HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish
This week’s topic is a “Back To School Freebie,” so I picked
REQUIRED READING FOR EVERY NINETEENTH-CENTURY SETTING FAN
(Click the book cover to link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)
Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
By: Leslye Walton
Release Date: March 27, 2014
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult,Magical Realism, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
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 naïve 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 given myself over two weeks to think about this book before writing about it. And still today, I’m having a hard time comprehending or expressing how I feel. There are several elements in The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender that I love, but there is one big moment in this novel that had me screaming, “WHY?!”
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is beautifully written. The imagery, the language, each strung together sentence wistfully gathers on the page as whispers and secrets meant to be grasped and yearned for. The prose and the magical realism elements are intriguing and beautifully sprinkled throughout this story, which is centered on a young girl, Ava, born with wings and her twin brother who rarely speaks. But when he does speak, his words are foretelling.
Ava begins her story with hundreds of pages plotting out her family history–a history consumed with generations of love, secrets, death, marriages, beloved recipes, and ghosts. I found the meshing of past familial memories integrated with Ava’s innocent worldviews, both enchanting and overwhelming. But it is the ending of this book that engrossed me in an emotional wreck; it is an ending that is daunting, disturbing, and very disheartening.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is enamored with magical elements and captivating characters that yearn for the unthinkable–consumed with the hunger for love, miracles, and religious revelations. This novel is immersed with memorable scenes. Scenes like Ava’s tongue sparking the fire of an unleavened wafer are unexpected, complicated, shocking, but alluring. I loved this book from Manhattan to a long journeyed train ride to the state of Washington, but it is the novel’s ending that has me trying to justify my overall feelings. I cannot rationalize the vexing ending, but I’m quite troubled with why such a beautifully written story has such an infuriating ending.
Note: I bought this book with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.
TOP 5 WEDNESDAY is a weekly meme created by Lainey @ GingerReadsLainey and is currently hosted by Samantha @ Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday a new topic is listed on the Goodreads group, and you list your top 5 books related to the particular topic.
I’ve heard people raving about this book, but I’ve also heard that this book made people cry. I want to read this book, but I also don’t want to cry. See I’m in a conundrum here. Hopefully, before the end of the year, I’m in a mindset that has prepared me to read The Serpent King.
Stalking Jack the Ripper has been on my radar for quite a while, and I have been lucky to be invited to be part of the book’s blog tour. I cannot wait to read this one soon!
I love Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel series. Whenever a new Kate Daniels book shows up, I buy it, read it in one day, and then patiently wait for the next book in the series. If you love urban fantasy, a sassy and strong heroine, and awesome banter between two crazy-about-each-other-characters, definitely pick up this series.
Kristen Simmons is one of my favorite authors in the YA community. I cannot wait to read her new book, Metaltown, and rave about how awesome she is some more. Plus this cover is artistically BEAUTIFUL.
HOLY MOTHER OF BOOKS, DAT COVER! I am a cover fanatic, and yes, I will buy a book based off its cover, even if I do not know the synopsis. But I’ve read this synopsis of this book, and it just makes me want to read it even more. The synopsis had me at, “Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London…” GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!
There Once Were Stars
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?
There Once Were Stars is a dystopian novel told in first person, in which we get the feelings, actions, and natural reactions from the main character, Natalia Greyes. From the very beginning, Nat is positioned in situations too heavy for any 18-year-old to handle. But even though Nat can be naive in these situations, she does overcome many trials and matures throughout the book.
I am a sucker for any dystopian read, and There Once Were Stars does not falter from themes of government paranoia, secrets, mystery, empowered rebels, and in this case, a heroine that wants to make a difference. I enjoyed the setting, in which we have societies placed in domes in order to protect citizens from radiation and outside predators. But it is the unknown, the things that lurk outside the dome, that intrigued me the most in this book. As the scientists continue to help humankind survive, Nat is trying to understand her role in her own dome, and where did Evan, a stranger found outside the dome, come from.
There Once Were Stars is a quick read, and action packed. As I was reading the book, I noticed that Natalia is positioned in both adolescent and adult situations one after the other, and she has very little time to think and react; she wants to be independent, but oftentimes she comes off angsty and experiences communication barriers that usually put her in dire situations. Even though Nat can be a bit dramatic at times, she also has a good heart; she naturally wants to help out her friends, family, and those in her dome.
Because we are so focused in Nat’s thoughts, we get limited world-building. But the world-building we do get is encompassed with incredible scenery of a dystopian society that definitely had me wanting more exploration and explanations. I think the sci-fi elements and the mystery behind Nat’s parents’ deaths, intrigued me to focus on the story. I enjoyed the swoony moments that were added to Nat’s fate, but most of all I loved that the story was littered with mystery and twists.
Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie focuses her powers on writing young adult stories to keep the rest of the world up reading all night.
She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.
(Dark Sky #2)
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
W…W…W…Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws: