Deerskin by Robin McKinley 5/5 Stars
This book cements my new obsession with the fantasy genre, and I love that this is a historical fantasy/magical realism combination. Lissar had a really weird upbringing for a princess; after her mother dies it nose-dives and she ends up fleeing her home with her beloved dog and best friend, Ash. The experience they have in the mountain cabin is, though still a very difficult time for them, a magical realism cozy transformation of my dreams. I love so many things about this book though: the world, her new friends, and Lissar finding strength and healing. There are difficult parts throughout the book as well, but the overall story is beautiful and wonderful and I imagine myself rereading it in the future.
The Last Hours (Black Death #1) by Minette Walters 5/5 Stars
I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I’ve been so into medieval fiction lately (primarily a Fall/Winter thing for me so now that Spring is here I’m going more contemporary again) and this one fits nicely into my collection. I really enjoyed this world and the story but I would have liked to have had more details about everyday life. I listened to the audiobook and really liked the narrator. I couldn’t wait to move on to book two.
The Turn of Midnight (Black Death #2) by Minette Walters 3/5 Stars
I was very disappointed with the follow-up to The Last Hours. Most of the book is about Thaddeus being away from Develish and a gigantic portion drags out his trial in the latter part of the book. This was not engrossing or exciting to me and I merely finished it to complete the story between these two books. The ending was also quite bland.
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover 5/5 Stars
I picked this up at Newark before a flight and it did a great job of sucking me right in and forgetting about the wait and the plane ride. I wish the synopsis went into more detail, like that this is about domestic abuse. It’s a giant part of the book but it’s isn’t even mentioned. While that is never a nice thing to read about, I think Colleen Hoover did a great job exploring what it feels like to be in such a relationship. I later read that she wrote this book with a heavy nod to how she grew up and what her mother went through. I appreciated exploring it in different ways from the points-of-view of the mother and daughter and how it is so much more complicated than what the outside observer thinks. A gritty, dark, emotional, intense read that got me back into reading physical books.
It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover 3/5 Stars
It Stars with Us compared to the preceding book, It Ends with Us, was extremely disappointing. It feels like this was written to appease fans of the first book who wanted more from these characters but it doesn’t feel like there’s an urgent need to have this story told like there was for the first book. It didn’t feel like there was much meaning or emotion behind it. It read very much like a romance book and that’s a totally different type of book than the first one. It just didn’t have the same appeal for me. I’d recommend reading the first book and then spoilers for the second if you’d like to know how things turn out.
Weyward by Emilia Hart 3.5/5 Stars
Weyward follows three women, Altha in 1619, Violet in 1942, and Kate in 2019. What I love about this book is the magical realism aspect. Weyward women have an unusual relationship with nature: they are especially close with crows, all manner of bugs and insects are drawn to them, and they have a talent for healing and herbs. Unfortunately this ends what I love about the book. Weyward needs MORE of this. I want each page to drip with this special and awe-inspiring magic the Weyward women possess. I want to read more about learning herbalism and collecting them and more than just one instance of creepy-crawlies in the ground shifting to touch a Weyward hand. I want to know more about the spiders that curl up to sleep against the hair, neck, face of these lucky women. I want to know more about Goldie.
The other main beef I have with the book is the three revolving views. Usually with dual timelines or alternate points-of-view I eventually get used to the flow of the book but that was not the case with this one. Each chapter change is a different person and mostly they are only a few pages each. With every advancing chapter I felt torn from the story I was reading. For the entire book. It wasn’t pleasant.
Something else that took me out of the story and made me feel like the author thought me an idiot were when she would point out obvious things that were mentioned earlier in the book but, oh wait, whichever main character we’re reading about now is just now getting it and all I could think was, “yeah, duh.” I am not crazy about these characters; I feel that Altha and Violet are naive products of their time but Kate is just kind of a dummy.
The Harpy by Megan Hunter 2/5 Stars
The synopsis makes this book seem darker than it really is. I kept waiting for things to pick up, for something really exciting to happen, but I kept searching and reading and waiting right up until the end when it jumped head-first off a cliff and got so abstract and weird that I couldn’t make any sense of it. Lucy steadily deteriorates mentally as the book goes on. The only parts that were harpy-esque were these weird excerpts between chapters about someone (maybe Lucy? I don’t think we ever find out) doing a thesis on harpies. Two stars because I enjoyed the beginning and was hopeful for it.