Book Review

Book Review: Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mystery + historical
Length: 299 pages
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre. 

LOVE THE QUIRKY CHARACTERS.

I feel a short and sweet review coming.

This was a simply Sherlock-esque book with some twists. I loved that Jacakby’s abilities allowed him to see all sorts of paranormal and fantastical things. The unique mix of creatures and monsters in the world kept me on my toes.

I loved having Abigail Rook as the POV. She sees Jackaby in a light we wouldn’t get from his side (and frankly, might be a bit scattered if we did, haha). She’s stubborn, insightful and easy-going. It was effortless to fall for these characters. Jackaby definitely reminds me of Sherlock and I laughed out a loud a few times at the things he would say and the banter between him and Abigail.

The mystery had its own enigma that even surprised me a few times. I was amazed that the entire 300 page book took the space of three days. It makes me curious for the rest of the series as to how they’re spaced out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle-grade/Young adult historical fantasy/mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: descriptions of bloody murders, a few fight scenes with guns, physical and the supernatural

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Book Review

Book Review: The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Young adult historical fantasy
Length: 378 pages
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read. 

FAE. FAE. AND MORE FAE.

I’m really into anything with faeries y’all. I don’t know why. Maybe all that mystical-ness and gorgeous selves makes me have to pick it up. Either way, that’s my original intention when I grabbed this at the library.

This was fun! I wouldn’t say I thought it was spectacular, but it did get better and better as I went along. I loved the vibe of the world the author built. It was historical 1844 Edinburgh, but with a steampunk aesthetic. They had little devices to dispense tea/punch, others to create stitches and even a version of a helicopter.

Hot dang, I was almost upset about a love triangle, at present, there is none! And therefore, I can be alllll over Kiaran and Aileana. This is definitely a slow burn romance. I’m loving their banter and affinity towards each other.

They’re a lot of typical aspects to this novel. A fierce, warrior fae who’s handsome and brooding. The girl who’s in society, but secretly is a chosen-one type to help save the lands. She’s fueled by the death of her mother, etc. While this was a little eh, the different influences of everything else made this book worth the read.

A lot of secrets were left out for the next book. It was often chalked up to the fae “not answering” because they can’t lie kinda thing. I’m intrigued and interested because it seems each book is stronger than the previous. This is great, standard YA that I love to read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fantasy
  • Language: damn is used often, but that’s it
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: knives, explosions, a bit gory physical, faerie magic, guns
Book Review

Review: Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eye Witness Account by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: History, no language, very sensitive topics
Length: 222 pages
Author: Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, Tibere Kremer (Translator), Bruno Bettelheim (Foreword), and Richard Seaver (Introduction)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Release Date: September 1st, 2007
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform “scientific research” on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous “Angel of Death” – Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele’s personal research pathologist. In that capactity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months. Miraculously, Nyiszli survived to give this horrifying and sobering account.

HISTORY NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN.

This won’t really be that much of a review, because I feel it is unfair to the fact that this really happened. This is more of an expression of thoughts I had while reading. I’m not here to debate the choices Dr. Nyiszli made to keep himself (and his family) alive in one of the absolute bleakest moments in the world’s history.

The book is by no means easy to get through and I was on the verge of tears more than once. The stories of what went on at the camps were more than anyone should ever have to deal with (and that’s unfortunately an understatement).

It’s a thought provoking, grief-stricken, hug your loved ones tighter kind of book. This memoir is a true insider tale of what happened daily in Auschwitz. The horrid sense of personalities you get from the people surrounding the doctor will make you shiver. I have read a handful of historical things about WWII, but nothing to this extent. My mind is still trying to comprehend the atrocities that he witnessed and had to commit.

This book will make you uncomfortable. It will make you think. These kind of books can’t be called “good books.” A memoir such as this needs to be read if only to remind us that this did happen, and to ensure that history never repeats itself.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mature and sensitive topics
  • Violence: gas chambers, mass murders, shootings, executions, starvation, and more.
  • No language, written in a detached, clinical perspective
Book Review

Review: All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA/Adult, no language, discussion of tough topics (rape/whore/abuse), some kisses, no love scenes, some violence
Length: 274 pages
Author: Julie Berry
Publisher: Viking Books
Release Date: September 26th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.

Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

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

A GOOD KINDA ODD.

This book was recommended to me and seemed interesting enough so here we are! Definitely an odd, keep you on your toes, not sure where this is going kinda book. I really enjoyed it! And may have finished it in essentially one sitting (baby to take care of and all ha!).

Set in what is perceived to be some type of Colonial period the story is broken up into choppy chapters and a unique POV. Judith speaks to a boy the entire time and she struggles to tell her story.

All I wanted to do was yell at Judith to SPEAK! So many odd things kept happening and the ending was starting to worry me. Berry weaves a creepy tale with characters you kinda hope burn.

While seriously, every single person will aggravate you at one point or another, this book is good! Matters resolved

I love finding interesting and different ways that authors choose to write! It’s a great experience for me because it mixes up the usual.

Some tough topics throughout, more mature audiences would be best suited. No language, some violence. A few kisses, but no love scenes.

Book Review

Review: Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Arabella

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.75
Audience: YA/Adult, a kiss or two, no violence, no language
Length: 320 pages
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: this version: Arrow Books Ltd.
Release Date: this version: October 7th, 2004 (originally published in 1949)
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

To Arabella Tallant, the eldest daughter of a penniless country clergyman, the invitation to stay with her London godmother was like the key to heaven, for in addition to living in the glamorous city, Arabella might even find a suitable husband there. Armed with beauty, virtue and a benevolent godmother, the impetuous but impoverished Arabella embarked on her first London season with her mother’s wish in mind: snare a rich husband.

Impetuosity is Arabella’s only fault. When fate cast her in the path of arrogant, socially prominent Robert Beaumaris, who accused her of being another petty female after his wealth, the proud, headstrong ingenue made a most startling claim — she was an heiress! Suddenly Arabella found herself the talk of the town and pursued by every amorous fortune hunter in London and some of the most eligible young men of the day.

But only one caught Arabella’s fancy: Mr Beaumaris, the handsome and dedicated bachelor. She should know better than to allow herself to be provoked by nonpareil Beau. That gentleman, however, although a most artful matrimonial dodger, badly underestimated his seemingly naive adversary… But would her deceitful charade destroy her one chance for true love…?

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

OH, ULYSSES.

This book was simple and sweet. I enjoyed it on a Sunday afternoon and was swept into a Jane Austen-like aura of regency romance.

The characters were sassy and full of wit. While some of the phrases made me chuckle, I thought it was neat to be reading a book originally from so long ago! And with so many good reviews, clearly Heyer’s novels are long lasting.

My favorite portions by far were any interaction between Mr. Beaumaris and Ulysses (his dog). I found myself laughing each time and thought the inner dialogue was crafty!

The narrative can be a bit confusing as it switches between POV often, but I didn’t mind. The portions with her brother, on the other hand, I essentially skipped/skimmed over. While it played a small tidbit in the end, the sections were too long focusing on his trouble rather than Arabella.

An easy read, and a proper romance. No language, no violence, no love scenes.

Book Review

Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult, no language, child violence/abuse/neglect, no love scenes
Length: 342 pages
Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

TAKES A LOT OUT OF YOU.

Oh this book. Oh my heart. WHY ARE PEOPLE THE WAY THAT THEY ARE? It’s one thing to completely fictionalize something, but it’s another to know that it’s a historical fiction.

CRAP LIKE THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

Rill and her siblings are swept on the most horrible river of life. I was only moderately appeased by the end, because things yes, do end ‘well’, but then you remember once again all the trauma that they went through and it pulls on your heart strings again.

Be wary that this may be too much for some readers. Thankfully, things aren’t described in depth, but things are insinuated that makes you hug any small child you know tighter.

I enjoyed the perspective of Avery Stafford, but didn’t know if it was totally necessary. I felt it was more added to help give light to the shadows of the past which I do appreciate. There was just some bits that weren’t needed.

Better suited for someone a bit older, no language that I can recall. A lot of child abuse, neglect, and violence. No love scenes, a kiss.

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.