Book Review

ARC Book Review: The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Adult fantasy romance
Length: 391 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: 47North
Expected Release Date: August 20th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From ​the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation.

Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

I’M STILL STUNNED.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, 47North, for the e-ARC and opportunity or read The First Girl Child. All opinions are my own.

I’m sitting here trying to write this review, but I’m not even sure where to start. I absolutely love everything Amy Harmon writes. And this was no exception. TFGC was different from her usual books (generally contemporary, she does have 2 that are fantasy). It only goes to show she can write, regardless of the genre. AND I AM HERE FOR ALL OF IT.

One of the big themes I noticed was about mother’s. And all different types too. Ones who were unloved and unwanted, had their babies taken from them, ached to have a child, and more. This personally resonated with me (because I am a Mom) and struck chord after chord of the fierce love and protection mother’s have for their babes.

A lot was also focused on the true need and affect women have on the world. We are all so unique and divinely inspired and have immense amounts of talent to give to the world in various forms. It was interesting to feel what it would be like if girls did stop being born. And what an awful place that would be.

BAYR. I so deeply love this character. This book is around 400 pages and it felt long because of the intense connection that was built watching Bayr from birth to growing into a man. As he learns to speak it’s noticed that he has a stutter. The way Harmon uses his weakness as a strength was everything. There were some allegories woven in that were stunning. I cheered Bayr on in every way possible. Watching his relationship with Alba had me staring at my book contemplating what gods I was going to have to pray to for them to get a happy ending. This was a relationship built out of pure childhood love. It was so achingly sweet and precious and beautiful.

I loved so many of these side characters too. Dagmar, Ivo, Ghost, The Keepers, Dred, seriously, everyone. Dagmar was the best POV to watch Bayr grow up and his heart-shattering relationship with Ghost will bring you to your knees. It was tender and built on so many things they both needed. I loved Dred (Dagmar’s Dad, Bay’s Grandfather) because his immediate acceptance of his grandson has me feelings all the feels. I enjoyed every connection I built with these characters.

Amy Harmon is one of my favorite authors for a reason. Her ability to bring out these characters to life and create magnificent worlds filled with heartbreak and hope always leave me breathless.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses to make-outs, mentions of wanting to lie with another, some vague mentions of having done so, but not descriptive
  • Violence: knives, murder, battle
  • Trigger warnings: childbirth resulting in mother’s death, suicidal thoughts, someone with a disability being referred to as an idiot and bullied

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Craw

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Audience: Adult fiction/historical, language, explicit content, trigger warnings
Length: 384 pages
Author: Delia Owens
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: August 14th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel from a New York Times bestselling nature writer, about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

ODE TO MARSH GIRL.

I follow Reese Witherspoon’s book club (Hello Sunshine) and occasionally I’ll read whatever she’s picked for the month if it sounds appealing, and I’m so happy I did!

Kya was such a strong, independent, and tough. Because WHO ABANDONS A 10 YEAR OLD? My heart was crumbling watching her youth be shattered by callous individuals. In her entire life, Jumpin’ remained her only steadfast friend. Family and “friends” flowed in and out like the marsh, as was convenient for them. She spends most of the book reverting back to this childlike state thinking her Ma is eventually coming home. The shame and anguish she feels forces a lot of anxiety and anger to bubble up. Even when she says she’s perfectly fine being alone.

This coming of age story really resounded when she met her first love, Tate. He’s such a sweetheart and their first official meeting with the feathers was precious. And while he made some mistakes with Kya (I may have said “what a jerk” a time or two), his sould always knew where home was.

Chase on the other hand could have been dropped from that fire tower and it still wouldn’t be enough. It was hard, hard to get through this section. Kya is naive in thoughts of love and intimacy and is taken advantage of in the worst ways.

The chapters with the Sheriff and Doctor as the POV were a bit silly. The dialogue wasn’t strong enough. They just flitted in and out til the official trial.

There’s a lot of poetry in here that strongly pertains to the story. The final poem especially had me. This mystery is finally solved. It was a twist for me and hopefully it’ll be for you!

Overall audience notes:
– Adult historical fiction, mystery and romance
– Language
– Detailed sexual scenes
– Trigger warning: abuse, sexual assault/attempted rape
– Some violence

Book Review

Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The GA

 

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA+, some language, domestic violence and abuse, one love scene, a few kiss scenes
Length: 435 pages
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

THE LAST FRONTIER.

Ooooo, this book had me the entire time. It’s generally a hit or miss for me when it comes to novels that aren’t YA. I’m so happy that I’ve had a good streak of solid reads because I needed a break from all of the fantasy haha.

This book deals with post-traumatic stress disorder that manifests as severe domestic abuse and violence. It was heavy-handed on my heart to watch Leni and Cora struggle just as much as Ernt.

The book keeps a great pace. You’re enjoying two love birds growing up, then wolves show up. Everyone is enjoying a gathering, to have guns waving around next. I loved that I never knew what was quite coming next.

Leni and Matthew’s love story is bounded by years. The way the author told the story truly over time, allowed a flourishing of need to watch these two come together.

Appropriate for YA world, even though it is written as an adult book (as long as you’re comfortable reading about domestic abuse). Some language, and definitely a lot of violence and abuse. One love scene, not heavily scripted. A few kissing scenes.

 

Book Review

Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Teen+, a tiny bit of language, no violence, but does discuss death throughout
Length: 208 pages
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 12th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

READ THIS BOOK.

This is one of those books where I truly believe, everyone needs to read it. For what this book translated in 200 pages, I can’t even begin. I definitely shed a few tears upon finishing it.

The way Paul discusses his own life, and his thoughts/opinions on death really make you contemplate how you’re leading your own life. He never got to fully finish his novel, isn’t that how life feels sometimes?

I don’t have a lot to say because my heart is just bursting with how this book made me feel. Sometimes, that’s more important than a lengthy review.

Appropriate for all ages comfortable with the discussion of death and what makes life worth living. A tiny [tiny] bit of language. Touchy subjects, but needed subjects.

Book Review

Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

AH

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Teen+, a tiny bit of language, descriptions of violence, talks of romance
Length: 818 pages
Author: Ron Chernow
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: this version: March 29th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

I REALLY READ ALL OF IT.

This hands-down has been the longest book I’ve read in a while. I probably won’t read another one like this til KOA (Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas — told y’all I was obsessed).

I am a closet history buff and when I need something new I find the latest history based book on an interesting subject, and what is more interesting than ALEXANDER HAMILTON Y’ALL.

Oh my goodness. I can’t believe how much drama was occurring in the 1700s. I kept laughing to myself that if they had the media we do now, who knows what other juicy details would come out.

I have new respect for the plight that AH went through. Man, he had so much to overcome. Chernow represents him [AH] so well. I also have a new found disrespect for Thomas Jefferson (he’s the worst).

*finds soapbox* ALSO, YOU KNOW WHO ELSE IS THE WORST? AARON BURR. *climbs back-off because I can’t even*

And for Eliza to battle 50 years without Alexander broke my heart. Guys, this was love. For all that AH messed up, he got marrying Eliza Schuyler right. Don’t worry, General Hamilton got a lot of other things right too.

My intrigue really fell upon the stories about him. The political bru-ha-ha was tough at times to read, but whenever I learned stories from his children, Eliza, etc. it was special.

I’m amazed how put together and thorough this biography is. Chernow is able to tell Hamilton’s story and not bore you to death. This is the kind of history I enjoy.

A few minor curse words (mostly the use of scoundrel). Vaguely details the affair. Descriptions of the violence seen from Revolutionary War to his duel with Aaron Burr.