Archive | May 2016

“Scarlett (A Creepy Hollow Story)” Review


Author: Rachel Morgan

Type: Young Adult, Fantasy, Short Story

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

Synopsis:

Scarlett tells the story of sixteen-year-old Beth, a young girl who is living a rather ordinary and somewhat mundane life. Beth finds herself exhilarated to celebrate her one year anniversary with her boyfriend Jack, with a new dress and feeling more beautiful than she ever has before, Beth knows that tonight will be the perfect night spent with her boyfriend whom she loves. Unfortunately for Beth, things do not go as she had planned. After almost killing her boyfriend, Beth flees to the fae realm to track down her siren mother in hopes that her mother will be able to help her control her newly awakened siren powers.

Sadly, Beth finds herself cast out by her mother as it turns out her powers are different from a true siren’s power and as a result uncontrollable. Afraid of her new powers and of having harmed her boyfriend, Beth finds herself in the Dark North where she takes up residence with a group of witches who claim to be able to help her not only gain control of her powers, but to also learn the full extent of the power within her and how to wield the.

Assuming the name of Scarlett, Beth learns that not only is she powerful and deadly beyond anyone’s imaginings, but of a world that she never knew existed and of her place within that realm.

Thoughts:

When Rachel Morgan announced at the beginning of the month that she had written a companion story about her beautiful and unique siren character, Scarlett, I immediately bought and downloaded it as soon as it was available. The Creepy Hollow Series quickly became a favorite series for me from the moment I read The Faerie Guardian, and I was beyond happy to finally get to learn more about Scarlett, a character who was first introduced in the first book and makes appearances throughout the series in different contexts.

I have always found Scarlett to be a complex and hard to crack character, whom I never believed to be truly evil. It was nice to read of Scarlett and to have an insight into who she really is, as she is definitely one of the more mysterious characters within the books. Reading this makes me want to go back and read the series all over again from the beginning as I believe I would view Scarlett with new eyes now that I know more of where she came from.

Rachel Morgan has done a wonderful job of continuing the expansion of her storyline with books that are not only beautifully written, but that are fully engrossing and hard to set down until the last page has been read. This was definitely a welcome read to help tide me over until A Faerie’s Curse, the sixth book in the series is released next month.

 

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“The Care and Feeding of an Independent Bookstore: Three Instructive Essays” Review

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”

― Ann Patchett, bestselling author and co-owner of Parnassus Books

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: California Bookstore Day Publishing

Type: Essay, Non-Fiction

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

This past Saturday, April 30, 2016 was one of my favorite days of the year, Independent Bookstore Day. For those who don’t know, Independent Bookstore Day is a day where those who love books and bookstores, are able to show their love and appreciation by celebrating and supporting their local Independent Bookstore, and in turn supporting their community by shopping local. This year marked the second year of what will undoubtedly become a yearly event, and dare I say it, a holiday within the book community. As with last years event, a variety of limited edition items were available on this day as long as supplies lasted. Among these items were literary tea towels, posters and even books, including the one I am showcasing in this post.

The Care and Feeding of an Independent Bookstore: Three Instructive Essays by Ann Patchett was a cute little autographed book that was available for $6. I went into this day knowing that aside from the Neil Gaiman Coloring Book, that I wanted this book despite not knowing what it was about. Why did I want this little $6 book of essays when I knew nothing of its contents? One simple reason, the dachshund on the front. It had to be a must read for any dachshund lover and dachshund Mom such as myself.

After a successful shopping trip at my favorite Denver independent bookstore, The Tattered Cover, I returned home and proceeded to home with my haul. Curling up on the couch with my dog, Ripley, I set aside my other book so as to delve into this little read and find out why there was a dachshund on the cover of a book about independent bookstores. What I found within the pages was a rather interesting and engrossing story of how author Ann Patchett found herself co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, and the bits of information she has picked up along the way since becoming and independent bookstore owner.

In the first essay, The Bookstore Strikes Back, which first appeared in The Atlantic, tells of how after the last remaining bookstores in Nashville closed in 2010 and 2011, the city found itself without a local bookstore in the town. Although community forums were held to discuss what could be done to fill this void, none of the suggestions caught on with the community and this led to Ann Patchett considering opening a bookstore of her own. It was with an introduction to Karen Hayes, Ann Patchett’s future co-owner and business partner, that the ball began rolling. Despite constant feedback from the media that bookstores were dying and in another decade would cease to exist all together, Patchett and Hayes persevered and before they knew it, Parnassus Books had opened and was a success, Nashville once again had a bookstore in its town.

