Book Reviews

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”

This was such a fun read! It had just the right balance of magic, fun, and quirkiness. It was an original fairytale that inspired me and left me smiling.

“Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.”


I love Sophie, the main character. She was a determined, no-nonsense, young woman who even when faced with the Witch of the Waste, just kept on rolling with it. She was so hilarious! She just bossed everyone around but was still really kind to everyone. Then Howl was just a vain, temperamental, sweet, and brilliant guy. He definitely grew on me! Now, to be honest, I wasn’t sold on Sophie and Howl’s relationship, but the ending was still very sweet.

“If I give you a hint and tell you it’s a hint, it will be information.”


I really enjoyed the world and the idea of the moving castle with its different doors. The writing was also simple yet precise. It is easy to read yet still creative.
I can’t wait to read more books by Dianna Wynne Jones!

Book Reviews

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

I will guiltily admit that the cover and title consisted of about 80% of what attracted me to this book. It’s a lovely cover that nicely represents important elements of the story. As I read, I also appreciated how the title came up in conversation – it was fitting and effective.

Then allow me to go on and say that I really enjoyed the concept for this book – the idea of the Wildwood, the journey through it, and the truth behind the crown. Unfortunately, I was rather confused by the world-building. I got a medieval vibe, yet there was talk of muskets and trains (I think). It is, of course, a made-up world, but I wasn’t sure how to imagine things.

While the growth in Cerys and Fox was evident, I found I couldn’t connect well with them as characters. I felt that Fox did not mature the way I hope he would.

This was not a clean read. There was strong language which I think was uncalled for. I don’t think it provided any useful purpose to the story.

With that all said, perhaps you would enjoy this book, so read a few more reviews and make a desicion for yourself. 🙂

Book Reviews

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The blurb for this book intrigued me and I quite enjoy a well-written survival novel, so I thought I would give this one a go. I was very impressed! The survival details that Harmel put into this book were superb and clearly showed that she had done her homework. She didn’t just decide to write this book and then wing it. No, she obviously spent hours thinking it through and researching for it.

The main character, Yona, has had a rocky past and spends much of her time alone. I think we could easily say that things have been traumatic for her. Yet, I found myself really liking her. She had a maturity and purity that was beautiful to read about. She was naïve as was made obvious by the first man she fell in love with and the way he eventually treated her, but she grew and she learned and she did not become bitter because of it. Her relationship with her father was absolutely heartbreaking. I wanted so bad for her to be reunited with her family and to be able to build a relationship with them, but that was not to be. I think, however, that this was an important point of the plot. Because in losing her biological family, she became ever closer with her adopted family – the Jews she risked her life to save.

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Unfortunately this was not a clean read. Yona is intimate with Alexsander and then Zus which surprised me. I thought that there would at the very least be more push back at this because of their strong Jewish faith. Instead, it was easily accepted and hardly spoken of. At least, though, Harmel did not go into detail for these scenes and mentioned them, but did not feel the need to elaborate.

Despite this, I do plan to read more books by Kristin Harmel – I did very much enjoy this one.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Death at the Crystal Palace by Jennifer Ashley

I wasn’t sure how this book would go since it’s the 5th in a series, but I quickly found myself enjoying Kat’s lemon cake along with the rest of the characters (in a manner of speaking).
One of my favourite aspects of this book was the detail. Jennifer Ashley was very thorough with all of her historical details (as far as I could tell). While some might find all of the cooking instructions boring, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them and the way Kat prepared her suppers.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of Kat, but by the end, I realized that I appreciated her contentedness, kindness, and determination. She loved her job and the people around her and it was lovely to read about. Daniel was a real sweetheart! Kat and Daniel each had their own mystery to solve and as they went about doing this, their paths frequently crossed. I really, really hope she and Daniel can find a happy ending together.

The mystery was well executed as well. The evidence was all on the page, but like Kat, I had to figure it out. I definitely did not put all the pieces together and enjoyed that the ending took me by surprise. Honestly, I came to a point where I suspected almost all of Lady Covington’s family and staff.

I am excited to read more books in this series and I expectantly await the next installment.

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Book Reviews

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Yet another wonderful classic by Jane Austen. I thoroughly enjoyed Pride and Prejudice so I was excited to see if this one would be similar. It was and it wasn’t. It didn’t have the same humour that I think Pride and Prejudice has, but the love story was nevertheless epic. I know that there are those who would disagree with me and think that Persuasion is a hoot – to each their own I suppose. 

Anne was a solid character who didn’t allow the silliness or unkindness of her family to sway her. Yes, she didn’t enjoy it and I think she shone most when she was in the presence of others, yet still, she remained steady and kind and intelligent. One thing I found that I could really relate to was her value of good, deep conversation. I just wish there was more of that between Captain Wentworth and Anne. This is one of the main things that bugged me about this book. They hardly spoke to each other until the end! I wish they had more direct interactions, although I think Austen purposefully intended them to become acquainted with each other for a second time from a distance.

It was also interesting to read about an old love that is renewed rather than something new which is more common. It added a level of intensity because Anne and Wentworth had been in love with each other for years but kept trying to deny their feelings. I found my heart aching for them and I kept wishing that they would just hurry and make up. 

