Review: The Phantom Tree

Alison Bannister has spent the past ten years looking for her son, and in the middle of a Wiltshire antiques shop, she comes across a portrait that could be the key to finding him. The portrait is of a woman known as Mary Seymour. Alison knows this because they grew up together.

32618152The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick is a unique tale of time-travel and historical fiction. Alison has lost her son and in the process has found a way into the future. The only problem is, she can’t get back. So now she must rely on her frenemy Mary to leave clues for her to find her lost child.

I’m a sucker for historical fiction and The Phantom Tree is right up my alley. I loved the mixture of past and present so elegantly presented. However, I did get the sense that the two women’s stories were a bit disjointed, only overlapping in convenient areas. I thoroughly enjoyed the time period as it’s one of my favorites. The story is well-told and intriguing but I wish there had been more about Mary’s story as she’s such an important character. The ending also fell a bit flat for me. I felt as if Cornick just wanted the book to be over and gave readers an ending that might satisfy them.

All in all, it’s a wonderful story and one I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re looking for a historical fiction with a touch of the present, I definitely recommend picking up The Phantom Tree.

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: Songlines

It’s hard enough being a teenage girl trying to make it through high school. But when you find out that you’re a Guardian of the Garden of Eden…well, things get much harder.

Songlines-Full-Res-Bookcover-whiteLainie Gracewood has lived her whole life in Nalong and has dreamed of leaving the farmland she knows for big adventures in the city. But when she suddenly starts getting visions, things get complicated. Harry, a farmhand, breaks the news to Lainie that she is in fact a Cherubim that has been appointed to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden. However, with the threat of miners looming on the horizon, Lainie doesn’t have the easiest job.

Songlines is a unique tale told from an Australian standpoint, not something you see these days. Carolyn Denman does a fantastic job of blending religion with fantasy in this inspiring novel of family, friendship, and responsibility. With flair for the dramatic, Denman produces a story that you won’t want to stop reading. While I felt that the beginning was a little dull (and we were suddenly thrown into the meat of the story), I couldn’t make myself put this one down. You can bet I’m eagerly awaiting the second installment of this fabulous story!

**I received a copy of this book from BookSirens for an honest review.**

Review: Origin

IMG_1232Edmond Kirsch is a futurist, a prophetic computer scientist, and an atheist. A former student of Professor Robert Langdon, he has made an earth-shattering discovery that will shake the world’s religions to their core. But when his publicized announcement goes awry, Professor Langdon must find a way to unveil Kirsch’s discovery. Along the way, Robert uncovers much more than he bargained for.

Set in Barcelona, Origin was a book I just couldn’t put down. Dan Brown has a way of messing with my head and I always come out of his books wondering if what I just read was fact or fiction. Brown blends history and art seamlessly into this thriller and will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about computers and where the world is heading. Origin will not disappoint, especially for those who loved The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons.

After reading this one, I have had the sudden urge to go and buy every Dan Brown book I can get my hands on. It has been years since I last read a Dan Brown novel, the last one being Digital Fortress (which I highly recommend). I would love to read more of Langdon’s adventures!

Review: Die Again, Mr. Holmes

I’ve been a little lax in my reading habits lately and I’m trying to rectify that. But I just have so many books I want to read and I’m trying to do it all at once. Obviously, it isn’t working.

C1B37DBC-EB33-49D8-A501-B775B53236A1A woman seeks the assistances of Sherlock Holmes to discover where the man she loves has gone. An uptight noblewoman has lost her maid and requests the help of Lucy James to find her. Sherlock and his daughter are at it again in the gripping mystery with all the familiar characteristics of the classic Holmes we love.

Die Again, Mr. Holmes is another Holmes/James mystery that is sure to keep you turning the pages. I was skeptical when I received this book for a review. As someone who loves Doyle’s classic character as well as Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayals of the detective, I wasn’t sure that this book could stand up to such a large character. But I was pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoyed following Holmes and his daughter on their adventures as they try to track down the two missing people and suddenly find that their cases are related.

In true Sherlock fashion, there is plenty of intrigue and plots that Holmes has neglected to share with his counterparts. Among the staple characters of Holmes and Watson, we’re introduced to quite a few new ones as well. While this is not the first book of this series, it makes me want to read from the beginning and explore the history of Holmes and his daughter.

