Midnight Train: Murder on the Orient Express review

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If I had known how much I was going to love Murder on the Orient Express, I would have read it so much sooner! Agatha, girl, it’s no wonder you’re one of the most translated authors in the world. I read frequently, so I’d say I’m pretty hard to impress and surprise when it comes to novel plots. Murder on the Orient Express is one of those novels that starts out like a lazy drive around town with the windows down and ends like a hold on for your life high speed chase down the interstate. I won’t rehash the plot because you probably either know what it’s about, or you can just read the blurb.

What I love about this novel is Christie’s brilliant setup. There are so many little things that occur over the course of the story that you don’t even realize are going to play into the larger plot. Until the very end I would never have guessed who the killer was. If you’re looking for a totally unexpected, brilliant read then I cannot recommend Murder on the Orient Express enough!

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alle Gefühle- A Wintersong Review

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This book completely wrecked me. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because there are so many mixed reviews for Wintersong, but I 100% recommend this book! The Goblin King and Elizabeth are so wonderfully flawed and human, and I feel like you can’t help falling in love with either of them. Yes, the plot is interesting, but it’s the characters that are the main draw here. Jae-Jones knows how to pull every bit of angst from your heart. I found myself tearing up quite frequently because I’m just so bloody invested in these characters. If you’re not afraid of a dark storyline, then go pick up Wintersong. Also- I’m so excited that there’s a sequel. I totally thought this was a standalone novel, and although the way it ended was a pretty solid finale, I’m so excited to spend more time with der Erlkönig and Liesl. All the FEELINGS and heart eyes for this book- a heartbreaking and swoon-worthy read.

5\5 STARS!

Strike it Rich: A Windfall Review

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Windfall was a cute, contemporary YA- perfect for summer! I’ve read all of Jennifer’s other books, and this one feels totally different than anything she’s written before. I don’t know that I can exactly say why, but I did enjoy it…

Alice has had a pretty rough go of it. He parents both passed when she was younger, and she has spent the past 9 years living with her Aunt, Uncle, and cousin, Leo, in Chicago. Her whole life was turned upside down at the age of 9, and it has affected everything- which is totally understandable. You see, Alice doesn’t like change, as she knows all too well how abruptly and cataclysmically life can change in just one second. When the lottery ticket Alice buys Teddy for his 18th birthday turns into a multimillion-dollar birthday present, Alice realizes that her life is about to change again- for better or for worse.

I love that Alice and Teddy grow so much over the course of Windfall. Alice has spent 9 years living in the shadow of her parents’ death, even if she would never admit that to anyone. She volunteers at homeless shelters and the library, trying to live up to the legacy her philanthropic parents left behind. Being accepted at Stanford and moving home to California is her dream. Her mother was accepted to a graduate program at Stanford before she passed, and Alice feels like this is one way she can keep keep her mother alive.

Teddy, on the other hand, is a total character. Where Alice is dependable, predictable, and trustworthy, he’s the life of the party, and a total flirt. It’s no wonder Alice has been in love, secretly, with him for so long. His father gambled away their family’s savings and hasn’t been a part of Teddy’s life for some time. He and his mother struggle to get by, so when Teddy and Alice discover that his birthday lottery ticket is worth millions, Teddy is ecstatic that he can change his life and his mother’s life for the better. Through the course of Windfall, we watch Teddy and Alice struggle with overnight fame and wealth. Their friendship is tested- pushed to the limits.

From someone who is closed up and struggling with the death of her parents, to an individual who admits that she has flaws but accepts them and learns to grow despite them, we see a lot of growth in Alice over the course of the novel. And I really love that there is a happy ending, but also an awareness that life isn’t always perfect and that’s okay too. If you enjoy contemporary YA novels, then I can say that this is a solid pick!

A Boy and His Horse: Bone Gap Review

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The town of Bone Gap rests in a place where the ordinary and extraordinary often collide. Cornfields whisper, midnight horses fly, and everybody knows everybody’s business. People in Bone Gap have a soft spot for Finn despite his oddness and “strange ways of creeping up on a person.” Finn and his brother Sean were abandoned by their mother for a dentist and a better life. So they’re no stranger to heartache. When a mysterious woman appears in their barn, they take her in, no questions asked, and Roza quickly becomes a part of the boys’ family. Roza is quiet and beautiful, and the whole town quickly falls in love her. The shock of Roza’s kidnapping is felt through the town, and the question of whom to blame is at the heart of the novel. Finn is the sole witness to the incident, and his odd descriptions of what occurred cause the townspeople, and his brother, to question everything they know about the beautiful, moon-eyed boy.

While this novel may seem like a mystery, the heart of it addresses an age-old question: What, really, is love? Love takes many forms and faces, but real, true love is hard to find. Bone Gap creates a mythology all its own, but it definitely shares a few themes with the classic Persephone myth. I do wish that some of the town’s magical occurrences had been more fully fleshed out and that we were told more about one of the antagonistic main characters. However, I do believe that the vagueness upped the overall vibe of the story in some places and allowed us (the reader) to draw our own conclusions. I’ve seen quite a few comparison between Neil Gaiman and Laura Ruby’s storytelling style, and if you enjoyed Ocean at the End of the Lane you’ll probably enjoy Bone Gap. Petey, Finn, and Roza were the best parts of the book. Laura Ruby’s characterization was wonderful, I just wish a few plot points had a little more detail. Overall, I think this was a great read, and I’d definitely recommend it!