Overall, I enjoyed Persuasion and I am on to Sense and Sensibility next. 

Book Reviews

Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe

This was an exciting retelling of the Tempest. When I first started it, I wasn’t quite sure if I would enjoy it, but at about 30% I was dragged in. I think one of the things that struck me the most was that the plot spans over the course of a day. It was amazing how much could happen and how much the characters could change in so short a time. 

The secrets and different personalities of the Prosper family definitely kept things interesting. I almost want to say that they were beautifully flawed (some being less beautiful than others). Overall, I think they were well written. Cohoe gave them a fantastical magical sort of aura while still showing their bad sides. The main character, Mae, began as a naive and innocent protagonist but did mature as the story moved along. While I did value this growth, I found the way she allowed others to walk all over was rather annoying. Also, at times she seemed a bit bland and it was difficult to connect with her. 

I wish there was more depth into the 1920’s styles and mannerisms, but I did enjoy the way the Prosper’s house was described.      

Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Reviews

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

I will be completely honest, I had a hard time getting into this book. At first, it just felt rather dry and for months I couldn’t convince myself to pick it up. Then finally, I decided to try again. I thought, “This is a classic, even if I don’t care for it too much, I think I should read it.” I started again at the entrance of Mr. Collins and man, was I ever hooked after that. Mr. Collins’ proposal to Lizzy nearly brought me to tears it was so hilarious! And then Lizzy’s attraction to Mr. Wickim was extremely frustrating. I wanted to shake her shoulders and tell her that he was a no-good loser. Then of course there was Mr. Darcy. At first, he’s rather annoying, but after he expressed his undying love and Lizzy gave him a piece of her mind, my heart started to melt for him. It just got better from there and in the end, I think I was just as much in love with him as Lizzy was. This is another thing, the romance is such a slow-burn romance. I think this made Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship solid, though. They had months to think about each other and get to know each other.   

Best Pride And Prejudice 1995 GIFs | Gfycat

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”

And oh, all of that witty banter! It’s just too much for me. Lizzy is such a strong and determined woman. She doesn’t let social expectations or snooty rich girls push her around. Oh, no. She speaks her mind and she speaks it well. 

Lastly, I loved that there was a nice wrap-up chapter at the end; it really filled out the happy ending of this story. 

Pride and Prejudice Fan Art - Pride and Prejudice 1995 Fan Art (34592036) -  Fanpop

I think I will definitely be rereading this book. I am sure there are many tiny gems that I missed upon the first reading.   

 

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

“I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”

Book Reviews

The Eros Project by Helen E. Slater

I absolutely loved the concept for this book! It was intriguing and exciting. I also thought the cover fit really well with the story. 

So I was looking forward to this read and remember, this is only the opinion of one reader, but I did have a hard time getting through it. The ideas around the main plot and the information about the project were pretty solid. However, I found the pacing to be slow and I didn’t care too much for Rebecca, the main protagonist. Especially the section where Mark does all of his cool hacking stuff and Rebeca kind of hung around was rather tiring. Things did pick up a bit, but Rebeca didn’t have the strength that I hoped she would.  

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read, but the author frequently told the readers that so and so “made love together.” This detail was fine at first and I appreciated that the author didn’t go into detail, but it was mentioned quite frequently – I don’t want to know every single time a couple “makes love.”   

Overall, this was an interesting read and if you’re looking for a sweet Science Fiction novel, I would recommend this one for you. 

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT’S OVER! Books never make me cry, they don’t have that kind of effect on me. But my eyes definitely got a little misty over this one…. 

In this book, everything finally comes together. Questions are answered and good ultimately triumphs over evil. Yet, it was not all sunshine and roses. There were some heart-wrenching parts that simply tore me to pieces. Fred…Lupin…Tonks… I can’t even. I feel like this had to happen, though. This was war and couldn’t come without its losses. 

“He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.”

Harry’s decision at the end felt right too. After all of his character growth, he finally came to this moment and made the right choice. I’ve definitely been frustrated with him on many occasions, but I think he wouldn’t have become that wizard without those struggles. 

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”

I really loved Mrs. Weasley’s moment of triumph. I was cheering her on like crazy! 

A few things that I didn’t care for in this book…. The pacing was a bit slow in some parts – something  I’ve never really noticed in this series before. It was especially so during those weeks that they weren’t sure what to do next. I understand that Rowling wanted to finish everything at the end of what would’ve been their seventh year at Hogwarts, but it was frustrating that they didn’t take action for so long. I was also surprised that Harry didn’t seem shocked after he saw Snape’s memories. That was a big deal but instead, he obsessed over his own death. Also in this book, I found multiple editing errors. 

Ah, but what to say in closing? I was rather skeptical when I started this series. Yet, I was dragged in – hook, line, and sinker. Rowling has created a wonderful masterpiece that isn’t just about a boy who could do magic. It’s about loyalty, friendship, courage, endurance. It’s about the conquering of good over evil. Yes, the world-building is fantastic, yes, the characters are wonderful, but I think that these values inspire the reader and cause them to walk away feeling stronger. I think that is the true magic of the Harry Potter series.  

“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

P.S. That last scene “nineteen years later” is so sweet. 

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”