My Summer Reads!

Even with my crazy busy summer I still managed to squeeze in some reading time. I read some really great books and discovered a whole new series that I fell in love with. Here are some of my favourites from the past couple of months!

Vanessa and Her Sister – Priya Parmar

vanessa-and-her-sisterThis was an absolutely beautiful book. The writing and imagery are just wonderful and I enjoyed drinking it in. Parmar did some major research for this one and it felt as though I got a true window into the lives of the Stephen sisters in a style that echoed that of Virginia Woolf herself. Definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of Virginia Woolf or this time period.

 

Mechanica – Betsy Cornwell

mechanicaI really enjoyed this Cinderella re-telling. Nicolette is smart and I loved the descriptions of the different machines that she made. She loved her work – and that made me love it too. She was very hands on with her work and I loved watching her plan out her creations and how every little piece went together. What I like most about this retelling is that Nicolette is driven to save herself and to make her dreams come true. She may get a little distracted by a good-looking boy, but she still wants to build a future for herself, by herself, and that solid determination is what I love about this story.

 

The Dresden Files – Jim Butcher

storm-frontThis summer I actually read the first 9 books of this series – which shows you how much I enjoyed them! These books have amazing action, awesome magic fights, and tackle hum-drum fantasy creatures like vampires in utterly refreshing ways. The books are absolutely gripping, but carry a genuinely satisfying amount of character building and big picture plot lines that made these the ideal package for me.

While the books don’t necessarily need to be read in order, it certainly is better for the usual reasons: world building; context; etc. Still, I’m going to highlight two of my favourites from the series:

 

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)

summer-knightIf you are a fan of faeries, this is the book for you. This story has some serious bad ass, utterly terrifying, gorgeous faeries that are fighting an all out war – and I love them. Additionally, this book is full of some of the most beautiful imagery I have ever read. Butcher’s use of colours was staggering, and I am so in love with the scenery alone in this book.

 

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7)

dead-beatThis book for me was just an utter delight. Not only did this book have some solid bad guys, it had some serious big time magic that was absolutely thrilling to read, and showed me just how effing bad ass Harry Dresden is. Not to mention how many times this book made me laugh, and showed that no matter how ridiculous an idea is, Jim Butcher will do it and make it awesome.

 

To check out what other books I read this summer, visit my Goodreads page! What about you? Did you fall in love with any great books this summer? Leave them in the comments!

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Escape from Witchwood Hollow – Jordan Elizabeth Mierek

WitchwoodOn The Cover: Everyone in Arnn – a small farming town with more legends than residents – knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees.

After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.

Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.

To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness.

How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?

Published: October 2014

Why I Chose It: I received a free digital copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The Review:

This book initially intrigued me with the idea of a witch’s legend and the missing children. Mierek’s novel features three women from three different time periods (1600s, 1800s, and 2001) and their stories intertwine around the legend of the witch. I absolutely loved how these stories overlapped, and how Mierek was able to bring together these three women across time by connecting their stories so well.

The one thing I really appreciate about Mierek’s novel is that it kept me interested. I was very curious to see what would happen to each of the three women, and how their stories would connect. There was enough mystery in each of the story lines to keep pushing me forward, and they remained really well balanced against one another. I was never rushing through one character’s chapter to get to another; I was genuinely curious about each one.

Witchwood

Unfortunately there was one very large obstacle that kept me from loving this novel, and that was how disconnected I felt from the characters. While I was curious about their stories, I was never emotionally connected to any of them. I found that the characters showed very little emotion, and what little emotion that was conveyed seemed almost disingenuous. I really wish I could have liked the characters more, but I just couldn’t get invested in them emotionally.

This is one of those stories that is tough to review. I genuinely liked the historical aspect of the story, the connections between the characters, and how the story itself was told. Yet I struggled so much with the characters and trying to become emotionally engaged with the story that I was a little bit put off. Still, this might be worth checking out if you’re a young adult interested in fantasy with multiple time periods.

Rating: 3 / 5

Creativity/Story Telling: 4 / 5
Interest Level: 4 / 5
Character Development: 1 / 5
Emotional Investment: 1 / 5

Quotations:

“Honoria paused beside an apple tree. In the dark, the bark looked like a continuous roll of black velvet wrapped around a thick pole. When she touched it, the roughness snagged her fingertips. Stepping back, a rotten apple squashed beneath her foot. Wonderful, she would have to clean it off her sneakers later. Maybe she should take it back for her aunt’s basket.” p 39

” “Maybe we don’t see her because she fell in a hole?”  Lady Clifford snickered at her brother-in-law’s question. Did the pompous fool really believe the wilderness was scattered with giant holes ready to swallow fleeing virgins? She pictured him in his slashed-sleeve doublet, catching the silk in branches while he waddled through the underbrush like a peacock in a swamp. A giggle caught in her throat.” p 22

“Albertine paused along the roadside. To her right stretched a hayfield, the weeds swaying like ocean waves. Wildflowers poked their heads through the brown and green stalks. To her left lay a hill dotted with oak trees. The green leaves shifted to shades of crimson and gold, the wind making the branches creak. […] This picturesque heaven had become her new home. A grin stretched her lips so wide the corners stung. Soon the fields belonging to her father and husband would become hers. She could run through the hay, laughing, with no one to tell her no, or force her to work, or clean up after a drunken night. Her sister would join her and they would climb trees. Yes, they would climb them as if they were boys. Albertine had never craved boyish pursuits, but the long, thick branches beckoned her into their golden cocoon.” p 53