So, this week my 6-year-old daughter has been home from school sick every day and will be home the rest of the week, and we’ve had a lot of fun reading together (we finished reading L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, yay!), playing kid’s Scrabble, and cuddling and watching movies. Her being home has changed some of my reading and book reviewing plans for the week, but that’s what being a mom is all about, and I’ve enjoyed our special, extra time when no one else has been home to squeeze in on our all girl’s fun.
Anyway, my goal in May was to write reviews for every single book I read during the month of May and post them to my blog in May too! I was almost successful, and I’ve written a review for every single book I read in May except for Marlena, Silence Fallen, and Three Sisters, Three Queens (I did read The Lying Game in May, and my review will be up on Friday, but that was the date I agreed to post with the publisher).
Spending time with my baby girl has been so worth it this week, but I still want to squeeze in the last of my May reads book reviews before June (I can’t believe that is tomorrow!), so I decided the easiest way for me to do that was to write mini-reviews for Marlena and Silence Fallen and put both in one post! Three Sisters, Three Queens is such an enormous book, and I honestly am still pondering that one, so it will need an entire review at an unknown later time!
Actually, after writing mini-reviews for these two books, I’ve decided that depending on the book, I’m going to start doing mini-reviews on some of the other books I read from now on—I might do it once a week after I’ve read my weekly haul or once a month. I’ll see what works best for me! Since I’m having a quick inpatient surgery next week on the 6th and then go on vacation for 2 weeks on the 10th, mini reviews might be the perfect way to keep my reviews going since I plan on reading a ton while recouping and on holiday!! 🙂
One last thing: today, I realized it’s only been 24 days since I posted my very first book review on my blog, but it feels like it’s been so much longer! I want to thank all of you who have started following me over the last 3 weeks; it’s been great getting to know all of you, and I can’t thank all of you enough! I can’t wait to get to know you better, and meet more new people over the coming months!
Okay…on to my mini-reviews:
Book Title and Author: Marlena by Julie Buntin
Publication date and Publisher: April 4th, 2017 by Henry Holt and Co
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Adult
Pages: 288 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: 5/19/17
An electric debut novel about love, addiction, and loss; the story of two girls and the feral year that will cost one her life, and define the other’s for decades
Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbor, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena’s orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blond hair. As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts—first drink, first cigarette, first kiss—while Marlena’s habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.
Alive with an urgent, unshakable tenderness, Julie Buntin’s Marlena is an unforgettable look at the people who shape us beyond reason and the ways it might be possible to pull oneself back from the brink.
Marlena is the exceptional debut novel by Julie Buntin. I was highly impressed with the narrative that Buntin creates as she weaves a tale about two teenage girls, Marlena and Cat, and the emotional friendship they form.
I must admit that when I first started reading the book that I wasn’t sure what to think or even if I was going to like it—but that was just after reading the first chapter or two. After that, I was completely pulled in by Buntin’s powerful plot and excellent characters—and even if you dislike some of the characters in the book, Buntin has fleshed them out so perfectly that they seem like flesh and blood people. I really began to care about young Cat and Marlena and the really wild and utterly stupid choices they were making.
It’s no secret from the synopsis that teenage Marlena dies, but this is not a mystery novel by any means. Nor is it a book solely about the cause of Marlena’s death but of course Buntin addresses that, and the why is important. Marlena is a coming of age novel, but it is so much more. What Marlena is really about is the raw and gritty emotional attachments that last a lifetime—attachments that made me utterly empathize with adult Cat and every one of her teenage regrets and decisions. You strongly care about Cat as her past profoundly affects her present life. As Cat tells us their story through flashbacks, it is a dark and evocative journey, and we, the reader, share in Cat’s struggles against the demons leftover from her loss of Marlena. I think we’ve all as adults looked back on our pasts and reflected on mistake or decisions we made when we were younger or reflected on how our pasts friendships deeply influence our present somehow, and Buntin wondrously captures all those consequences with great emotion and powerful storytelling, so this book felt very relatable in many ways.
Buntin is a talent to watch for the future, and Marlena is a riveting read.
Book Title and Author: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
Publication date and Publisher: March 7, 2017 by Ace Books
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 371 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: 5/25/17
In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…
Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…
I’m just going to immediately say off the bat that Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite characters, and this is one of my favorite series of fantasy books. I’ve been reading them religiously for a decade and although this is the 10th book in the series, Briggs is going strong with all the characters in the book. I think this might just be one of the best books in the series.
One thing I enjoyed about Silence Fallen was that Briggs leaves the fae storyline that she has been relying on for several books behind and focuses on her vampire characters (which means Stefan appears quite a bit in the story). Briggs’s vampires are for the most part pure evil, but they are fun in a wicked way. And of course, Mercy’s husband Adam and several of their werewolf pack play a prominent role in this very intricately plotted storyline along with a major surprise character that I did not figure out at all and happily…shall I say giddily surprised me the last few pages! I’m really not sure how I missed the clues looking back now…
Another great thing about the book is that the setting takes place outside of the Tri-Cities since Mercy is kidnapped, and Mercy ends up in Milan and Prague. Having visited both cities before, I thought that Briggs did an outstanding job writing about the two city’s culture, especially Prague since that was primarily where the story takes place.
“I’m a mechanic; I fix things that are broken. I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote. I have powerful friends. But when it comes right down to it, my real superpower is chaos.” -Mercy”
Once again, Mercy underestimates herself and is completely underestimated by her kidnappers and those who wish to harm her, and it is fun to see Mercy defending and slaying her enemies. Her pack bond is broken, she doesn’t know when/if Adam is coming for her, but she proves time and time again, just like in Briggs’s earlier books, that she is more than capable of defending herself. After all, she is Coyote’s daughter, and Mercy brings more than chaos to the table. Mercy is a dynamic little force that I personally wouldn’t want to go up against!
I absolutely loved this book, as you can tell by the 5 stars I gave it, and I could read it again! I probably will one day! Fantastic read!