Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
Series: Landry Park
Published by Speak on January 22, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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“Downton Abbey” meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal

Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.

Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.

I was a little hesitant going into my Landry Park reread. I enjoyed it, but it was also a crack book, so I wasn’t sure if it would stand up to a reread. Thankfully, I find my opinion unchanged from my original review.

There’s a lot of promise in Landry Park that does become a bit lost in the mire of unnecessary love triangles. Even aside from the love triangles, I’m not a huge fan of the romance so I hope Hagen can see me on that in Jubilee Manor. Despite all of that, there’s something I find very readable and compelling in this series. Then again, I am a sucker for balls and all of that. The world building lacks believability but I’m willing to suspend some amount of disbelief because it is a fun read.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)The Water and the Wild by K.E. Ormsbee
Series: The Water and the Wild #1
Published by Chronicle Books on April 14, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Won
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For as long as Lottie Fiske can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless.

And then a door opens in the apple tree.

Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.

The Water and the Wild is the kind of middle grade novel that reminds me why I haven’t stopped reading them. Ormsbee’s prose is gorgeous, and the story magical.

Ormsbee throws references to a number of classic tales, most notably Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Spenser’s The Fairy Queen. Achieving a novel that will have equal but varied appeal to young readers and adults a like is tough to do but I think Ormsbee has pulled it off.

The characters shine, but I still wish the book had been a bit more feelsy. It felt a bit safe. Despite the supposed danger, I was never worried about the young heroes. I do think they’re all fabulous, though Lottie is my least favorite of the main four. Oliver’s adorably bashful and I love his poetry quoting. Adelaide is a bit of a bitch so obviously I think she’s great. Fife is basically a sassy, pranking, bantery boy and he’s very reminiscent of Keefe so he’s my favorite.

Actually, I feel like both characters and plot were a bit cheated by the rushed ending.  There are a couple of potential adorable middle grade ships, but nothing is done with them. The question of what will happen in the land of the sprites is also left open. Thankfully, my googling indicates that Ormsbee is working on a sequel, which I .will most definitely be reading. Still, The Water and the Wild was solidly a four star read for me until the ending proved so clunky. They did a lot of wandering in order to get permission to wander more to finally get to where they were going. It was sort of a boring quest, because they didn’t really accomplish anything on the way.

If you’ve not already started, you will want to add The Water and the Wild to your to-read list, but you might want wait until the sequel comes out in 2016 so that the ending doesn’t prove quite so frustrating.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Purchased
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I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key.

And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.

April won’t let Jonah go without a fight.

He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?

Your Voice Is All I Hear is dark. It is pain and discomfort pretty much straight through. The fourth genre listed on Goodreads is romance, and you should ignore that. I mean, yes, there very much is a romance in it, but the book is not romantic. It’s the classic tale of girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in first love, and then boy develops schizophrenia.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up Your Voice Is All I Hear under normal circumstances, but I really liked Scheier’s historical fiction debut, so I wanted to try her long awaited sophomore novel, which really couldn’t be any more different. I really debated on how to rate this book, because I can’t say that I liked it but I do think it did what it was doing pretty well.

I think that readers who loved Corey Ann Haydu’s OCD Love Story, who like books that are that unflinching about mental illness and constant pain, need to read Your Voice Is All I Hear. That’s the closest readalike from my experience by a long shot.

What fell flat for me in Your Voice Was All I Hear was April. She’s incredibly shy, an outcast, bullied. I really should have identified with her since I’ve been all of those things, but she never became a person to me at all. Aside from piano, I’m not really sure what she enjoys. There just didn’t seem to be much to her. That did make her reliance on Jonah very believable, but it also kept me from fully engaging emotionally in the story.

Their romance worked for me actually, and I did find April’s commitment to stay with him very believable. I really liked the ending with April’s project and how everything resolves. View Spoiler »

Seriously, if you like books about mental illness and can handle perpetual gloom a bit better than I can, Your Voice Is All I Hear is worth a go.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)Turning Pointe by Katherine Locke
Series: District Ballet Company #0.5
Published by Carina Press on April 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 59
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Zedekiah Harrow is Alyona Miller's other half—the Z to her A, her rock in the chaotic, competitive world of professional ballet. He's the one person who can talk her anxiety away, the one person she knows will never judge her. That she's starting to think about him as more than a best friend is something new entirely.

Aly is Zed's everything, but their "just friends" label is beginning to chafe. When the company embarks on a month-long European tour, the magic of Amsterdam and a nearly indecent pas de deux routine combine, making their chemistry—both on and off the stage—impossible to ignore.

But just as Aly and Zed begin to see what everyone else already knows, just when they've taken the leap from friends to lovers, the unthinkable happens. And in the blink of an eye, Aly and Zed are tossed back to the beginning…

Despite the fact that I keep reading them, I’m totally not a novella person now. Free ones, though, I just can’t resist. My antipathy for these little prequels or series spanners aside, Turning Pointe is a really good one. I was a bit skeptical since I already knew what was going to happen to Aly and Zed in the past, but there really is something about them/this series and it works.

Obviously it’s bittersweet to see young Aly and Zed, because they’re super cute/naive, but also there’s this dramatic irony sitting on your chest. Like, you’re reading a hot sex scene and everything is great but you’re waiting for the hammer of pain. Ouch, Locke. Ouch. The writing does have a tendency to go a bit to the dramatic from time to time, but Aly and Zed, despite their Joey/Dawson “friendship” that obviously is sexual tension, aren’t that dramatic. The lighter Zed of the past is nice; I particularly appreciated all of his bad ballet puns. I also appreciate that Locke went for friends to lovers, not something I’ve seen much in NA, and that there’s no senseless love triangle added in. The barriers to Zed and Aly have obviously always been Zed and Aly.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)The Diviners by Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners #1
on September 18, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror
Pages: 578
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

It’s no surprise that The Diviners was still really good. I decided to reread it before diving into the second book in the series, which I’m glad I did. At first, I was questioning this urge because man is the first half of this book ever slow. The rest of it’s the cat’s pajamas.

One reason I’m glad I reread is that I violently loathed Sam the first time for reasons that I no longer understand. I’m cool with Sam now. I also wasn’t as bored by Memphis this time around. I’m glad I have the refresher on the characters and their particularities.

Evie’s a total delight, and I love her slang. I’m not generally into slang in books, but she’s just so funny. Also, holy shit is this book creepy. Right near the end of the book, I went outside to take my trash out and a cat ran by and I was TERRIFIED. This book has made me question the winds and the shadows. If I hear any whistling, I will probably cry.


One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (4)”

  1. Lyn Kaye says:

    I have wanted to start The Diviners for a while, but the book is SO BIG. *sigh*

    However, I am, like, 12 books head on my yearly goal, giving me some time to pick up some of these larger novels (Uprooted), so I might need to kick this up on my list. Everyone that I trust has loved this book.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Blog Tour: The 3rd WomanMy Profile

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