Review: The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen

The Wishing Thread

The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen
Read: September 17, 2013
Advance reading copy.

Many thanks to Net-Galley and Random House Publishing (Ballantine) for providing me with this advance reading copy!

Goodreads Book Blurb: The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.
When the Stitchery matriarch, Mariah, dies, she leaves the yarn shop to her three nieces. Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community, though her sisters have long stayed away. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has always been skeptical of magic and wants her children to have a normal, nonmagical life. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Now, after Mariah’s death forces a reunion, the sisters must reassess the state of their lives even as they decide the fate of the Stitchery. But their relationships with one another—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold?

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book, as evident by the fact that I read it in its 400 page entirety in one day. It reminded me a lot of Sarah Addison Allen, and I actually thought the two authors might be related.

This book is a delightful romp through Tarrytown, New York steeped in magical realism and knitting. We follow three sisters and are immersed in their relationships with each other and those around them. I really loved how multi-faceted the sisters were, and their relationships reminded me a bit of the sisters in Practical Magic. (The movie. I haven’t read the book yet)

One thing about the characters is that because we spent so much time learning about the different characters, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to any one of the sisters. Another thing plot-wise was that I didn’t find myself caring much about the town council plot line. I wanted to know more about The Stitchery and the sisters.

The prose was well written, but light. I think this really helped the story, since it is such a light and warm story. Pretentious or purple prose would have ruined it beyond repair.

Bottom Line: I feel bad because I read this book long enough ago that I don’t remember everything I loved about it. But I remember that I liked it a lot.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things I Need In My Life

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s topic? Top ten bookish things I need to own right the heck now! (Once again, I have taken some liberties with the topic to suit my mood, which is a little goofy…)

bookthumbprint
This is a custom book thumbprint made from your own thumbprint and titles of books you love. HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?
You can purchase it from Etsy >>HERE<

Lumio_Two_UP_ON
This is a book shaped light. It is rechargeable, portable, uses LED lights and FSC certified wood.
Made by Lumio, and can be purchased >>HERE<<

tote
Every book lover needs a bag to haul their books. And what better bag than one that proclaims your love for reading?
This particular tote can be found >>HERE<<

homelibrary
OK, this isn’t something I can just go out and buy like a bag or a bookmark. But it is still something I covet. I need a home library. Right now, I don’t have enough space to have one in my apartment, but when my husband and I buy a house, it is high on my list of priorities. Included with said library will be a reading nook, and hopefully a hidden bookcase door.
See more amazing home library pictures here, here, here, and here.

bookplates
OK, let’s be honest here. As one book lover to another. You are always lending your books out, right? Me too. This is why I would love some personalized bookplates to put in my favourites so I know I will get them back!
These particular ones are cute and modern, and are sold from Etsy >>HERE<<

necklace
All you have to do is search for “book necklace” on Etsy and you get a plethora of adorable options. However this one speaks to me, because I am always reading and drinking tea.
You can purchase it >>HERE<<

Print
For bookworms and Harry Potter fans alike, you can’t go wrong with this t-shirt. I needs it, precious!
You can buy it >>HERE<<

bookclutch
I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t covet a book clutch. You can make them yourself if you are crafty, or you can buy them from a plethora of places.
This one is made from The Wizard of Oz and can be purchased >>HERE<<

book-journal
A book journal is like, the perfect marriage of all the things I need and adore. I love Moleskine books, and this happens to be made by them. Drooling already. Then there is the fact that I can be very scatterbrained and having something to write my points down immediately following a reading so I can make a more in-depth review later? DEAL!
Moleskine sells this amazing invention >>HERE<<

oil
OK, I can HEAR you trying to figure out what this last picture is supposed to be. As you may or may not know, I collect perfume oils in addition to books. There are quite a few that even smell bookish! I have tried some of them, but I don’t have large bottles of them. So here are links to some of the ones I know of… (this is just a small sampling, if you want to know more options, please leave a comment)
BPAL – Dee
BPAL – The Book
BPAL – Miskatonic University
Delightful Rot – Harry Potter set
Delightful Rot – Game of Thrones set
Conjure Oils – October Daye collection
Violette Market – Library of Alexandria

So, dear followers… what kind of bookish things do you need in your life? Are there things on my list that you have wanted? Things you never thought of? Link me up to your TTT!

Review: When Stars Die by Amber Skye Forbes

When Stars Die

When Stars Die by Amber Skye Forbes
Read: September 7 – September 9, 2013
Advance reading copy.

Many thanks to Amber Skye Forbes, whom I follow on Tumblr. She provided this review copy in exchange for an honest review. I don’t normally review Amazon-only books, but I did this time, as Amber is something of a friend.

Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Price: $3.99
Format: Amazon e-book

Goodreads Book Blurb:  “Yet, even when stars die, they leave a lasting impact through their light, their diamond brilliance as they scatter their material to form new stars. When people die, they leave the same impact with the footprints they leave on people’s hearts. Even the ones who feel insignificant go out, leaving behind dust that can nourish the world anew.”

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

My Opinion: Ok, I really agonized over writing this review. Amber is, as I mentioned, something of a friend. We were following each others’ personal Tumblrs long before she was working on releasing When Stars Die. I read the book, and then I was confronted with a very serious concern. How do you tell a friend that you didn’t like their book?

I offered not to publish the review, but Amber, being an awesome person and very reasonable author, recognized that not all of her reviews would be positive and encouraged me to go ahead. And then I got really sick and in a bit of a blog slump, so I am only NOW writing the review. I am SO sorry it took so long, but here we go.

There wasn’t much that I liked about When Stars Die, unfortunately. I really wanted to like the book, but there were just too many things that rubbed me the wrong way, as a reader.

The few things I did like? The setting was every well flushed out. The world had a very interesting premise, if it was a little religiously heavy-handed for my tastes. Amber’s prose, I found, tended to be a little on the purple side. But there were a few phrases that just shimmered and made me think that with more polish and more writing, the prose could be taken from where it is, which for me was a bit of a hot mess, to something elevated.

And now, the things I didn’t like.

Amelia was not a likeable character for me, at all. Her motives change partway through the book. First she wants to stay at Cathedral Reims for her little brother, but then she wants to stay for herself all of a sudden. It would be an OK shift if it didn’t happen in the span of a page or two.

The other big issue for me was that the style and even some of the phrasing was very modern, yet the book is set in the 1800’s. In that time, they wouldn’t have known what happens to stars when they supernova, or that most of the stars in the night sky are actually dead. They wouldn’t be using matches, which weren’t invented until the mid 1800’s in reality, not to mention when they became used widely.

Adding the above two notes to the general unpolished state of the prose, and I had a hard time finishing the book.

Bottom Line: A really great book in theory, but lacking the polish and execution to take it to the necessary level.

It’s Been a While…

But I don’t need to tell YOU that it has been forever since I blogged. My health has been up and down, of course, and then I hit a bit of a blogging slump where I just… couldn’t bother to blog about books. I have still been reading of course, but I felt like my opinions were so insignificant and why bother posting?

However, I seem to be over that slump, and I am SO eager to get back into book blogging, both here and on my Tumblr.

How has 2014 been so far for you, my lovely followers?

Top Ten Tuesday: Bring on 2014!

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s topic? The top books I read in 2013. I read a lot of books (127) so I need to figure out which ones I liked the most, and why. This might take a while… As always, in no particular order.

Gone GirlShades of GreyThe Painted GirlsLife DisruptedWool

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I totally jumped on the bandwagon by reading this one, but I am glad I did. I loved it. It was a twisty-turny mystery, and I am enjoying other reads by her as well.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde – A truly original and imaginative (though believable) dystopian society, reminiscent of The Giver. I loved this book, even though ever time I told someone I was reading it, I had to say “No, not 50 Shades of Gray

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan – A Canadian author who took my breath away with her stunning historical fiction. I eagerly await more from Miss Buchanan and I think The Painted Girls will be a book I will re-read over and over again.

Life Disrupted by Laurie Edwards – A little more personal, and a non-fiction book to boot. My health has been horrible this year and this book has helped me deal. It is about being chronically ill in your 20′s and how that changes things. Because man, does it change things. I recommend this book to EVERYONE who is struggling with a chronic illness.

Wool, Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey – Hands down the best dystopian I have read in a long time, and probably the best I will read in a long time. I have the second omnibus, and I am thinking it will be read soon.

Silver Metal LoverLooking for AlaskaJust One DayThe Girl Who CircumnavigatedLies of Locke Lamora

The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee – I normally hate romance stories, because they don’t read true to me. No one writes about the fights, or the stupid little things. But Tanith Lee did. And it is about a romance between a girl and a robot, which is both super odd and really cool.

Looking for Alaska by John Green – While I haven’t read everything by Mr. Green, I have read this and his arguably more popular The Fault In Our Stars. While TFiOS hit me on a “I am sick and I get this” level, I just loved Looking For Alaska more for some reason. It gave me a book hangover. I had to step back and re-evaluate things in my life. I didn’t even cry at the end of TFiOS.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman – OK, while I was reading this, part of me was like “Who goes to Paris with someone she doesn’t even KNOW?!”. And then the other part of my brain bludgeoned the first part with a bat and was taken along for an enjoyable ride. Something in the writing? I don’t even know. All I know is I am desperate to read Just One Year.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – I kept trying to describe this book to people. It is hard. It is a kid’s book, but it isn’t. The prose is so achingly beautiful, I kept feeling like it would be lost on children. But then I thought maybe it was actually lost on adults.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – Want a snarky hero who is about to step in it? This is the book for you! I loved this book on many levels, from how certain everyone is that Locke is going to screw up in a monumental way to the cast of characters. It is quite a ride, and while it isn’t without some flaws, I heartily recommend it for the fantasy lover who doesn’t mind profanity.

So, what books did you read this year that you just LOVED? Comment below or link me to your top ten!

Happy New Year!

Top Ten Tuesday: Santa Baby

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s top ten is special to me, because I don’t think I will be getting any books for Christmas. Usually I get a ton, but we changed the way we did Christmas this year. Since my parents tend to go a wee bit overboard, we put a gift limit. One gift per person or per couple. So that meant no one wanted to “waste” their one gift to me on a book, even though that would have tickled my fancy just fine. We have already celebrated family Christmas. Tomorrow will just be hubby and me, so we will see if he gives me a book or two. As always, in no particular order…

Stolen Immortal Rules Ocean at the End of the Lane Etiquette & Espionage Bellman & Black

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Just One Year Speak Fangirl Mothership Memory of Light

Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neil
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson

So, what do you want Santa to bring you in the way of books this year? Comment or link me to your top ten!