Celebrate the end of the work week with a little book humor.
Synopsis from Good Reads:
Welcome to Gardnerville.
A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.
Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.
After reading the description I was expecting this book to be about a picture perfect town with a bunch of psychotic kids running around trying to kill everyone every leap year. That isn’t completely off, but still pretty far off. Gardnerville is a secluded, magical town where people who had diseases like cancer can come to live in and be cancer-free. Residents regularly live well over a century. However, everyone knows there’s something off about the town. And that every fourth year dangerous/supernatural things happen to some of the kids. When one of these kids do something sinister, they are sent to the reformatory where they are held for various lengths of time. Skylar’s sister, Piper, was one of these kids and has been gone for four years. Skylar starts to worry that the fourth year madness is catching up to her as she tries to remember what Piper’s plan was.
The story is told from Skylar’s POV with chapters alternating between the present and flashbacks. The present chapters are told from Skylar’s 1st person POV and the flashback chapters are kind of a 2nd person POV, where Skylar is “talking” to Piper about what’s happened in the past. I love multiple timeline story telling, so it totally worked for me, though I recognize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I felt the flashbacks were used well, both in developing the characters of Skylar and Piper and revealing the twists and turns of the story.
I just don’t feel there’s a lot I can say about this book without giving away lots of spoilers. I will say that it’s a very unique book. Though the book isn’t particularly long, it’s not an easy read and it took me about 4 days to finish it (I can usually knock a book of similar length out in about half the time). Don’t let that put you off, though, as it was definitely worth the read. At times I guessed where the story was going, but then there would still be one more twist I didn’t see coming.
Overall, I really enjoyed (Don’t You) Forget About Me. I liked it way more than the previous book I read by this author and look forward to what she comes up with next.
Rating (out of 5):
Overall Rating: 4 stars
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween. I’m not really into Halloween or costumes, but if I were, there is really only once choice: EFFIE TRINKET!!
Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.
WHAT I’M READING:
(Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn. I’ve only just started but so far it’s intriguing. The premise is interesting, if a little confusing, and I’m hoping things are better explained as the book goes on.
WHAT I’M READING NEXT
A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay, Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke, Rebel my Amy Tintera, Enders by Lissa Price. These are all books I currently have from the library. I’m not sure which I’m reading next. And since I’m planning on doing NaNoWriMo, I’m not sure I’ll get the chance to read all of them before they expire.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Top New Series I Want To Start. They suggested “New” as in the last year or so, but I think I’m just going to go with series in general. There are some I’ve been meaning to start for awhile.
1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling Yes everyone in the book blogging world has read this series except for me. I saw one of the movies…
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I’ve heard great things about this series and I even own the first book, I just haven’t started it yet.
3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I complained in my review of the last book of the Mortal Instruments series that characters from the Infernal Devices made appearances and I didn’t understand the full impact of it. AND everyone says this series is way, way better than TMI.
4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. Mostly because I like the cover!
5. Jasper Dent by Barry Lyga. I think this book looks really interesting! AND I just realized there’s 3 books already published in the series!
6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I haven’t seen the tv show, but everyone seems to be watching it. I read a review of one of the episodes that compared it to the book and the book actually sounded better (though the show sounded good, too).
7. Firebird by Claudia Gray. Again, the cover!
8. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris. Because I love the fake relationship trope and this book is taking forever to come off the waiting list at the library!
10. Titan by Jennifer Armentrout. Despite the awful cover and my trepidation of it being NA, Seth was probably my favorite character in the Covenant series, so I need to see what happens to him!
WHAT SERIES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO STARTING?
Synopsis from Good Reads:
Her theory of attraction is about to get a new angle…
Spring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.
“Whatever it takes,” however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.
Henry is Spring’s only hope at publication, but he’s also the über-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite. Too bad she can’t help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. As they work on her thesis, Spring finds there’s more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.
Definitely, Maybe in Love is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that proves true love is worth risking a little pride.
