Finished Books: Heartstone

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

  • Published: 2017
  • Pages: 352

Link to Goodreads summary

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Advertised as Pride and Prejudice with dragons, I felt I needed to read this book.  I am not a purist, nor have I read all of Jane Austen’s works, but as a late-comer to her stories (I only read Pride and Prejudice a few years ago), I feel being older really helped me understand and enjoy P&P with the wisdom that comes with a little bit of age.

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, White interweaves unmistakeable elements from the original into a fantasy world on the brink of war with giant monsters.  Many fundamental details remain intact, so fans of the original will follow along merrily, knowing approximately what is going to happen.  Yet there are enough differences that set the world apart (dragons, anyone?), that readers who have never read the original will feel drawn into the realm that White creates.

Rating: 3 stars

 

Finished Books: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

  • Published: 2012 (Large Print published 2015)
  • Pages: 477 (Large Print version)

Link to Goodreads summary

22779179This enthralling novel had me from the first page.  An old curmudgeon, Ove, was berating the employees while trying to purchase a computer.  It wasn’t the scene that absorbed me, though.  It was the language the author used.  Fredrik Backman has a knack for picking out a character’s idiosyncrasies and turning a phrase around it which consistently strikes my funny bone.  From Ove to Parvaneh & Patrick to Anita & Rune and all the others, Backman created quirky characters whose lives will warm your heart.  This introduction to the Swedish author makes me want to read everything else he has written.

Rating: 4 stars

 

Finished Books: Let Me Die in His Footsteps

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy

  • Published: 2015
  • Pages: 327

Link to Goodreads summary

23398925I will admit to not having read enough mystery novels that were not part of a series.  I’m familiar with police procedurals, cozy mysteries, amateur detectives, and many of the typical tropes associated with the mystery genre in general.  Those books were all part of my comfort reads until recently.  So when I read Let Me Die in His Footsteps, the winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2016, I was perplexed.  Primarily by my own ignorance.  Why haven’t I read more stand-alone mystery novels?

The plot unfolded gradually, much like a slow summer afternoon in Kentucky, the setting of our story.  Roy’s descriptions of the atmosphere evoked images of dusty roads and hazy skies.  Switching back and forth a generation in time, the story emerges from Sarah’s and Annie’s narrations.  The reader finds out the intricacies of the relationships between characters through the eyes of those two girls: their sisters, their families, their friends, their neighbors, and the townsfolk.

While I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, gripped with terror or filled with suspense as the story climaxed, curiosity about the accuracy of my hunches kept me reading, wanting to find out how it ended.  Readers who like a deliberately paced story, and don’t mind shifting time frames, will enjoy discovering the family and neighbor dynamics of this sleepy Kentucky town.  Not solely for mystery fans, but perfect for fans of general fiction as well.

Rating: 3 stars

 

Finished Books: Ginny Moon

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

  • Published: 2017
  • Pages: 362 (e-ARC)

33664768Link to Goodreads summary

Ginny Moon is an unconventional main character, to say the least.  She is a girl with autism who has recently been adopted into her Forever Home, but she cannot stop trying to get back to her Baby Doll to make sure she is okay.  She schemes to find ways to contact and reconnect with her abusive birth mother, Gloria, by lying to and deceiving those who care about her.  Her actions frighten her Forever parents, causing tension in her home environment and making her feel like she doesn’t belong anywhere.

Ginny’s exceptional way of narrating her own story will keep readers captivated.  She tells things like it is, or how it is to her, which is probably not how it is to the majority of us.  She draws the reader deep into her mind with her, explaining her reasoning (she keeps her mouth shut so that she doesn’t tell any lies; she can’t answer someone if they ask more than one question at a time).  Readers will cheer when she stands up for herself and cringe when she unintentionally sabotages her plans.  She is curious and caring, cautious and clever.  A unique story told through the eyes of a young girl trying to navigate life with a new family while being drawn back to her old family.

Rating: 4 stars

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required.*