivist, Elodie, finding a satchel with both a photograph of a beautiful woman and an artist’s rendition of a two-gabled house. The house sparks something in Elodie’s memory; something about a fairy tale she was told as a child. She’s drawn to the mystery of the house and the woman in the photograph.

Honestly, Elodie bothered me. She was incredibly naive and seemed to be fond of martyrdom. Thankfully, while the book begins with her, she’s not the main character and is actually in it very little. The main storyline is told from the point of view of Birdie, a clockmaker’s daughter. I can’t say much about her without giving anything away. Suffice it to say, she is an enthralling narrator.

The book follows several different characters living in Birchwood Manor over many years: there’s the widow with three young children; the girl from India; an artist with his muse, and several others. Despite not seeming to have anything in common, their narratives flow together like tributaries in a river, blending into one skillful tale.

The setting is as important as the events that unfold there and is used very skillfully. I was engrossed in this book, even though it’s not a genre I normally get excited over. I will be on the lookout for Kate Morton’s other books. She’s a wonderful weaver of narratives.

If you are able to get your hands on this book, you won’t be disappointed.