**I received a copy of this book from Smith Publicity for an honest review.**

Review: The Book Jumper

Imagine being able to jump into your favorite novel, being able to interact with the characters you love, and basically live the story! For Amy Lennox, that’s reality…or at least it becomes her reality.

ABEC5B42-1117-4ACA-B5BE-181C6F964474For as long as Amy can remember, it’s always been her and Alexis, her mom. Life hasn’t always been easy but it sure has been an adventure for the two of them. Until one summer. School had been hard on Amy. The friends she thought she had weren’t actually her friends and her mom was dealing with a hard breakup. So the two of them decide to spend a few weeks at Alexis’s childhood home, a little island called Stormsay.

While there, Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead insists that Amy read while she resides at Lennox House. Which isn’t much of a problem for Amy since she loves to read anyway. But Amy soon learns that her family holds a special power as book jumpers, able to interact with a story and protect the plots to keep the literary world in check. It seems like a wonderful ability, until someone starts stealing ideas from the classics. Dorothy’s cyclone disappears, the white rabbit can no longer lead Alice to Wonderland, and it’s suddenly snowing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But who is destroying the stories and why?

I was super excited to read this one. But it was a little slow going in the beginning. It wasn’t until I was about seven chapters in that the story started to pick up. While an easy read and an intriguing story, I felt that bits of it were thrown together haphazardly. However, part of that could just be the translation. Nevertheless, Mechthild Glaser has created a unique tale for all bookworms. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed about being able to talk with their favorite heroines or watch the classic stories being lived right in front of them?

There’s a lot going on in the book and it can get a bit confusing. I felt like there were too many underlying stories to the main one that at times it distracted from the awesomeness of the main storyline. Still, The Book Jumper was a good read with a surprise ending and I can’t wait to read more from this author!

Review: Ever Alice

When Alice fell through the rabbit hole, she discovered a world filled with mystery and quite a bit of nonsense. She battled jabberwockies, talked with animals, and met a queen. But what happened when she came back?

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 8.29.43 AMEver Alice picks up where Lewis Carroll left off. Alice has talked about Wonderland non-stop since her return and her parents are concerned. They’ve taken her to doctor after doctor until they have no choice but to commit her to an asylum. But Alice knows she’s not crazy. Every bit of Wonderland was as real as the padded walls around her. And when the White Rabbit shows up once again to lead her to Wonderland, she is convinced even more that what she’s seen is real. But the Rabbit hasn’t come back to invite her to tea or to walk through the gardens. This time, he’s back with a mission, one only Alice can do. He wants her to kill the Queen of Hearts.

H.J. Ramsay doesn’t skip a beat in this beautiful, nonsensical retelling of a classic. While keeping the integrity of Carroll’s characters intact, she makes it her own as well. It’s easy to get lost in the wonders of Wonderland and I’m reminded of my childhood and discovering Wonderland with Alice for the first time. Ramsay delivers more than just a new chapter in Alice’s story. She reminds us that sometimes reality isn’t all it seems and it’s ok to go back to Wonderland.

**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

We’ve all heard A Christmas Carol. It’s a classic. There are a hundred different remakes of the story. But what happens when you get to live it? What happens when you’re the Scrooge?

34322944Holly lives a charmed life. Her dad is a well-known director in California. Her stepmom is a designer to the stars. Holly wants for nothing. Until Christmas Eve night when she is visited by three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmases Yet to Come. But Holly doesn’t believe. All of it’s fake, right? Which is why Christmas morning, she finds herself hit by a car and her afterlife has begun…as Ghost of Christmas Past at Project Scrooge. She takes her sentence like a champ and six years later, she’s actually good at her job. That is, until this year’s Scrooge is announced and Holly finds herself breaking the rules just to see the Scrooge outside of work.

In a brilliant re-telling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Cynthia Hand perfectly portrays the classic characters in a new and unique light. When I first picked this up, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to fall into the story and get caught up in the lives of the characters. I enjoyed the fact that I could never tell quite how the story would end. Would Holly succeed in saving this Scrooge? Would her choices screw it all up and Project Scrooge would fail? Hand dazzles with her story-telling abilities and her imaginative plot. I want to read this book again and again!

This book was simply amazing. One that could be read anytime of year and still have the same impact: what are we doing with what little time we’ve been given?