Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Sinner ~ Amanda Stevens (earc) review [@AmandaStevensTX @MIRAEditors @HarlequinBooks]

The Sinner (Graveyard Queen #5)
September 27, 2016
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

I am a living ghost, a wanderer in search of my purpose and place…

I'm a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone.

I've come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I've been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?

At first, I was a little disappointed that there weren't more ghosts in The Sinner. It is, after all, something I've come to expect with the Graveyard Queen books. As the story progressed, though, I not only didn't mind, I liked that this tale was a bit different. There are absolutely still otherworldly, supernatural things that Amelia experiences, sees, hears - it's just a bit different.

It works not only for The Sinner's specific story in Ascension and around Seven Gates Cemetery but also for Amelia's character and her development. She's no longer just the ghost-seer we met in The Restorer. During the series, especially in the book prior to this one The Visitor, both we readers and Amelia herself have learned more about her abilities, some oft he 'why' and about who and what she is - that it's a lot more than she ever expected. This book was a great follow-up to The Visitor with her still figuring some of those things out.

Devlin's absence from this book was noted and (as much as I did miss him), what that meant for and to Amelia during the book and what we learn about some of the, possible, reasoning has me really hoping to see it all explored more in the next book. (And hopefully for him to be back!)

The author did a fantastic job introducing us to new characters, while still involving some of the ones we're familiar with the story in unexpected but really smart ways. Amelia's job as a  cemetery restorer is not only one I want, but it gives her a unique knowledge base that always lets her know things that are really interesting and that you're not likely to hear elsewhere. It also lets her travel to new locations with each book that pull her into a new town, with new lore and secrets -- and characters.

I really enjoyed reading The Sinner, Amelia's summer in Ascension with all of its unexpected occurrences, secrets, supernatural history and even the danger. Her character has undergone some excellent growth and development since the series started and I'm really looking forward to where things end up for her, both personally and with her 'ghostly' abilities.

review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR List [@epicreads @merit_press @hmhkids @randomhousekids @simonteen @FierceReads @RP_Kids @SourcebooksFire]

This week's Ten:
10 Books On My Fall TBR List

Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly
(October 11th ~ HMH Books for Young Readers)
Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.

Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.

Feminist readers in particular will appreciate this strong young woman who doesn’t conform to gender norms.. -Kirkus

Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver
(October 4th ~ HarperCollins)
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...

Look Past by Eric Devine
(October 4th ~ Running Press Kids)
Someone brutally murdered Mary Mathison, daughter of a prominent and very conservative local pastor. Whoever it was is now taunting Avery, a transgender boy, with disturbing messages, claiming that Mary’s murder was revenge for her relationship with Avery. The killer’s demands are simple and horrific: Avery must repent for changing his gender identity, or he will be the next one killed.
Can Avery deny who he is to catch Mary’s killer? Or will sacrificing himself be the ultimate betrayal?

What Light by Jay Asher
(October 11th ~ Razorbill)
From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey
(November 1st ~ Sourcebooks Fire)
Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.

It's been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John's homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She's sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn't far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.
Teach Me to Forget by Erica M Chapman
(December 2nd ~ Merit Press)
Ellery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place.

Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over--return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows--the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

Colter quickly uncovers what she's hiding and is determined to change her mind. After confessing a closely held secret of his own, he promises not to tell hers. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she's faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether her love for one boy is more important than a lifetime of pain.

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
(October 4th ~ Greenwillow Books)
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
(October 18th ~ Knopf Books for Young Readers)
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
(November 8th ~ Feiwel & Friends)
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

and I'm leaving #10 open because I know there are a lot of fall books I forgot to add to my Goodreads shelves!

Please leave a comment and let me know the top books from your TBR list this fall!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday [@MindyMcGinnis @PenguinTeen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

GIVEN TO THE SEA by Mindy McGinnis

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

published April 11th by Putnam Children's

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


It's Mindy McGinnis. Honestly, that's about all the initial reason I need, but more than that it's about a girl who doesn't want to do what's expected of her. After A Madness So Discreet and The Female of the Species I am more than ready for some more girls-not-doing-what-they're-supposed-or-expected-to-do from this author! (I'm also excited that it's a fantasy series and looking forward to seeing what sort of world and characters she creates.)

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Female of the Species ~ Mindy McGinnis review [@MindyMcGinnis @EpicReads]

The Female of the Species
Katherine Tegen Books
September 20, 2016
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

"Sugar and spice and all things nice, That's what little girls are made of."

That may just be part of a nursery rhyme, but let's face it, girls are expected to be sweet and smiling and nice. They're not supposed to be angry or violent or dangerous. Or kill someone.

Alex Craft isn't what a girl is supposed to be, though.

But this book? The Female of the Species is everything you need.

Sure, someone who knows how to kill someone may not be the optimal example, but Alex and this novel deal not only with rape culture, but also gender stereotypes (and slut shaming). They live in a small town where everyone knows everyone - and everyone's business - yet there are still some definite secrets. Some bigger than others.

There is a great juxtaposition of birth and life and death and destruction in the book. There's the obvious of Alex knowing how to kill, but then there's her work at the animal shelter, there's the way different characters help others find a new life, a new perspective and lots of little (and some bigger) examples. The contrast and the unexpected ways they appeared really added to the story.

I had thought that this was going to be wholly different from McGinnis's last book A Madness So Discreet but it actually wasn't. They both do a superb job challenging what that day's society expects from and allows of women. The way that we see what the characters, their friends and their peers find acceptable, the way they then react to things and the changes we see take place were all incredibly well done.

I don't think I ever would have put Alex Craft's character together with the commentary the novel was able to offer nor would I have expected it to work so, so well. This book is one I am going to recommend and remember for a long time to come.

"But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while is the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll." (pg 202)

thank you to the publisher for my copy of the book to review

Top Ten Tuesday: All About Audio

This week's Ten:
All About Audio Freebie
Books or Book Series I Liked as Audio Books

In the After and In the End by Demitria Lunetta
read by Julia Whelan
Audible.com // In the After review

(I could probably make a list of the 10 books I've listened to just by this narrator - The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Need series by Carrie Jones . . . In the After wasn't the first I listened to but now every time I listen to something that Julia Whelan's narrating, I randomly expect the character to be Amy.)

The 5th Wave Series by Rick Yancey
Audible.com // The 5th Wave review

Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
read by Emily Janice Card & Emma Bering

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
read by Rebecca Soler

The Custard Protocol Series by Gail Carriger
read by Moria Quirk

Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Starbound Trilogy by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
read by James Marsters

Please leave a comment and let me know some audio books you've enjoyed (or if you really hated any, too so I'll know to avoid those!).

Monday, September 19, 2016

Afterward ~ Jennifer Mathieu (earc) review [@jenmathieu @FierceReads]

Roaring Brook Press
September 20, 2016
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.

You feel better after reading Afterward. True, that's not something one would expect given that it's a novel about the aftermath of two boys' return home after being kidnapped, but it's true.  The characters - Ethan and Caroline, especially - have go on such a journey through the book that you cannot help but feel hopeful for them and the future.

That is not to say that things are hopeful or good-feeling for them, necessarily. Author Jennifer Mathieu does a superb job showing us what Ethan is experiencing now that he's 'rescued' and returned home.I liked that the book focused so much on the present with Ethan, his family and their healing from what happened rather than on what happened. We do know some of it, but mostly through how Ethan is learning to deal with the thoughts and emotions caused rather than flashbacks.

Caroline and Ethan are not two characters you would ordinarily put together, yet they fit so well. The kidnappings are the first, obvious thing that connects them, but as the story progresses, we see that it's not the only thing. I enjoyed what the author gave them as a shared hobby and love.

The way that time passes in the book fit the story very well. Some of the chapters took place on the same day or the succeeding day, but there were times that days,, weeks or months passed between one chapter and the next. This way we see the important events and their followup - even if that takes weeks.

I thought that the author was very respectful and insightful when it came to everyone's healing, coping with trauma, their grief, confusion and love in Afterwards. Ethan and Caroline's families handle things very differently and their families are impacted very differently but it felt very organic and also gives readers things to think about with their own lives or others.

review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday [@pwisemanbooks @simonteen @Carol_writer928]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

MESSENGER by Carol Lynch Williams

From PEN Award–winning author Carol Lynch Williams comes an eerie and atmospheric coming-of-age tale about a girl who can talk to the dead—even if she would rather not.