I have very recently written a post where I stated I was breaking up with the New Adult genre. And then I saw Definitely, Maybe in Love which is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice! Obviously I couldn’t pass that up. I told myself that I’d start it and if it started going down the semi-erotica trail that most New Adult does, and make Jane Austen roll in her grave, I would DNF it. I’m happy to report that this is a New Adult book that I can support!
This book was very cute. It had a few eye-rolling moments, but overall, just cute. As I said, this a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice and for the most part I think it was really well done. College junior, Spring, is our Elizabeth Bennett. She’s very into the environment and is a little on the hippie/feminist side (I was totally picturing Cosima from Orphan Black).
When her thesis advisor tells her she needs more research from an opposing viewpoint, her new neighbor Henry Knightly (our Mr. Darcy), who is the son of a wealthy land developer, volunteers to help, despite their disastrous first impressions. I was a little afraid the book was going to veer into really political topics, but this aspect of the story was pretty downplayed, thankfully, other than helping provide a cause of conflict between Spring and Henry.
In addition to our Elizabeth and Darcy inspired characters, there’s Henry’s best friend and roommate Dart (Mr. Bingley), who has an awful sister (Caroline Bingley), Spring’s roommate, Julia, who falls for Dart and then gets herself into some trouble (a combination of both Jane and Lydia Bennett), and Alex, Henry’s old high school rival who tells some suspicious stories of the past (Wickham).
There were also some twists on some of the iconic Pride & Prejudice scenes. There’s a party where Spring overhears Henry say unflattering things about her and Julia and Dart instantly hit it off. There’s the letter Henry writes to explain to Spring the real story between him and Alex. There’s Spring showing up at Henry’s childhood home, unaware that he was there. And there was Henry rushing to Julia’s rescue when she’s in a compromising situation with Alex. I loved all of these, but it also made things pretty predictable. There were some parts that I think would have been predictable even if I wasn’t familiar with the original source material.
Overall, I really enjoyed Definitely, Maybe in Love. It was very cute and was a well done re-telling of one of my favorite books. I also very much appreciated that it’s an NA book that isn’t borderline erotica. It still dealt with growing up, future careers, first loves (and all that goes with it), but without going into the crude or graphic. Some NA fans might think it reads more YA than NA, but I’m ok with that. I would definitely recommend it to fans of re-tellings, Jane Austen, and non-graphic NA. The next book in the series, Someday Maybe, is a take on Persuasion, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
Synopsis from Good Reads:
Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
There is actually a lot more going on in this book than the synopsis suggests. The heart of the story centers at Etta’s dress shop, where she can magically enhance her couture dresses to help women accomplish their hopes and dreams. Her granddaughter Cora is a scientist and has little interest in dresses and love. Walt, who runs the book store next to Etta’s shop and moonlights at a local radio station reading books on air, has been in love with Cora almost all his life. Etta decides to work her magic on Walt so he can confess his love to Cora, but since Cora hasn’t received the same magic, it does not go well.
In addition to these three main characters, the book also focuses on Walt’s boss at the radio station, Dylan, Walt’s new girlfriend Milly, a priest named Sebastian who Walt sees for confession, despite not being catholic, Etta’s former lover from 50 years ago, police detective Henry who is investigating the 20 year old case of Cora’s parents death, and his ex-wife Francesca. There are a lot of loosely connected threads that binds them altogether. While it could be difficult to keep up with all the characters and their storylines, I think Van Praag pulls it off.
Though she’s the main character, I didn’t really care for Cora. She had completely repressed memories of her parents and closed off her heart until Etta’s sewing magic helps her remember the past and start to notice Walt. I found her un-relatable and it wasn’t really until the very end of the book that I began to find her at all likable. However, I did like her grandmother Etta, and Henry, the detective. Though I didn’t at first the appreciate the extra storyline involving Henry, he ended up being my favorite part of the book.
Overall, I mostly enjoyed The Dress Shop of Dreams. It has a unique concept with a wide variety of characters, though I wished some of them had been a little more developed. I felt the multiple storylines worked, having a bit of a Love Actually vibe. At times it didn’t always hold my attention, but I think fans of contemporary and magic would enjoy it.
Rating (out of 5):
Overall Rating: 3.125 Stars