August Book Reviews

August Book Reviews

Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski 4/5 Stars
I love a modern retelling of a classic tale, especially if it is made more real or gritty. I didn’t love Holly, Wendy’s granddaughter, or her mother, Jane, but I did like the uniqueness of the rest of the characters and story. There are a few things at the end that are conveniently, magically “fixed” that seemed like an easy way out for the author. I think this would have been a great book to do multiple points of view in and would have liked to see more from Eden and Bell. It is left open enough for another book but I think an epilogue would be a better fit.
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories by Fanny Singer 4/5 Stars
This book is difficult for me to digest. I did enjoy reading it and it was interesting reading (okay, listening. The audiobook is read by Fanny and she does a wonderful job) about someone’s life that is so different from my own. I get why people wouldn’t like this book and I feel it is for a very narrow audience: firstly for Fanny’s family and friends, secondly for anyone with an interest in her mom, Alice Waters. I don’t think anyone outside of these two categories would have an interest in or appreciate this book. If you remove her mom from the picture, Fanny is a very well educated, west coast born-and-raised millennial from an affluent family. Her upbringing was so different from my own that I would have actually liked to read more about her life that didn’t revolve around her mom, as almost all of the stories in this book do. The vocabulary used is quite extensive and pretentious (I’ll admit I’m jealous and would have looked up several words if I was able to while listening to the audiobook). This book really felt most like something for someone looking for more insight into Alice Waters. The more I try to review the book the more I feel I should lower my rating, so I’ll end with saying it is written well and mostly an enjoyable read but doesn’t have much of a point for existing.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel 4/5 Stars
I am impressed at how unique this book is: it is fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and more all at the same time and it works beautifully. All the characters felt real which made me even more invested. There are so many worlds (literally and figuratively) and I was delightfully surprised by the reveals. Highly recommended.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 5/5 Stars
I picked this up during a kindle sale after Gail Carriger said (or was told) that this book is similar to hers, specifically the Parasol Protectorate series. I definitely agree, and to me it feels like a mix of Parasol Protectorate and the Paths of Shadow books. Less steampunk, more wizards and magic, but still with really fun writing. I was absolutely thrilled to love this book as much as I did. I loved everything about this book except for the ending (to me it was too hastily done and not properly built up to/explained) but I had so much fun reading the book that I wasn’t even bothered by it.

Small Angels by Lauren Owen 3/5 Stars
I originally gave this four stars but after being done with it for only one day it has left no impression on me. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and found myself choosing things to do so I could listen more than usual. I loved the setting and liked most of the characters but the ending felt jumbled to me and I found myself backtracking many times to try to follow everything. I can’t think of any book to compare it to so it’s definitely unique (in a good, refreshing way). I liked it and plan to read the author’s other novel but am disappointed this one didn’t stick with me more.

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen 5/5 Stars
Sarah Addison Allen has long been one of my favorite writers. I hadn’t read a book of hers in about five years so I was ecstatic to discover the release of Other Birds. It sucked me in on the first page and still hasn’t quite let me go, hours after finishing it. Aside from the hard lives these characters have led, this book is a delight. The characters and setting have so many wonderful details and the plot had two big twists I had no idea were coming (and one that I did see, but that’s okay). I love Pigeon, the ghosts, the Dellawisps, the details of the apartments. I love that Mallow Island has a rich history and such a presence that it’s one of the main characters. I tried to savor it but I also couldn’t put it down. This is a book to fall in love with and get lost in.
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.