Evie Messenger knows that her family is different from other families. But it isn’t until her fifteenth birthday that the Messenger gift is revealed to her. Evie has the family’s gift—a special power. Soon she realizes she is able to see and talk to the dead—ghosts—often with no idea who the person was. Or as Evie says: “I see Dead People. It’s a Messenger gift.” That doesn’t mean she wants the Messenger gift. So Evie tries to ignore it but soon she finds she cannot. Can Evie find a way to live her life without letting her power take over? And what if the dead person is someone close to Evie’s family?

published October 18th by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


I like that the Messenger gift is something Evie's family shares, that it's not just something that unexpectedly, inexplicably happens to Evie with her family maybe not really believing her about it. That makes Evie wanting to 'ignore' it as best she can even more interesting. I want to see how well (or not well) that goes.

I like the other Carol Lynch Williams books I've already read: Never Said, The Haven, The Chosen One, and Miles from Ordinary , that they're each quite different from the others and Messenger seems different from all of them, as well.

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Girl on a Place ~ Miriam Ross (earc) review [@hmhkids]

Girl on a Place
HMH Books for Young Readers
September 13, 2016
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Bahrain, 1970.     After a summer spent with her family, fifteen-year-old Anna is flying back to boarding school in England when her plane is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and taken to the Jordanian desert. Demands are issued. If they are not met, the terrorists will blow up the plane, killing all hostages. The heat becomes unbearable; food and water supplies dwindle. All alone, Anna begins to face the possibility that she may never see her family again. Inspired by true events in the author’s life, this is a story about ordinary people facing agonizing horror with courage and resilience. Includes Q&A with the author.

Girl on a Plane is based on actual events that took place in the Middle East in September of 1970.

I think that whether you know about the hijacking it's based on, know of it or don't read that little line on the cover and don't know it is based on anything, you can enjoy this book.

Author Miriam Ross does a fantastic job bringing readers into the time and the place. From the flat roof of their home in Bahrain to the plane full of cigar smoking, we're right there. The little things (like the ashtrays on the armrests or the comments on women's eye makeup) really do help you to feel what the time was like, to remember or realize details you've likely forgotten were true about the era.

What I think I appreciate most about the novel was how well the author included the political happening. Most anyone who reads 'Palestinian terrorist' will have some idea what their motivation and/or objectives are but Ross really helps us to see the specifics, and form a more human standpoint not just a political or objective one.

When that's put alongside Anna's fear, her desire to see her family again, her attempts to understand how people (some not much older than herself) could be so willing to kill them, it makes for a tense, emotional, complicated and compelling tale.

Miriam Ross's Girl on a Plane is a great read full of fantastic details that bring readers right to Anna, 1970 and that hijacked plane.

digital copy received, for review, from publisher via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorites of This Genre

This week's Ten:
Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre

and I'm choosing Historical Fiction as my genre. I have loved historical fiction from back when I only read Children's books and still love it - YA, Adult and some Children's, too - today. Though I enjoy books set in specific time periods for this list I tried including more that are about the time period or significant people or events from that time -- or at least really evoke the time or where norms expectations of the period are crucial to the tale.

Top 10 Favorite Historical Fiction Books
(in no particular order)

The House Between the Tides by Sarah Maine
review // Goodreads

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
review // Goodreads

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

The Lake House by Kate Morton
review // Goodreads

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
review // Goodreads

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
review // Goodreads

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
review // Goodreads

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
review // Goodreads

The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Please leave a comment and let me know your favorite historical fiction books (or pick your own, different genre and tell me those faves) - if you made your own list, link me to it!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Lost and the Found ~ Cat Clarke (earc) review [@cat_clarke @randomhousekids @CrownPublishing]

The Lost and the Found
Crown Books for Young Readers
September 13, 2016
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Fans of Lucy Christopher’s Stolen, Caroline B. Cooney’s The Face on the Milk Carton, and Natasha Preston’s The Cellar will be captivated by this twisty psychological thriller about an abducted girl who finally returns home to her family—but is she really who she claims to be?

When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister, Faith. Since then, Faith’s childhood has revolved around her sister’s disappearance—from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention, to dealing with so-called friends who only ever want to talk about her missing sister.

Now, thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the front yard of the Logans’ old house, disoriented and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Can her sister finally be back? Faith always dreamed of her sister coming home; she just never believed it would happen. But soon a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated from her family and paranoid about her sister’s motives. Before long, Faith begins to wonder if it’s the abduction that’s changed her sister, or if it’s something else. . . .

Sometimes you wish for something, pray for it and hope for it. Then, you get it . . . only to realize that thing you most wished for isn't quite what you were expecting, after all. For Faith, that wish comes in the form of her long missing, older sister Laurel being forund.

