This week Kim reviews the Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray. She liked it and recommends this series to anyone who enjoys Fantasy and Historical Fiction. This is also YA, and teens will be teens and sometimes we know what Kim thinks of teens in these books by now! 😉
Author: Libba Bray
Books in the Series:
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Sweet Far Thing
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s rating of the series: 4 Stars
Description from Amazon:
A Great and Terrible Beauty: It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?
Rebel Angels: Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy—spending time with her friends in the city, attending balls in fancy gowns with plunging necklines, and dallying with the handsome Lord Denby. Yet amid these distractions, her visions intensify—visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened that only the realms can explain. The lure is strong, and soon Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world that Gemma takes them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship. But all is not well in the realms—or out. Kartik is back, desperately insisting to Gemma that she must bind the magic, lest colossal disaster befall her. Gemma is willing to comply, for this would bring her face-to-face with her late mother’s greatest friend, now Gemma’s foe—Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task. . . .
The Sweet Far Thing: It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds. The Order—the mysterious group her mother was once part of—is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.
I read the whole series! And the third book is like 800 pages! I did enjoy these books. The story was unique, and I like some of the characters. The sad thing about this series is that I hate all the main characters. Gemma is like grass in the wind. No matter what her gut or her brain tells her, even when she knows that something is wrong, even when she knows the right way is the complete other direction, she lets everyone else dictate what she does. Her friends can easily manipulate her. The people that she should respect and listen to are ignored completely and often scorned, but whenever her friends start whining, she lets them have and do whatever they want.
Felicity and Pippa are nothing but spoiled brats who see Gemma as someone to use and manipulate and that never changes. Ann is nothing but a whining doormat. Whoever decided to gift these girls with magic and the fate of the realms needs to have his/her/its head examined. Thankfully there are other characters that I like much better, who saved the story for me. Kartik is my favorite! He stays steady and consistent throughout the whole series. Although his loyalties do shift, he never waivers. Mother Elena and Brigid are sweet women who genuinely care about the people around them. Even Circe is a consistent character that I ended up respecting by the end! The story itself is very intriguing.
Unfortunately, it went far too long because just when Gemma figures out what needs to be done, the other girls convince her to wait and do something completely unnecessary for another 30 pages. I think there is a lot that could be shaved down. I do like the subplot of true feminism. That girls shouldn’t be viewed as pretty breeding stock, but as people who are capable of thinking and providing for themselves. There is real sexism in these books and Bray does a great job of using the characters to fight against it. Overall, this is an interesting series that I would recommend to anyone who likes Fantasy and to some who like Historical Fiction.
This week Kim reviews the How to Hang a Witch series by Adriana Mather. With Halloween this month, this was the perfect time for these books to be read and reviewed. This looks to be a series that I would enjoy!
Author: Adriana Mather
Books in the Series:
How to Hang a Witch
Haunting the Deep
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s rating of the series: 4 Stars
Description from Amazon:
How to Hang a Witch: Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were? If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
Haunting the Deep: Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one. This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship. Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.
I really liked this series! I saw the book trailer for How to Hang a Witch and thought it was going to be a movie! Yeah stupid me still falls for book and fan made trailers! But, I still thought the story sounded really cool so I bought the book! I loved it! There’s so much history weaved through all the fiction in such a fascinating way! And strangely enough, the high school drama didn’t bother me. Mather managed to make everything bigger than just a retelling of Mean Girls. The stakes were life and death so the problems have intention behind them. The mystery and magic were compelling and even when I read it for the second time, it held me till the very end!
My main issue with this book is Elijah. And I love Elijah, that’s what makes me so sad!! I’ve said it before that I dislike love triangles . . . very much hate them! And of course, in walks Samantha Mather and 2 guys automatically go after her!
*****Ok, SPOILER ALERT! He is dead!!! It can’t work!! Why not go for the nice, happy, alive dude??? Thankfully, the relationship is explained a little more in Haunting the Deep, but c’mon!!!! End of Spoiler***** Alright, I’m done. Aside from the triangle, I actually really loved this book.
Haunting the Deep is a very unique book, in a really good way! I’ve never read anything like it. Sure, there are books about the Titanic, but nothing about the spirits of the people who died being stuck there forever! And to make myself feel better, I’ll say that I did get a blurp of awareness about who’s behind it all. It was a little blurp, but it was there! Mather kept the mystery going and had me hooked and questioning the whole time. The reason I gave this book 4 stars is because of the hint of politics she slipped in. I don’t want to hear about “white privilege” when 1. I don’t believe in it, and 2. the entire dang cast is white!! Why the self-sabotage???? However, I did like the characters better in this book. I like it a whole lot better when everyone is on the same side and being friends. And Mrs. Meriwether is my hero. Can someone open a Sugar Spells Bakery in my town? Seriously, my new goal is to try to make all the things that Mrs. Meriwether made in these two books. I recommend this series to anyone who loves historical fiction. I also believe these books are safe for readers of all ages, barely any language at all.[Top]
This week’s First Line Friday is another Kim suggestion!
Walter the cook killed himself in his little bedroom downstairs, just a few hours after saying good-night.
Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.
When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.[Top]