Sunday, January 15, 2017

The May Queen by Helen Irene Young | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I think the first thing I need to say is that I wanted to like this one more than I actually did and, perhaps, it is a similar matter of it just not being my cup of tea for one reason or another. You mustn't take my reviews, or anyone else's, as the gospel and instead check this book out for yourself. That being said, I didn't finish The May Queen for one reason or another but I think it was entirely due to its pace and my lack of connection towards the characters or the central plot. 

I just wasn't feeling it from the get-go and I'm not sure what I was expecting or what I was supposed to be expecting. But, it just wasn't my thing. I know, I know, I've probably already said something similar in my already short review and I'm not trying to justify my dislike (or rather, disinterest) in The May Queen. It just failed to connect with me and I put it down only to never pick it back up again. 

But, here's the thing. If you're smart, unlike me, you will go pick up a copy and hopefully listen to my disinterest and spite me. Because it does have promise in its summer and the writing isn't spectacularly horrid--on the contrary, it was quite nice but just not enough for my attention to stay zeroed in. I spent the little bit reading it spacing out and that's just all there is to it.  
The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard | Rating: ★★★★★  

If you’re new to my reviews and don't know, let me catch you up to speed: I am in love with words written by A.G. Howard. I mean. Obviously. There, I said it. I’m almost positive that I would read an instruction manual titled How to Unclog Your Toilet With Your Pinky Finger if A.G. Howard wrote it (although, Anita, please don’t take this as an invitation to write said instructions--that was a weird statement even for me and I am sure I should talk to a therapist about it or whatever and I'm probably bluffing.) and I'd give it about four-hundred stars out of five. I'm not really kidding, the woman could write "Hello, I'm A.G. Howard," and I'd probably give it the highest rating imaginable after just casually passing her my wallet. 

Needless to say, I went into The Architect of Song with high hopes that only a few modern day authors have earned from me. I was excited, firstly, because of its plot and the fact that it wasn't a young adult novel. It's exciting seeing one of your favourite authors expand through the genres and in A.G. Howard's case she does so effortlessly and proves how severely underrated she is. There was something instantly classic about The Architect of Song that felt familiar yet undeniably its own--readers who love prose that is highly detailed, indulgent and poetic, will positive swoon over the glorious way this story is told. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gone by Elisabeth Naughton | Rating: ★★★☆☆

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
Returning to Elisabeth Naughton's Deadly Secrets series, Gone is perhaps the first of Naughton's work that I actually couldn't put down and felt intrigued by. I enjoyed it far more than anything I've read by her thus far. Unlike Repressed, there was this pull in the writing that keeps readers on the edge of their seat in the ever-present mystery. This isn't typically my cup of tea; the way the story unfolded, but I found it much easier to get into than the previous release in the series. I still had my problems with it--which is why the rating stands at only 3 stars--but I appreciate it and thought it was a very solid release.

You do not need to read Repressed to fall in with this story--it's virtually unconnected to it and can be seen as a novel outside of a series. 

First of all, oh man, there's just something about Gone that will pull on your heartstrings and will resonate with something in you.

There's this underlying sense of tragedy right from the start; sometimes these wounds never close and will open up again at even the briefest of mentions. It goes without saying that it is impossible to describe the feeling of a pain that radiates from a parent who's lost a child--sadly, cruelly, three years ago, the main characters in Gone lost their one year old daughter.

Wanted by Sara Sheppard | Rating: ★★★★★ 

Or perhaps all those things you missed upon first glance mean much more than you could ever guess.

In the eighth novel in the bestselling Pretty Little Liars series loose ends begin to tie themselves up as revelations are put front and center. Wanted is one of the best of the seemingly never ending series; as questions are answered regarding the murder and disappearance of Alison DiLaurentis, four little liars are more than ready for the chance to put their dramatic pasts behind them and start fresh. Little do they know that A is only just getting started--and they're about to be blindsided by a secret none of them saw coming.

Shepard crafts, again, a deliciously dark tale of luxury, mystery and lies. Pretty Little Liars is known--and beloved--for the way the plots are woven in quick, but still neat, tell-alls and secrets. As always, it's equal parts to the point and dancing around the inner-workings to keep readers on their toes. What I, personally, liked most about Wanted was the tone it set and how the plot unraveled a bit differently in comparison to past installments. Still soap-opera-friendly, Wanted has more of a trail to explore than its predecessors and Sara Shepard crams a world of questions, answers and intrigue in this one.

All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a copy of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

This novel surprised me quite a lot--I hadn't expected to like it for whatever reason; it felt promising but there's this moving quality to it that blew my expectations right out of the water. I went in thinking that the story would be one thing but came out realizing it was another thing entirely. Which is a fantastic feeling and I couldn't even put this one down while I was down with a gnarly flu--it just felt so captivating and... indescribable.

From what I understand, All the Breaking Waves is a departure from Lonsdale's previous work and have no doubt it shows off her incredibly versatile writing chops. In fact, I daresay I will check out her other release in woman's fiction: it was that good. Her prose has this undeniable spark to it that left me feeling goosebumps at even the most simplest of statements and so much in this is unforgettable. You know those novels that are perfect for dreary, wintery, chilled nights--paired with hot cocoa and silence? All the Breaking Waves is one of those gems.

Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Laurent could inspire homicidal tendencies simply by breathing.

I... couldn't believe this book was so popular. This is hardly the first, or last, time that a book with such a huge following will put me off but, still. Ah, Captive Prince let me down right from the very start--I had such high hopes for it based on the raving reviews many of my friends had given it. Sometimes, hype is attached to books that just don't do it for me and that is fine. We all have different things. Taste is, as they say, subjective.

But. But. But.

I felt very different about this one. Hm. Hm. Was the writing good? Sure. I'd say so. Yes, it was quite good in the way that makes me think the author has more stories to offer us at a higher quality. Emotion was there and the dialogue was pretty decent. It just wasn't my cup of tea and in all the promise it held, it fell flat and tripped over itself too many times to count. I remember within the first few chapters, I'd cringed so much, I had this bad feeling in my gut about this novel and frankly, it never went away or lessoned as the pages went by. I almost DNF it which I can't remember the last time I did that.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro | Rating: ★★★★★ 

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson return in the action packed sequel to last year's fantastic starter, A Study in Charlotte. I, for one, am so beyond excited. This trilogy isn't near its end yet but I already know it is one of my all-time favourites. I'm becoming obsessed with dear Charlotte Holmes. Not to mention the tone of writing we see from Brittany Cavallaro, which is reminiscent to a classic novel.

If you've yet to read this gem of 2016 releases, allow me to catch you up to speed: in this world, Holmes and Watson aren't fictional icons. Instead, they were historical figures who--yes--solve the very crimes we know so dearly from the classic stories. This series follows the families, generations down the line, and as many so say, history repeats itself. Unlike most the usual retelling, or sequels, it's mindblowingly good; entirely due to Cavallaro's out-of-this-world's prose and knack for quick winded banter.