And the winner is…….CROWN OF FEATHERS by NICKI PAU PRETO
- The List- Patricia Forde – Review already posted: 3.5 stars
- My Favorite Thing is Monsters- Emil Ferris- DNF
While Emil Ferris creates a fantastical world in images, I found the story line to be too broken up by side stories. I couldn’t make myself take the time to finish it, and I doubt this is a graphic novel I will ever come back to.
- A Wrinkle in Time- Madeleine L’Engle: 3.5 stars
A brief synopsis: Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin are on a quest across space to save Meg’s and Charles Wallace’s father from IT. With the help of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, they are able to free him from the confines of IT and bring him home safely.
Review: I read A Wrinkle in Time as a young child in elementary school. The only scene that stuck with me was the children on planet Camazotz bouncing balls and skipping ropes in synchronization. I had to dig deep in the recesses of my mind to figure out which book that scene was from. After finally discovering that it was indeed A Wrinkle in Time, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the re-read and the nostalgia that accompanied it.
- Queen of Hearts- Colleen Oakes: 4.5 stars
Brief Synopsis: Dinah is the Princess of Wonderland. Her mother is dead. Her brother is mad. Her father is the King, and he is filled with hatred for her. One day, a bastard sister is introduced to the Wonderlanders, and is being groomed as the Duchess of Wonderland. Shortly after, a mysterious note is slipped to Dinah at a dinner. She needs to find Faina Baker in the black towers. But why?
Dinah sneaks into the towers as a prisoner, accompanied by her best friend, Wardley. They discover Faina is mad and that her warnings are all riddles. After this meeting, Faina is murdered on Execution day, Dinah is framed for their murder of her brother, and she escapes into the Twisted Woods where a completely different journey begins.
Review: Oakes is fantastic. She puts a dark twist on Wonderland that has just enough detail from Alice for it to easily be recognized as Wonderland, but this is not your average, happy fairy-tale. There’s murder, torture, suggested sexual violence (not enough for kids to not be able to read this, but enough that you understand what’s going on between guards and female prisoners), dungeons, and much scheming on the part of Cheshire, the kings most trusted adviser. If you’re looking for a dark, but familiar tale. This is the book for you.
“I will not be afraid of this wood because my fight to live does not begin now. I have been fighting all my life, I just didn’t know it…I did not die today, so I will not fear death tomorrow.”
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass- Lewis Carroll: 4.9 stars
Review: Carroll has created a masterpiece. I can officially say that I now have a favorite classic tale. I’ve never been a super fan of Alice in Wonderland. It was never my favorite Disney movie, but after reading the book, my opinions have changed. I had a difficult time getting through the first few chapters as the writing is much like Tolkien’s (not leaving much to the imagination). I swapped to an illustrated edition and then the story flew by and I found myself pacing to drag it out longer.
I love the whimsical elements, the nonsense, the plays on words. Simply amazing.
- Crown of Feathers- Nicki Pao Preto: 5 Stars—WINNER WINNER PHEONIX DINNER?
Brief Synopsis: Nicki Pau Preto is a genius. Val and Veronyka are animages on the run from the empire. They are hunted for their abilities to communicate with animals, namely the potential to bond with pheonixes, and are 2 of the remaining supporters of the Pheonix Riders. Val is in charge. She is cruel, distant, domineering, while Veronyka is light hearted, hopeful, seeking companionship. They find 2 pheonix eggs, but only one hatches, and it chooses Veronyka as her bondmate. Eventually Val’s need to control Nyka and her bondmate led her to murder the hatchling pheonix. Nyka leaves in search of the hidden Pheonix Riders and to put Val out of her life. Nyka find out that the Riders only accept male apprentices, so like Mulan, she poses as a male, Nyk, and enters the Rider camp and befriends the commanders son, Tristan. It isn’t long before Val finds her…but to unravel the rest of the storym you’re just going to have to read it;).
Review: I haven’t been this stressed out, on the edge of my seat, wanting to scream at the characters, over a book in a long time. Pau Preto has written a phenomenal story. In my personal opinion, if you read this book, do yourself a favor and don’t read the epilogue unless you want to be internally writhing wanting to know what will happen in the next book. Other books in this TBR list were amazing in their own way, but this book tops them all. I had to go back and adjust my rating. I am a fantasy lover for life, it has always been my prefered genre, and sadly the others just didn’t stand a chance in comparison. Congratulation Crown of Feathers, you have won.
“She knew my darkness better than anyone, and always, she had forgiven me. Always, she had seen the good in me. Until the day she didn’t.”
- Five Feet Apart- Rachael Lippincott: 4.8 stars
Brief Synopsis: Stella and Will both have Cystic Fibrosis. Will also has B. Cepacia. A bacterial infection that no longer allows him the opportunity for a lung transplant to prolong his life. People with cystic fibrosis can not be closer than 6 feet from each other due to risk of cross contamination from different strains of the condition. Yet Stella and Will fall in love anyways.
Stella is a know it all, goody two shoes who created an app to help with remembering her treatment schedules, and Will is the mischievous rebel, always stressing out the nurses, that doesn’t want to take his meds.
Review: Lippincott creates an amazing, heart-wrenching scenario surrounding this Romeo and Juliet romance. Stella and Will risk it all to try to be together and not cross-contaminate. I haven’t cried this hard over a book in a long time, but I was absolutely sobbing. The story is beautifully told and I will definitely be recommending it to everyone.
Side Note: Can we PLEASE appreciate how beautiful this cover art is?! I mean, geez, 5 stars in my book! *buh dum tss*
“There’s one theory I like that says in order to understand death, we have to look at birth. So, while we’re in the womb, we’re living that existence right? We have no idea that our next existence is just an inch away. Maybe death is the same. Maybe is just the next life. An inch away.”
- The Graveyard Apartment- Mariko Koike: 2 stars
A brief synopsis: A family from Tokyo buys a nice apartment conveniently located close to schools and work, but is also adjacent to a Buddhist temple, crematorium, and a graveyard. Shortly after moving in they begin to experience strange paranormal phenomena.
Review: This book upset me for a number of reasons and I am hesitant to give it the full 2 stars. There is not a lot of character development, nor do the characters use much common sense. While this may be part of the supposed charm of the book, I found it infuriating and could not wait to finish the book simply so I could stop looking at it.