If you watched Kim’s monthly video summary yesterday you saw her struggle to remember a book she once reviewed on Bookies. The book was The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. Kim reviewed this in May of 2016 which was long before Jessica’s Reading Room was even a thought. This would be Kim’s first review and we thought we would share this with you guys today. There is no star rating for this one as this was before Kim was reviewing; but it sounds like a 5 star review to me….
Author: Leslye Walton
Published: March 25, 2014
Reviewed By: Kim
Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava — in all other ways a normal girl — is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naive to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the summer solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
I have a thing for birds. My favorite poem is Emily Dickenson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers.” I plan on decorating my library with birds and feathers, everywhere! So when I saw The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, I knew that I had to read it!! And I have to begin this review by talking about the cover:
I bought this book and was so excited to read it and when I sat down to begin, I just couldn’t. Not until I took in the absolutely stunning cover!! Look I love nice looking books as much as the next person! I love getting hardbacks simply because they look beautiful on the shelf. But dude!! This cover? This cover resonated with me in ways that I have a hard time describing!! I spent 10 minutes just caressing it! I couldn’t open it because then there would be a crease! The colors, the sparkles, the feel under my fingers!! I had a nerdgasm just sitting there, without even opening it!
Ok, so I was super excited to read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, I geeked out over the cover, and then I opened it and started reading. She was born Ava Wilhemina Lavender. Holy Crap. Have you ever heard such an amazing name??? I immediately sent a text to my husband to let him know that our first daughter would be named Ava Wihemina Lavender Friant. I was hooked and in love! Emilienne Adou Solange Roux, Beauregard Roux, Margaux, Pierette, Connor Lavender, Widow Marigold Pie, Viviane Lavender . . . another nerdgasm! I’m not sure what world these people live in, but I’d like to live there, permanently!
And get this, Miss Ava Wilhemina Lavender was born with wings. Wings! Feathered, “slight physical abnormality,” speckled wings! Leslye was writing for me! So I kept reading. And reading. And reading some more! I was launched into a family filled with the lovely sorrows that you find in Shakespeare plays! They were too beautiful to even be called sorrows! I was suddenly aware of how permanent regret can be when life takes you in different directions. Lost loves, broken hearts, broken wings, manipulation, exploitation . . . it all takes place in the small world of the Roux/Lavender family.
If I could give you more of the story without giving away details that should only be read by one for the first time, then I would! I can just tell you that it’s a wonderful read! It’s not an action packed book, it’s not a thriller. It’s a beautiful record of sadness, of regret, of redemption, and of learning to let go and fly!
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Published: March 22, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened?
Someone is lying.
I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t get this book. Y’all know that I’m a pretty shallow person and it’s easy for me to miss deep stuff, and I think I may have missed some stuff in this book. I enjoyed reading it, and I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended, which is why I gave it 4 stars. I think this was about a girl who got lost in fairy tales and couldn’t live in reality. Add in some teenager drama, some romance, some mystery, and you have Wink Poppy Midnight. And this is another one of those books that I can’t give much info because then I’ll give away too much. I would suggest going into this book with very little info, the way I suggested to read an E. Lockhart book.
So, I’ll just say that I did enjoy reading it, I may not have “gotten it” but it was an interesting read. I also liked Midnight. He’s a smart kid who, I believe, will mature into a smart adult. There is some language and some adult themes, but nothing too graphic, so I’d say this is safe to read for older teens. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a different read. It was easy, but it was just different.
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Published: March 6, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo or save herself.
Another gorgeous cover . . . that shines!! It drew me in and then after reading the description, I wanted to read it! I ended up taking it to Italy and read it there. I did enjoy this book. There was a little bit of teenage idiocy that kept me from giving it 5 stars, but thankfully not enough to ruin the story.
I liked the historical factor. Certain areas of the northwest coast of the US just lend themselves to mystery and superstition and I find that fascinating! The setting was awesome! Lumiere Island sounds like a place that I’d love to hold up on for the entire summer with a full kitchen and several piles of books.
The Swan sisters are definitely not my favorite characters to ever be written. In fact, I like that they are considered the villains so I could hate them. They’re slutty and nasty! Overall, it’s a simple story, but original, and I liked who I was supposed to like, disliked who I was supposed to dislike . . . a good story with good characters in a good setting. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy with a touch of history. I would save this for older teens due to some language.