Tag: YA

What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

What the Woods Keep
Author:
Katya de Becerra

Published: September 18, 2018
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

Kim’s Review:

This was an odd read. I spent most of the book trying to figure out if I kissed something and the other half trying to understand what was happening. There was a lot of science and mythology, which you wouldn’t think were comparable … but in this case, apparently so! I just felt so confused the whole time. I’m not a physics person, but thanks to Star Trek, I’m a understanding layman. But then adding Norse mythology and magic into it, I’m still not sure what happened. There were some cool fantasy elements and the world building, outside of reality, was pretty cool. Hayden’s daddy issues seemed a bit childish in the face of saving the world.

Overall, it was eh. I think I would have liked it better if Becerra had given a little more exposure to the Norse Mythology, but it was still ok. I’m glad I read it … but I probably won’t read it again.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

Blood Red, Snow White
Author: 
Marcus Sedgwick

Published: July 1, 2007
304 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

There never was a story that was happy through and through.

When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his unhappy marriage in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously, romantically entangled with Trotsky’s personal secretary.

Both sides seek to use Arthur to gather and relay information for their own purposes . . . and both grow to suspect him of being a double agent. Arthur wants only to elope far from conflict with his beloved, but her Russian ties make leaving the country nearly impossible. And the more Arthur resists becoming a pawn, the more entrenched in the game he seems to become.

Blood Red Snow White, a Soviet-era thriller from renowned author Marcus Sedgwick, is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Kim’s Review:

This was another random find from Ollie’s! It’s about Russia, did you really expect me to pass it up? The problem is that I wished I liked it better. It gave good perspective on the Russian Revolution, which I liked! It’s hard to remember that the players in history were just people too and Sedgwick did a great job of reminding me of that. Trotsky was an idealist and he was willing to chase those ideals no matter where it took him. I also enjoyed the espionage that other countries employed throughout the whole affair. The twists and turns of the spies were interesting and engaging.

What’s sad is that I wasn’t all that fond of the main character, Arthur Ransome. I didn’t like his personal traits and he seemed far too reluctant and innocent of the world to take any part in espionage at all. He left his wife and child for selfish reasons and continued that selfishness throughout the whole book. I just didn’t like him. And the main thing that brought this book down for me was the blurred line between fairytale and history. Some authors can weave storytelling through history and do it successfully. Sedgwick didn’t do that. It felt like such a naive way of viewing history! If fairytales are used to educate the young, then these failed because I believed they confused the issues. But perhaps that’s simply because I’m a historian!

I’m glad I read it, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again. I would recommend this to very specific readers and really only out of curiosity than anything. It’s the kind of book I’d rather sit and discuss that read in its entirety.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: Hawthorne & Heathcliff by R.K. Ryals

Hawthorne & Heathcliff
Author: R.K. Ryals
Published:  August 2, 2015

425 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 14-24, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars     

Book Description:

Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.

Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.

Until she meets his shoe.

Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.

His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.

Jessica’s Review:

Hawthorne & Heathcliff is not my usual genre as it is romance.  In fact the only reason I picked it up was because it was my friend Beccie’s top read in 2019. But I am so glad I did pick it up as it is so much more than a teenage romance!  (Thankfully there was no love triangle as Beccie does not like those!) There is a very special relationship that Hawthorne has with her uncle which struck a chord with me.  This is also a novel where the characters grow over the entire story. 

Hawthorne (Clare) and Heathcliff (Max) meet in class in school and gradually their shoes get closer to each other until they connect and eventually a speical romance begins. Shoes are also very important to the novel: You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. Shoes hold the secrets that are not hidden and are in plain sight.

There are a variety of emotions that will be felt while reading, which may or may not include crying.  I expected myself to cry as this is a novel that also deals with grief , and if you are currently experiencing this emotion, I will say that yes, you will cry. 

If you are a reader of YA, first love, second chances and emotional reads I say pick up Hawthorne & Heathcliff!  You will be glad you did.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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