Carry On

I love books that dabble with magic. Seriously, you wanna be my friend? Suggest a good fantasy novel to read (bonus points if it’s a series). So obviously, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. Ask my husband. I made him watch the movies and he kept asking questions. All I could tell him is he needs to read the books. (He still hasn’t read them.) So I was excited to pick up Carry On. I’d only read one other Rainbow Rowell book and was in love with her writing style.

IMG-2291Simon Snow has been raised in the Normal world most of his life, hopping from orphanage to foster home, never really knowing where he belongs. Until The Mage comes for him and opens his eyes to the World of Mages and the magic within. But most of the time Simon can’t get a spell out correctly and the rest of the time he’s sitting something on fire. Now it’s his final year at Watford, the wizarding school, and he must face a multitude of troubles, including a magic-eating monster that is terrorizing this place he has come to call “home”.

Sounds very similar to a certain other magic-wielding orphan, right? That’s what I thought too when I started Carry On. It put a bad taste in my mouth because it seemed like Rowell was trying to rewrite the Harry Potter story. While there are some strong similarities between the two, Carry On definitely stands apart. With some intricacies not shown in Harry Potter and an ending that left me unsettled, I was sucked in. Rainbow Rowell is a phenomenal author. Once again I was blown away by her story-weaving abilities. In the end, I absolutely loved reading Simon Snow’s story. If I had to complain about anything, it’s that I wish she had turned it into a series if only so I could stay in that world a little longer.

#FictionFriday: A Prayer for Owen Meany

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

Welcome to another #FictionFriday, book lovers! The weekend is finally here. (Cue the angel choir) While I still have a lot of housework to do this weekend, I’m hoping to get quite a bit of reading done. Currently I’m reading through Carry On by Rainbow Rowell for my book club. Since it’s such a thick book I’m debating on adding a second book to my “currently reading” list. What do you think?

4473This #FictionFriday, I’d like to share with you A Prayer for Owen Meany. If you’ve been following my page for a while, you’ll know that I read this book last year. I’ll be honest, I’m not very familiar with John Irving’s writing and that’s simply because I’ve never read any of his books up until I picked up this one. I’d seen the movie Cider House Rules which was based off one of his books. But that doesn’t really count.

A Prayer for Owen Meany follows two young boys, John and Owen, in the 1950s and beyond. Owen is a strange boy with an abnormal voice and a belief in miracles. What do you do when your best friend believes he is God’s instrument?

I have to admit, I wasn’t immediately taken in by this book. It’s not something that I would have picked up on my own but I enjoyed it. It took a bit but eventually I was hooked wanting to know what happened to Owen Meany. I’m still not quite a fan of Irving’s writing but I enjoyed this book. Perhaps I’ll pick up another one soon. Any lovers of John Irving out there? If you have a book you think I should read, send me a message.

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Do you ever have those books that you put off reading because they’ve been hyped so much? How could a book be that good, right? I have a few of those and Serafina and the Black Cloak is one of them. I put off reading it and put off reading it but it’s been staring at me lately so I finally decided to pick it up.

51Cpf+z1U+L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Serafina is a unique little girl living in the basement of Biltmore Estate as the C.R.C. (Chief Rat Catcher). Her pa helps keep the electricity running as their handyman. Together they’ve made a quiet, private life together. Until children on the estate start disappearing. Risking everything, Serafina allies herself with the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. They race to uncover who the Man in the Black Cloak is before all the children disappear. In doing so, Serafina also delves into the mystery of her past and who she is.

 

Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive another day, but no one thought they were evil.

Robert Beatty has created an enchanting tale filled with suspense and beauty with every page. I found myself wanting to finish this one quickly. Not because I wanted to be over and done with it but because I couldn’t wait to see how he ended the story. Serafina and the Black Cloak is dripping with magic and mystery. Definitely a book everyone can enjoy. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel!

#FictionFriday: Tuck Everlasting

I remember reading Tuck Everlasting back in middle school and this book has stuck with me ever since. I find myself constantly thinking of this book and wanting to read it again and again.

51pjcLaWOSL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_Meet Winnie Foster. Her family is relatively normal, life fairly predictable. Until one day she discovers a spring on her family’s land. Not just a normal spring but one that grants immortality if drunk from.

Meet Tuck. His family has drunk from the spring on Winnie’s land and boy do they have a lot of stories. Winnie is enamored with them and their history. But soon she must decide whether to keep their secret or join them. Is eternal life a blessing or a curse?

Natalie Babbitt has created a world that you will want to revisit again and again. With characters to fall in love with and a unique story, you won’t want to put this one down!

By Your Side

I’m not usually big on teen romance novels. They’ve never rocked my proverbial socks off. Not much was different when reading By Your Side.

IMG-2041Anxiety-riddled Autumn Collins finds herself locked in the local library over the long holiday weekend. She thinks she’s alone until she finds herself face-to-face with Dax Miller, the black sheep of their school. But as the weekend wears on, and left with no other company, Autumn finds herself opening up to Dax in ways she hadn’t even with her love interest Jeff. When the weekend is over, will the feelings that have blossomed wither? And if not, who will hold Autumns heart when she makes her final decision?

Kasie West does a wonderful job of bringing the trials and tribulations of anxiety disorders to the story. She definitely enlightens readers to what their fellow classmates and friends may be going through. While I found myself wanting to finish the story, I didn’t really find myself invested. It seemed from the very beginning who Autumn would choose. Other than the corny lines that seem ever present in teen romances and the predictable outcome, it was an enjoyable read. Definitely a refresher for the senses after some heavy reads beforehand.

