Review Rendezvous: 10/27/18


The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
Book stats:
Genre(s): Historical fiction, fantasy, retelling
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 416
Publish date: October 2nd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TSoKVTWhen Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.

I loved the spookiness of this book right off the bat. I also have not read a historical fiction in forever, so I enjoyed getting back into this genre. Honestly, this is the perfect book for Halloween time.

There’s a great blend of retelling and fresh, new content with the romance side. I did notice the attraction popped up pretty quickly, but it didn’t bug me too much overall. There is definitely a bit of the “I’m my own person, I’ll do what I want” attitude that may be a bit cliche for historical romance heroines. On the flip side though, it’s also nice that she’s not just a doormat that lets people walk all over her.

The beginning may have been a bit slow, but overall I think this is a really good read. It’s perfect to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and hot drink in the fall/Halloween season 🙂

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
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Review Rendezvous: 8/18/18


Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara
Book stats:
Genre(s): New adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 190
Publish date: July 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Image result for kaitlin's mooring carey v azzaraNothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

Pregnant twenty-year-old Kaitlin Deveau leaves Boston University in a hurry when Henry, her grandfather, calls from Maine with devastating news. Bereft of hope, Kaitlin’s son, Christopher, becomes a life preserver, keeping the family buoyant. Henry, now Chris’s only male role model, teaches him lessons he uses throughout life. In the end, Chris and his adopted sister, Susan, must save their parents from the fate that took his grandparents–but the outcome is uncertain.

I haven’t read many contemporaries recently, at least ones having to deal with mortality in such a large way. Some authors can tend to use death to build up shock factor instead of to enrich the story, but that is definitely not what happens here. Azzara masterfully weaves the relationships throughout the book and shows how the circumstances around them have come to change their feelings.

The only real downside was pacing. I’m so used to books that take off at 100 MPH in the first chapter that this one took a bit to get into. But once I finally sat down with enough time to take it all in, I did end up enjoying the book.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 8/11/18


The Steel Sentinel by Kyle Williams
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 292
Publish date: March 15th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon

TSSWar and Chaos bound together
Death is all alone
Life is lake and forest plenty
Peace sleeps with the bones

It all began with death, a mysterious woman, and a poem. The balance of the world is in jeopardy. The Guardians of War, Chaos, Peace, Life, and Death have all gone missing. The world threatens to tear itself apart and at the center.

There is Kyah.
An unassuming girl from a small village in Canada obsessed with the lore of our people. In the very oldest lore of our people, they tell of a child. A child who will rise up when the world is in its darkest hour.
And now, That time has come.

The world is on the verge of darkness and destruction. She has charged herself with finding the guardians and restoring the balance.

I’m always down for a good mythology story, so I loved getting into this book. There is a great balance of action and character building, which can sometimes get lost in stories that fall in the fantasy category. I highly enjoyed getting to know the character of Kyah, and could definitely relate and see a bit of myself in her.

Overall, I thought the pacing was quite good and really enjoyed the voice and style of the writing. The ending also grabs you and sets up further entries into the series very well. I look forward to future additions to this world.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 7/28/18


Losing Adam by Adrienne Clarke
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 217
Publish date: April 5th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Book DepositoryBarnes & Noble

LAWhat happens when the person you love most in the world suddenly becomes a stranger?

Adam and Jenny’s world is falling apart. Their dream of attending college together away from home quickly becomes a nightmare when Adam begins hearing the voice of the Snow Queen. Adam’s startling transformation from popular drama student into a withdrawn, suspicious stranger leaves Jenny frightened and confused. How can the person she loves most in the world suddenly become someone she doesn’t recognize? As Adam drifts farther and farther away into the Snow Queen’s mysterious world of ice and snow, Jenny believes she must fight to bring him back or risk losing him forever. 

Vividly narrated by Adam and Jenny, the struggle to understand the impact of Adam’s mental illness, forces both characters on a journey of self-discovery that leads to understanding about life’s uncertainty, the power of first love, and the pain of letting go. Drawing on elements of The Snow Queen fairy tale, Losing Adam is a unique combination of drama and romance.

This is a book that definitely deals with some heavier topics. I will admit though, it is good to have stories representing mental illness, because it is something that has been left out of many published stories for quite some time. The time of transition between high school and college is also stressful, so there are many things that stack on top of each other to give this story tension.

We see the split perspectives of Jenny and Adam. Jenny has to stand by and see her best friend slowly drop into a world that isn’t real. Having someone you care about lose to mental illness can be draining, disheartening, and hurtful, which Clarke portrays well. Jenny could b a bit needy and selfish at times, but overall her characters was well written. I did have a bit of an issue with the fact that she seemed to want Adam to get better for her own sake, for her happiness, instead of his however.

Seeing things from Adam’s point of view was also interesting. I personally do not have any mental illnesses nor do I know of anyone with them, so I cannot speak to the authenticity of the situation. However the prose was lovely, and it seemed like Clarke portrayed the illness well.

The only thing the really held me back from enjoying it more was the maturity level of Jenny’s character, but this was still overall a good book. I enjoyed reading it, and the cover art is also lovely.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

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Review Rendezvous: 7/21/18


Futura by Jordan Phillips
Book stats:
Genre(s): Novella, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 90
Publish date: January 2nd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

FuturaBy the year 2050, Paris is a stark contrast from other large cities, which had long ago morphed into ultramodern metropolises, where every new building was practically a city within a city. Even in France, humans cannot escape the fact that the Invisibles have taken over. Some come in the form of microscopic chips that are embedded practically everywhere, while others are more visible because they power robots. Humans were suddenly underutilized, and they would be forever.

Past futurists had cried that this would be disorienting and depressing, but it turned out to be quite liberating. Human qualities—good and bad—are tolerated because they are authentic, and not artificially created. To err is to be human, and these days, to be human is to be beautiful.

Futura follows a single American woman named Ruby as she figures out how to thrive in a dramatically different cultural landscape. This utopian novella pushes back on the cynical views many hold today. Instead, author Jordan Phillips has imagined a bright future for the entire human race.

Honestly, it was so nice reading a futuristic book that takes on utopian themes instead of dystopian. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good dystopian, but there are just so. many. books. It’s the popular genre currently, which also leads to an unfortunate saturation of the genre.

But, this little novella was short and sweet. The world building here is very vivid and creative. There was no shortage of beautiful imagery and description. That I believe is the novel’s strength, and if we were to experience a different character’s input and story within this world, I feel like it would have a better chance at sustaining a novel.

One of the downsides to such a short novel is that there was not much time to connect with the characters. in a world as vivid and complex as this one, the premise would really fit better in a full length novel where one has the space to dissect and get involved with the lives of the primary characters. Then there’s the fact that the main character makes a few certainly questionable decisions. I really did enjoy the world, just not as much the actual view of Ruby’s life.

There is a bit of a discussion to truly be had about the premise. Would human life really be life if computers were the ones running our world and not us? Sure, the automation and modernization helps, but can computers be trusted to make crucial, life and death type of decisions? I’m not a blogger dedicated to philosophical questions though, so I’ll leave you to ponder that on your own 🙂

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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