Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry





This book is a little piece of home for me.

Which is funny, considering it takes place halfway across the country and doesn't really have much to do with my life.  After all, I haven't had visions of Grandmother every morning, when she tells me cryptic things and stories about creation and magic.

But books aren't beloved because they're all about what has happened to you.  They're beloved because soul.  Because that place inside of you that resonates so deeply with an idea or statement or Truth or kind of love, even if you haven't experienced the plot firsthand.  Even if you don't battle dragons (or ride them) or fall in love with the boy next door or go to school abroad.  You just...connect.

That's what TLTSTW is to me.

Of course, that being said, there were little things in it that relate to me and my life: I'm an INFJ and so is Nat, and her dad reminded me so much of my own dad.  These facts only made the book more dear to me.  And definitely added to what tethers my soul to this book.

And I'm serious when I say I loved everything about it.

  • First off: EMILY HENRY'S WRITING IS A GIFT FROM GOD.  That is all I can even say about it because ????? What are words, even???? 
  • The plot is glorious and complicated and crazy.  It blew my mind.  You might have to read the last pages two times but that's only because they're brilliant and a;lksdjf;laskdjf;lkasjdf *fangirling overload*
  • The story is incredible, about sacrifice and all kinds of love and magic in the little things and mystery in the big things and believing even when it's hard and living your life for love. DO YOU NEED ANY OTHER REASON TO READ THIS BOOK???
  • And the characters....oh they were delightful.  They were rich and easy to relate to, and there were so many realistic hardships woven into the magic that I couldn't help but feel for everyone, even when some people made terrible mistakes.
  • The romance went a little fast for me at first, but because of the magic and amazing character development, I was able to let it slide easily.  And their chemistry was SO STRONG.  Like, yes please.  Give me Beau.  I want him.  I love him.  LET ME LOVE HIM.

So, if you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend you do that.  Buy it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon or The Book Depository and cry over its perfection like I did.  If this review resonates with you, and you like magical realism and strange happenings and hot summer nostalgia, then you will love the book.  I promise.  And if you're not sold yet (or even if you are), go follow Emily on Twitter because she rocks and you will not regret her wit and humor.

SYNOPSIS

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
CONTENT

Some brief, strong language and kissing.  Recommended 15+

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


Buckle up, you guys, because this review is about to get deep.  Why?  This Savage Song is deep.  Like.  THIS BOOK.  Oh wow, seriously, it is gorgeous.  I've loved Victoria Schwab for a while, liked her for even longer, and I'm so happy to be a part of pushing her books on everyone else, because they are just so beautiful.

Now, before I get to the good stuff, I did have a few issues.  The beginning, while entirely enjoyable, is a little confusing.  I'm not the only one who felt this way, either, according to a few of my friends who also read ARCs.  There was a lot going on but not a whole lot of information to fill in the gaps.  The characters, who were great independently, had choppy interactions with family members and friends.  A lot of things went unsaid that I felt needed to be said.  My biggest problem with this is that thought never changed.  Usually when an author withholds information from you, they're doing it for a really really excellent reason.  But I felt like all of these things could have at least been hinted at earlier in the novel to give some clarity, and then further discussed later.

EVEN SO

Once I got passed the 200 page mark, a lot of things fell into place.  And I loved what I read.  A 3-star beginning suddenly veered into a 5-star ending, and for me that's the difference between "forgettable" and "incredible".  Which is a big deal for me, personally.  But this book really caught me and MADE ME FEEL DEEPLY.  POWERFULLY.

There are so many themes in this book.  Love, loyalty, true friendship - among other things.  Oh, and THERE IS NO ROMANCE, which gives page time to all the other stuff we don't get as often as romance.  Not that romance isn't amazing - I'm obviously a sucker for all kinds of love stories and I obsess over book boyfriends - but it is nice to see the focus on things that are equally important.  Especially in a world of monsters.  Especially where your brother, sister, father, mother, sibling, best friend could turn on you, could become a thing, a creature, you don't recognize.

Everything happening led up to an epic ending, with so much running and fear and terrifying life-threatening encounters.  These characters were stripped down to their bare selves and forced to confront the ugly, and it was really really beautiful.  Harsh, like the dystopian world they live in, but wow.  It was what made me love the book as much as I did at the end.

And the involvement of music.  You guys.  My heart broke a little over how much I loved that.  August's character arc and his connection to music really dug deep for me.

So yes, I liked the action and adventure and world building and the monster system Schwab created and the politics.  It was all utterly fascinating.  But all that took a backseat when I really felt a powerful connection between the characters, and I felt their trials on a personal level.  Their hardships were mine; their scars were mine; their futures were mine.  And that's what makes this book so excellent and so very worthy of reading.

To conclude, if you haven't bought a copy yet, I recommend you do so immediately.  Read this book, and love it, and make sure you thank Victoria for writing it.  She deserves all the love.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Wordery

SYNOPSIS

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
CONTENT

Some brief, strong language.  Recommended 13+