When the Moon was Ours

To the boys who get called girls,
the girls who get called boys,
and those who live outside these words.
To those called names,
and those searching for names of their own.
To those who live on the edges,
and in the spaces in between
I wish for you ever light in the sky.

Do you ever have those books that you draw you in with their beautifully written words? Those books that seem lush and eloquent and absolutely breathtaking in their prose? When the Moon was Ours is definitely one of those books.

IMG-1975From a boy who hangs moons in the trees to a girl who grows roses from her wrist, When the Moon was Ours is a tale of two best friends and the strangeness that bonds them. Sam and Miel are inseparable and strange in their own ways, but even as the town spreads rumors about their oddities, they all know to keep their distance from the Bonner sisters. Four girls who run the town and who are now convinced Miel’s roses will give them more power. Using every secret to bribe her to hand over the roses, Sam and Miel must face each other’s darkest secrets and see if they can knock the Bonner sisters down a peg or two.

While Anna-Marie McLemore writes beautifully, I found myself wishing there was a plot to the story…or any plot at all. I felt as if McLemore was covering for the lack of story with her well-written words and her apt for creating a fantasy world. It was hard to pick out absolute truths from the story amidst all the metaphors McLemore filled the pages with. That being said, the story itself is absolutely wonderful. I just wish a little more thought had been put into the plot of it all.

#FictionFriday: The Night Circus

Hey book lovers!!! It’s Friday which means another #FictionFriday. It’s been a while since I’ve read this one but boy, has it stuck with me.

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them, and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

51gfkfjupcl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is all about two young magicians, Celia and Marco, trained since childhood to duel. Suddenly, a circus appears as if from nowhere. Only open at night, it becomes the battleground for Celia and Marco. But neither of them could expect the relationship that would blossom between them. Now they must face their mentors and the fact that only one of them will come out of this alive.

Morgenstern poetically creates a world in which the reader will not want to leave. Magic occurs with every turn of the page. It is almost impossible not to imagine this fantastical world that Morgenstern has written into existence. I have a hard time picking a favorite book (because I have so many) but The Night Circus is definitely at the top of my list. This one will leave you spellbound!

The Beauty

“We move, we surge, we dash and we flow, and we think that our furious beating upon the far shores of the universe means we are powerful. But we are only the crest of an uncontrollable surge in the tide.”

IMG-1956I had no idea what to expect when I started reading The Beauty. Honestly, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Aliya Whiteley has written an intriguing tale. The women are all dead, killed off by a strange disease, and men are all that is left. The age of humanity is coming to an end. But a young storyteller in a group of men, Nathan, has found what he believes to be their saving grace.

What follows is a story that is reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft’s works. After finishing The Beauty, I felt as if my brain and been taken out and played with. While I thoroughly enjoyed Whiteley’s writing style and poetic prose, I was left wanting. I wanted more details on the downfall of humanity, a more complete ending, just more. That being said, I was kept on the edge of my seat. The Beauty is indeed a unique story, unlike anything I’ve ever read. It will keep you thinking and you won’t be able to put it down.

All We Had

IMG-1718My mom is my best friend. We hadn’t always been that way but our relationship has grown to be that way. I know without a doubt she would do anything for me. As a mother myself, I would do anything for my kids.

Rita and Ruthie have a similar relationship. They have been dealt a crappy hand and life just keeps pushing them further down. Constantly on the brink of homelessness, Rita jumps from beau to beau in the hopes of keeping a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. But she eventually gets bored and it’s time to move on. Until one day she leaves a man and they find themselves broken down just outside of Fat River, NY.  Not having the means to fix their vehicle, they wind up working at Tiny’s, a small diner with a gas station run by a quiet man named Mel. There they find themselves in the midst of Peter Pam, a crossdressing waitress, and Arlene, the head waitress who gets hot flashes so severe she must find relief in the walk-in refrigerator.

Mother and daughter soon find themselves on an upswing. They’re making money, making friends, and eventually even have a roof over their heads. But it isn’t long before life deals another blow and Rita must find another unsuspecting man to provide for them. But this man is not one she’s dealt with before and things are at risk. How much will she sacrifice in order to keep them fed and housed?

All We Had is a beautiful telling of a mother-daughter relationship developing in the edges of poverty and reaching for the ultimate American Dream. Annie Weatherwax charms the reader with unique characters that bring laughter and heartache in her storytelling. While ultimately I enjoyed All We Had, I found it difficult to fall into Weatherwax’s writing style and cadence. But once I found a rhythm, I found I couldn’t stop reading. At only 257 pages, it was quick once I got into it. For all those daughters out there who are best friends with their mom, or for the moms that love their daughter unconditionally, definitely pick this one up!

#FictionFriday: New Beginnings

Hey book lovers!

So I’m starting something new this month with #FictionFriday (waits for applause). Basically, every Friday I’ll be posting about a fiction book I think should be on your bookshelf. Maybe even give you a nudge to go out and buy it over the weekend. Who knows?

Starting out our #FictionFriday, I’d like to talk about A Man Called Ove. Y’all, this book hit me hard. It made me feel and you guys know how much I love a book that makes me feel.

81EQHE097eLA Man Called Ove is all about a curmudgeon (how fun is that word?) who’s world is suddenly invaded by new next door neighbors: a young couple and their two chatty daughters. Told through the budding relationship between Ove and the two girls, we see a man who has felt heartache and had a rough life.

Fredrik Backman fills these pages with sadness and comedy, making it easy to fall in love with the characters. By the end of the book, you’ll look at all the grumpy old men in the world differently.

If you haven’t picked this one up yet, I highly encourage you to check it out! It’s a fast read with a great story.

If you have any recommendations for #FictionFriday, feel free to suggest them here.