Posted in Fantasy

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Goodreads Synopsis:

“In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world and the mystery behind a magical door in this captivating debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. “

Alix E. Harrow has written the story that my soul has been waiting for. Per rules of being allowed access to an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC), I am not allowed to share any quotes, but people, consider buying this book once it has been released in September. Pre-order it now (I have attached a link to the bottom of this post). It is an epic tale of discovery, betrayal, homecoming, belief, and magic that will have you pausing every few pages to fully absorb the tale that you have become so immersed in.

I will not be posting a spoiler-y synopsis of my views, or give any great detail about the events that occur in this book, so you, reader, will have to take my word for it and trust me when I say that this tale is 1,000,000,000& worth it.

I tend to be the reader that plows through a book with attempts to finish it in one sitting, never savoring the words, but The Ten Thousand Doors of January forced me to slow down and feel every word written.

I have read some amazing books, fantastic books, heart wrenching books, in my time, but never one that has captivated me so fully as Harrow’s.

5 Flowers.
Posted in Fantasy, Mystery

Wild Beauty

Goodreads Synopsis:

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and fam

ily.

If any of you readers have ever seen Stephen King’s Rose Red, Wild Beauty definitely gave off those same creepy vibes. Rose Red is a mansion with a mind of its own, much like the land of La Pradera. CREEEPPYYYYYY. I didn’t sleep for a HOT minute after watching Rose Red.

All the women in the Nomeolvides family are named for flowers. Calla, Gloria, Azalea, Dalia, except for Estrella. She is named for the stars. All these women are cursed with the power to grow flowers at will, except for Estrella, whose blue borraja flowers grow through her rafters as she sleeps. Her power is wild and unpredictable, and her family is wary.

The Nomeolvides were tormented for years accused of being witches because of their green thumbs, but they eventually met the Briar family, who in exchange for them tending their barren land, allowed the Nomeolvides to stay and make La Pradera their home.

It comes to light that all 5 cousins, are in love with the same person, a young woman named Bay Briar, the bastard of the family banished to La Pradera as punishment for her bloodlines. La Pradera takes those that the Nomeolvides women love, so in attempts to save Bay from the curse, all the girls give up their favorite items to the land as offerings. La Pradera is their god.

In return for their offerings, the land game them back a boy, Fel. He appeared where Estrella had buried her offering. With Fel’s help, the mystery of the evil land is solved, and all is made well.

Wild Beauty is not a book I would normally read. I picked it up as a cover buy and because it was the OwlCrate edition. McLemore writes in a very lyrical style and her words are very poetic. I prefer straightforward text, but McLemore’s style allowed for a change of pace to my typical reading.

I love that all 5 main characters are atypical in their love interests and that they are such empowering women. There are very few men in this story since all of them are destined to disappear if a Nomeolvide falls in love with them, so the women have had to adapt and learn to be self sufficient and rely on themselves. Their lives and family are their responsibility, not that to be shared between a male partner.

Besides, women appear to be the only safe choice for love as no female lover has ever been taken by La Pradera.

I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers, but also to those who love flowery writing (pun fully intended). McLemore’s writing is absolutely beautiful. It is not an over the top, “must recommend to every living soul”, kind of book, but with that being said, it is still worth it if you’re looking for a different sort of story.

Posted in Fantasy

March TBR “Battle of the Books” results:

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.”

Dinah

  • 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.”

-Avalkyra Ashfire

  • 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.”

-Stella

  • 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.

Posted in Fantasy

For Those Delightfully Lost in Wonderland:1

In efforts to make this post not be a 76 miles long, I will be posting all of my Alice books in a series of posts. I hope you enjoy them, and welcome to

First we have the book that started my love for Alice, Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

Heartless: Marissa Meyer

Brief Synopsis: Heartless is a brilliant, beautifully written re-telling of Alice. Catherine is the most desired female in Wonderland. She has, unfortunately, captured the eye of the dimwitted King of Hearts, and he seeks to make her his Queen of Hearts. Cath’s only wish in life is to open a bakery and spend her days making the most delightful treats in all of wonderland, but being the daughter of a Marchioness does not allow room for lowly tasks like baking,

Cath is invited to a royal ball at which she will be expected to accept the King’s marriage proposal, but rather she spots Jest, the new court Jester. A jabberwocky attacks and Cath gets away and avoids the King’s proposal, but she cannot out Jest out of mind. It was love at first sight. They pursue a whirlwind relationship all the while under the guise that Cath is courting the King.

Cath meets Haigha (pronounced Hare) and Hatta, Jest’s two closest friends, and then learn that they are not residents of Hearts, but of Chess, and that they had come through the Looking Glass to steal the heart from the Queen of Hearts, Cath’s heart, to end the centuries long war in Chess.

Ultimately Cath chooses Jest, but it is all to their own downfall. Hatta, Haigha, Jest, and Cath all have their lives ruined by one fateful decision to believe they could defy prophecy.

Queen of Hearts: Colleen Oakes

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.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Vol. 1: Raven Gregory

This graphic novel is weird. It provides a very interesting take on the typical character’s involved. Cheshire is now a giant ferocious feline, the Jabberwocky looks like a space worm, and there is now a cannibalistic walrus. The artwork is phenomenal.

The white rabbit is twisted and scheming. The Red Queen is awful, but defeated. The jabberwocky rules Wonderland. But my personal favorite is the spade. Her character is unexpected, kind, yet totally badass.

Here are a few interesting excerpts from the novel to give an idea of more of the artwork!