Thursday, December 28, 2017

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

REVIEW:  This is one of the best books I've read this year and to think it's been sitting on my bedside table for at least a year. I finally got around to reading it and wish that I had done it sooner. What first drew me to this book was the book title and also the cover, it's totally gorgeous. The imagery and descriptive details of Melete and the Fae are magical and exactly how you would picture a fairy tale to appear. Upon first glance, the summary reads like a so many other YA books, with two sisters going off to an enigmatic school where they find themselves in some kind of dark predicament. However, this story veers into a completely unique direction upon learning that Fae inhabit Melete and choose a human tithe every seven years from one of the students attending the school. 

I would recommend this book to readers of fantasy, fairy tales, and YA.


Monday, December 11, 2017

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding..

REVIEW:  This is one of those books that I've been wanting to read for the longest time, ever since I read the summary for it, and when I saw that it was on sale for $4.99 on Amazon, I purchased it right away. I have mixed feelings about this book, not because I thought it was bad or anything but because I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

The beginning and middle sections were really slow at times, to the point where I thought about DNFing the book. There is so much back story and tons of characters to get through that the story became dull and somewhat monotonous. However, it soon picked up near the end and definitely keeps the reader glued to the page to find out more about Maya, Desmond, Avery, and of course The Gardener.

The setting and idea behind this story is unique and disturbing at the same time. The girls are seen as butterflies to The Gardener and their backs are tattooed with different species of butterflies and then the girls are given new names. They're held captive in this make believe garden with a pond, a cliff, and rooms that lead in various directions, some quite dangerous. Once they turn 21, their lives are ended and the girls are positioned in a glass case that is poured with resin to keep them "fresh" looking.

Overall, this was a well-written book with plenty of suspense and tension to keep you turning the page. I look forward to reading the second book in this series, eventually. 


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Rosegiver Free E-Book Giveaway at the Book Gobbler

~ There are 9 free PDF copies left of The Rosegiver at  Won't you consider reading it?  The book is 251 pages, not too long a read.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Everyone has a story . . . but will they get the happy ending they deserve?

Emilia has just returned to her idyllic Cotswold hometown to rescue the family business. Nightingale Books is a dream come true for book-lovers, but the best stories aren't just within the pages of the books she sells - Emilia's customers have their own tales to tell.

There's the lady of the manor who is hiding a secret close to her heart; the single dad looking for books to share with his son but who isn't quite what he seems; and the desperately shy chef trying to find the courage to talk to her crush . . .

And as for Emilia's story, can she keep the promise she made to her father and save Nightingale Books?

REVIEW:  I thought I would enjoy this book more than I did. When I read the title, it made me think of Nina George's novel, The Little Paris Bookshop, but it wasn't quite as interesting a read for me. Again, this turned out to be another book that was too long winded, lots of characters and their backstories to keep up with, and just too much information to digest.

The setting is lovely. Imagine a family-owned bookshop located in a quaint English village in the country. The residents enjoy perusing the shop but also love it because of the owner, who is kind and takes the time to talk and listen to his patrons who have become more like friends. The owner suddenly passes away and his daughter is left to manage the bookshop, something she'd never wanted to do before but suddenly feels it's her duty to because the bookshop meant everything to her father.

The characters were likable and I enjoyed learning about their histories but I wish their stories weren't so drawn out. Overall, for me, an okay read.

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


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Haunting of Meredith Review

~ I wanted to post this wonderful review of my novelette, The Haunting of Meredith, by Robin Goodfellow. She is also a poet and writer and reviews novels of a darker nature:

"The Haunting of Meredith, by Sandy Hiss, is a beautifully tragic story about remembering your loved ones.

Meredith is a young woman who, in order to stave off her loneliness, watches people from afar. One day, she meets a strange old woman named Helen. At first, Meredith refuses to have anything to do with her. But as time passes, she slowly begins to realize that Helen is more than who she seems and finally realizes just how important Helen is to her. However, there is something more sinister lurking in the shadows, a monster that was born from the depths of abandonment. 

I fell in love with Meredith the moment Hiss first introduced her. Initially, she seemed pitiful, as if she was nothing more than shadow, watching people go by on their business. Then she sees Helen, and suddenly she becomes human. I was wary of Helen, as well as the strange occurrences around her. I was also more than a little cautious of Helen whenever the two met. Still, I enjoyed the relationship between the two, the bittersweet tone carefully interwoven with the plot. 

The concept of remembering loved ones was also well done. The woman who had a stroller with only a baby doll inside; Helen’s granddaughter forgetting her, and even Meredith’s loneliness; each aspect of the book contributes to the importance of caring for your friends and family, even when they’re far away. Granted, scaring them into submission may not be the best way to go about it, but it’s necessary nonetheless. 

Overall, I enjoyed this story. Hiss effectively conveyed the dark elegance of the memories of the dead, as well as the bittersweet reminder of the thoughts of the forgotten. The dead, after all, have nothing left to lose. As such, I would give this book a rating of a 4.3 out of 5 stars, and would recommend it to fans of The Rosegiver, by Sandy Hiss, Autumn Chills, and Love, Death, and Other Lies, by Jerome Sparks."