 The thirteen years that Laurel Logan's been missing have wrecked the Logan family. Faith's parents are divorced, her mother's a shell of her former self and Faith's childhood was nothing like it could or should have been. Laurel coming home should make everything right again, right?

Maybe not so right.

Faith wants this to be the miracle everyone else seems to see it as - and at times sehe does. She has her big sister back. Except it's not all she had hoped. Of course, she knows that Laurel and life for their family can't just go back to normal after all her sister's endured, but she also didn't expect things to be how they are.

I thought that Faith's anxiety around the return of her sister, her desire for and attempts to make things right and normal and happy were all really realistic and well done. I also liked that it was Faith whose story this was, that we got things from her perspective and not Laurel's or their mother's or even a combination. We can see her struggle with how to deal with things, statements form her mother, the way her parents act, how Laurel's return impacts her life, wanting to help her sister and be understanding. Readers are often left, along with Faith, wondering what to let pass, what to accept and what to really question.

It's great that The Lost and the Found focuses on Faith, Laurel, their family, their relationship and Faith's life beyond all that rather than the actual abduction. It's a different focus but an enjoyable one.

One of the biggest twists of the book was one I predicted really, really early on but being unsure if or when it was coming and not knowing all the details revealed once it did made that predictability not matter. I actually rather enjoyed the way it seemed to hang over the story, leaving me wondering.

The very, very end of the book did leave me questioning several things and not necessarily it a good way. I'm still not sure what I think about it or what it could - or should - mean for earlier parts of the story.

I haven't been able to find a preview of the UK version online to confirm that itw as different, but there seem to be some places where the text was changed for this US version and some where it was not (including: both dollars and pound are mentioned for money, drinking age is twenty-one, someone's coming 'up' form London, it's 'university' not college).

digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

Friday, September 9, 2016

Once, in a Town Called Moth ~ Trilby Kent (earc) review [@trilbykent @TundraBooks]

Once, in a Town Called Moth
Tundra Books
September 06, 2016
224 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

A gun in a lake. A Missing mother. Ana is on the run. But from who? For fans of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.

Ana is not your typical teenager. She grew up in a tiny Mennonite colony in Bolivia, and her mother fled the colony when Ana was a young girl. Now Ana and her father have also fled, and Ana doesn’t know why. She only knows that something was amiss in their tight-knit community. Arriving in Toronto, Ana has to fend for herself in this alien environment, completely isolated in a big city with no help and no idea where to even begin. But begin she does: she makes a friend, then two. She goes to school and tries to understand the myriad unspoken codes and rules. She is befriended by a teacher. She goes to the library, the mall, parties. And all the while, she searches for the mother who left so long ago, and tries to understand her father—also a stranger in a strange land, with secrets of his own.

This is a beautifully told story that will resonate with readers who have struggled with being new and unsure in a strange place, even if that place is in a classroom full of people they know. Ana’s story is unique but universal; strange but familiar; extraordinary but ordinary: a fish out of water tale that speaks to us all.
Once, in a Town Called Moth is told both from Ana's time in Toronto and her time in Bolivia, living as part of the Colony Felicidad community. The parts of her story in Toronto are told in the third person while those in Bolivia use first person narration. The difference is interesting and gives a different feel for the different locations.

I enjoyed that Ana's time in Colony Felicidad, her Mennonite upbringing and their separation from modern, everyday  society played into the story in the ways they did. It was not all good, or all bad - her introduction to and feelings about Toronto and being a (more) regular teenager, or her feelings about their life in Bolivia. There's a nice balance between what she chooses to change or adapt to, what she has to change and what she does not change.

The setting of this book does a really good job not  having a particular when. It' is one of those books that feels in turns both set in the modern, present day and set maybe a decade or two ago. It's the best sort of timeless. You know because o the presence of smartphones, the internet, iPods that it'scurrent but there's nothing dating beyond that. I really enjoy when books can do this.

I really like that, in many ways, it felt like there were not big, giant monumental things occurring as we followed Ana's everyday life (with one or tow obvious exceptions). Yet, when we reach the end of the book, it is abundantly clear that she is not the same girl who began the story. There have been a lot of changes in Ana, a lot of growth, a lot of growing up. It's only once many of those things have happened that you realize how instrumental they were in her development.

Trilby Kent does a fantastic job showing up Ana's everyday life, with its everday issues (and, again, some giant ones, of course) but making the sum of those days something exponentially greater.

digital copy received for review, from publisher via NetGalley
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