The second essay, Things No One Told Me About Owning a Bookstore, is where I finally received the answer to my question in regards to the dachshund on the cover. In this essay, Patchett discusses the little intricacies she had never thought of when it came to actually owning a bookstore: such as the group of employees who would come to be like a family that celebrated one another’s highs, lows, successes and set-backs; the customers who shop at and support the bookstore and become such regulars that the staff is comes to know their reading preferences and are better able to make recommendations; the fellow authors and friends of Patchett who visit her store while either on book tours or in town visiting; and the dogs which have come to be a staple and mascots of the bookstore, including a dachshund named Mary Todd Lincoln who even has her own Instagram account. It was this second essay which solidified in my mind that my next trip to Nashville needs to include a visit to Parnassus Books in order to meet the dogs, specifically the dachshund Mary Todd Lincoln.

The final essay, Booksellers Love to Recommend Books (It’s Who We Are), is nothing more than a list of Ann Patchett’s 52 favorite books from the year she turned 52. Of these 52 books, I myself have read only 4; I did however find an additional 9 books on the list that have peaked my interest and I now plan on reading at some point in time.

All three essays combined, made the perfect little read to cap off the success of my shopping trip on Independent Bookstore Day. It is my hope that future Independent Bookstore Days will feature more little books of essays and musings from authors who are involved in the support of the Indie Bookstore.

 

“Solstice” Book Review

Author: Jane Redd

Publisher: Kindle Press

Type: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction

Rating: 🌸  🌸  🌸  🌸 . 5 out  of  🌸  🌸  🌸  🌸  🌸 

Synopsis:

Beginning in the mid- 21st century, Earth began to experience non-stop rainfall throughout the planet. As the world became flooded, civil unrest broke out throughout the world and a new form of government rose to power, the Legislature. Instilling new rules, citizens were implanted with Harmony chips to suppress their emotions in the hope that society would create expert scientists who could figure out a way to stop the rain and save humanity.

Fast-forward to the time our story takes place, approximately 40 years after the start of the rains, and we are introduced to Jezebel “Jez”  James. Jez is unique in that her Harmony implant has never worked, resulting her having to learn at an early age how to control and hide her emotions in order to complete her mission in life. Jez has been tasked with doing all she can to make it to University, become a scientist and to implement the secret plan, as given to her by her by her caretakers, to stop the rain and flooding before it destroys the last remnants of the plant and to restart civilization.

With entrance into the University within her grasp, Jez finds her world breaking down around her as she falls under the scrutiny of the Legislature. Unsure of what’s real or whom to trust, Jez must walk a fine line if she has any hope of learning the truth and completing her mission.

Thoughts:

The book started off a bit slow for me, hence the rating, and I even thought that Solstice was going to end up being either a low rating for me, or a did not finish. I am so glad I pushed through the slow start because once Jez got into trouble and sent to prison, I found that the story finally began to take off. The more I read, the harder it became for me to put the book down. I just had to know what happened next.

The cliffhanger ending has left me shouting “What?! That’s the end?! But what happens next and more importantly what is going on?!” This is all in reaction to the two male leads in Jez’s life: her friend, and secret crush, from high school; and Rueben, the boy she met in prison, who like her is immune to the Harmony Chip. Sol has always looked out for Jez, even getting sent to detention in hopes of keeping her safe; he can also be seen as being just as much to blame for the trouble Jez finds herself in due to his constant sharing of “forbidden” information about the time before. Even at the end of the book, I still find myself questioning if Sol is immune to the Harmony Chip and who’s side is he really on. While Rueben is presented as a more honest and open character, I find him and his motives questionable.

The story is to be continued in Book Two, Lake Town. At the moment there is no release date for the second book, but I’m hoping by the end of this year. My hopes for the second book is: to find out more about the events in the Before time that led to the current state of the government and society and of course to find out what is going on with Sol and Rueben and for their secrets to fully come to light, for I know they’re each hiding things from Jez; and, on a lesser level to see if what I see as a potential love triangle is going to manifest or just remain a desire of my bookworm heart.

I received a free ebook copy from Inspired Kathy page on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

Check out this book on Goodreads: Solstice http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20387343-solstice