4/5 STARS

Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry!

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I read Harry Potter for the first time in 1999. Sorcerer’s Stone had been out for two years, and Prisoner of Azkaban was recently released. Walking into our middle school library and seeing the first three books on the shelf filled me with an undefinable level of excitement. Until seventh grade, I attended a private Christian school, and they would never have put a book about a young sorcerer on their shelves. I checked out all three books that first week of middle school- snuck home in my book bag because I was sure my parents would never have approved. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were my childhood companions. We grew up together- the last few years of my childhood were ushered out on magical adventures. High school brought freedom and the excitement of midnight release parties. The Deathly Hallows came out my second year of college, and I’ll always remember the excitement of that final release party: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, all night trivia, and a myriad of Sorting Hats… then rushing to my grandmas only to stay up all night and have one last adventure with my magical friends. I still love Harry just as much as that awkward seventh grade girl did, and I’ll be forever grateful to J.K. Rowling for making my childhood magical. It’s been a wondrous 20 years. Happy Birthday, Harry!

Signed, Sealed, But Not Delivered: The Lost Letter

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I love books that deal with World War II, and The Lost Letter did not disappoint. We follow the main characters through WWII era Austria and late eighties/early nineties America. Part love story, part mystery, Jillian Cantor manages to weave an intriguing tale. I will admit that there were times I found myself wishing that she didn’t jump between the two storylines every other chapter. It was easy to fall in love with the characters and their trials, and just when I felt invested, it was time to switch storylines. Despite this, I felt that the two story lines intersected perfectly, and I love how the author managed to connect all the pieces. It’s often easy to predict where a story is going and how it will end, but I felt that Mrs. Cantor kept me guessing until pretty far along in the novel. If you like a little bit of history, mystery, and love all rolled into one, then I highly recommend The Lost Letter!

4/5 STARS

Cabinet of Curiosities: Review, The Keeper of Lost Things

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*There are some slight spoilers below.

From the very first lines of the story, you’re drawn into the wonderful world that Mrs. Hogan has crafted. One of my favorite things about the story is seeing the puzzle pieces of each character’s life fitted together to form an intricate narrative. We meet Anthony Peardew, a man who lost his love many years ago. In order to keep from drowning in his sorrow, he begins collecting the random trinkets that seem to fall into his path: a single puzzle piece, a cookie tin of ashes, a daisy hair bauble. Anthony’s curious trove is lovingly cared for, each piece is catalogued with the place, date, and time of discovery and added to his collection- with the intent that he might someday return the pieces to their rightful owner. Anthony passes, and he leaves his collection to his housekeeper,
Laura. Anthony’s home, Padua, has become a place of respite following her divorce; we see Laura begin to live again, and we meet a wonderful cast of supporting characters.
Above all, this is a love story, but not just between significant others. It’s a story of learning to love yourself, imperfections and all. It’s about creating a life worth living and not settling for the mundane. There’s a little bit of the supernatural thrown in- just enough to give the story that little something extra.

To Sir, With Love: Dear Mr. Knightley Review

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Guys. I just read the most beautiful, lyrical, soul-searcher of a book and I want to gush about it to everyone. I started Dear Mr. Knightley late last night and spent the rest of today hiding away from the world trying to devour the remaining pages- a task our main character, Sam, would definitely approve of. I don’t want to hash out too much of the plot here because I want you to have the opportunity to fall in love with this book the way I did. Sam spent the majority of her life in and out of foster care and group homes, and my heart just breaks for all that she had to endure. But her spunk, her love of Jane Austen, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jane Eyre, and her ability to become the main characters of those novels in order to make it through some of life’s crazier moments… Man oh man, can I relate. Those of us who are book hoarders, book dragons, book devourers- whatever you like to call yourself- can totally relate with Sam. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there’s a whole, big, wonderful world out there- outside of our beloved books. Dear Mr. Knightley broke my heart in the best way possible, and reminded me that even when life seems crazy and tasks insurmountable, it’s our faith that will keep us going and get us through. So go ahead, buy this book for its beautiful cover (like I did), but fall in love with its quiet wonder of a story.

P.S.- If you love Daddy Long Legs, then you absolutely must read this book- that’s all the hints you’ll get from me!

5/5 STARS!

Into the Mystic: Song of the Current Review

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Song of the Current was one of those books that was patiently waiting on my Amazon YA Wish List. What a stroke of fate (which happens to play a rather large role in this book) that I received a copy in one of my monthly book boxes just yesterday. Even though I’m currently in the middle of a couple of other books, Song of the Current was calling to me, and I knew I had to start it right away. Cut to this afternoon and I’m in the middle of a major reading hangover after devouring this wonderful, magical book! Caroline, or Caro, is our heroine, and I love that she manages to be totally relatable while also kicking some major butt. Her journey of self-discovery is the heart of the story, and even though I’m no longer a teen, I can totally relate to the self-doubt and struggle that comes with trying to figure out your place in the world. You’ll fall in love with the supporting characters and never once feel like they’re just filling space in the book; in fact, I want a spin-off with Caro’s cousin Kente (please, please, please!)! I cannot recommend Song of the Current enough. It has quickly become one of my favorite reads this year. Sarah, please don’t make us wait too long for the next book. I’m dying for more adventures, magic, and swoon with Caro, Markos, and the gang!

5/5 Stars!