Summary: When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request – that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos – seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.
At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think. (from www.amazon.com)
Thoughts: I enjoy historical fiction and mysteries. Traveling between decades can sometimes be confusing but the author very smoothly accomplishes this in the book. I also enjoy when old items come to life in stories which makes for an exciting read!
First line: Two nights before she was sent to the Wolf, Red wore a dress the color of blood.
Summary: The Second Daughter of the kingdom of Valleyda is destined for the Wolf. It has been a century since a sacrifice has been made but now it is Red’s destiny to enter the Wilderwood. She has known her whole life what would happen on her twentieth birthday but nothing prepared her for what happened once she entered the forest.
Her sister, Neve, is determined to find her sister and rescue her from the Wilderwood and the Wolf. She befriends a priestess who says she knows a way to make it happen. Will they be able to save Red from the dark woods?
My Thoughts: I was really excited about this book. I remember hearing about it months ago and thinking it was the perfect book for me. I really enjoyed the first few chapters and thought that I would love the rest of the book. But as the story progressed I became bored with the whole plot line and the characters. And then I saw it was going to be a series which made me less invested in reading it. The one thing I really liked about Uprooted, which this was compared to, is the fact that it is a stand-alone novel.
Summary: The Ritual of Purity is the day that young girls enter womanhood. Deka has always been different from the others in her tribe but she hopes that the ritual will redeem her in their eyes. But on the day, her blood runs gold rather than red, marking her as impure. She is imprisoned by the village elders.
After weeks of torture, a strange woman arrives and takes her to join a group of girls just like Deka. She learns that she is alaki, near immortal with special gifts. The girls are trained to fight and kill Deathshrieks, a creature that attacks and kills the people of Otera. As she trains she finds friendships but also starts to question everything that she grew up learning.
My Thoughts: The cover immediately caught my attention. It is stunning. Gorgeous colors that bring to life the West African feel of the story. The magic system, the different characters and the creatures were all wonderfully done. Even though many of the themes were typical of the young adult fantasy novel the details made it different. I was intrigued by the way Deka could heal, her powers and her backstory (once we learn more about it at the end).
I did find that parts seemed rushed. Especially the training at the beginning and the battle at the end. Everything happened so fast with very little build up. Part of me liked not having it drawn out but also it seemed to suddenly be over too. I had to sit and think about the big reveals at the end because there was a lot of information dumped in but once I figured out everything it was a great twist. Even though the book seemed to end without a cliffhanger there are at least 2 more books planned.
First line: Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke.
Summary: Alex and Suzette are the parents of a beautiful seven-year-old girl named Hanna. With her father she is his sweet little girl. For her mother she is complete opposite. After having been expelled from several schools in the last few years Suzette has had to home school Hanna but as the months pass the tension between mother and daughter continues to escalate. Suzette truly does love her child but she also fears her a little bit. Whenever she tells Alex about Hanna’s behavior he thinks she is overreacting. How can his perfect little angel be as bad as Suzette says?
My Thoughts: There is something truly wrong with
this child. I could not decide between a 4 or 5 star rating mainly
because I did not know if I could say I loved a book about such a scary
little girl. I was completely terrified of her. Even though I was
cringing and shocked by the events of the story I could not stop
In alternating chapters we see the perspectives of
Hanna and Suzette. I kept telling Suzette (in my head of course) to
leave. Just leave. How can a person live in a house with a child who
seems to want to kill her mother? Suzette though tries everything she
can think of to try and help her child. I think what makes it even
scarier is that Hanna does not speak. She cannot or will not tell her
parents what is bothering her.
FYI: Not for the faint of heart. I have to say that I had to put this down several times in order to breathe a bit.