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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein

“I wished they hadn’t stared, but their curiosity didn’t surprise me; it simply irked me. Like drivers slowing to absorb each detail of a car wreck, they were attempting to decipher how many sad little pieces I’d been broken into.”

I love books that suck me in from the first pages… There is something magical about the transporting nature of really fun books, particularly (for me) when they’re fantasy. There’s nothing like spending a few hours in not only another life, but another world. Olivia Wildenstein’s first book in her new the Lost Clan series, was just such a book for me. What a treat it was!

She contacted me a rather long time ago, to introduce herself and her book and see if I would be interested in doing a review since I had reviewed similar books on Amazon and found them to my taste. I accepted, and then her book went onto the bottom of the To Be Read/Reviewed list. Unfortunately, the list is long – and I try to follow it in order, religiously, as much as possible because I think it’s the only fair thing to do. As a result, if I hit a run of really great, easy-to-read, engaging books, I fly through a portion of the list rather quickly. That’s great. The converse, however, occasionally also happens, and that’s not so great. I’ve been slogging through some heavy, dense books lately, and as a result, Ms. Wildenstein’s book has been sitting longer than I’d like. It finally rose to the top, and it had been so long that I’d actually forgotten what it was about… (Unfortunately, given the volume of titles I deal with lately, that happens. A lot.) I had no idea what exactly to expect, but was immediately intrigued by the luscious cover art. I was cautiously optimistic that this would NOT be another heavy, dense title – and my cautious optimism was well rewarded.

Rose Petal Graves is the story of Faeries and Hunters, long-standing enemies whose animosity has been in remission because, in an attempt to salvage the bloodline, the Hunters went into hibernation. It opens with a 19-year old Cat (Catori – a beautiful name, no?) in a bar picking up her father amid staring, pity-filled, eyes – he’s stumble-down drunk, and just when I was starting to roll my eyes and think it was going to be *that* kind of book, I learned why he was here and why she was being stared at. He’s no drunk. She’s no kid-parenting-her-parent. Her mother has just died, and both of their lives will quite literally never be the same. From there, the story swoops up and down in glorious roller-coaster style; the tummy bumps are wild and even the ones you see coming will tickle your toes… Turns out, her mother’s death has started something – something that is now as inevitable as the aforementioned tummy bump. And the ride is WILD.

“Being sensitive makes you weak.”
“Well, being an asshole doesn’t make you strong.”

“He loved you very, very much.”
“I loved him too,” I murmured.
Dad tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “But not in the same way.”
“Do two people ever love each other the same way?”

Wildenstein has a marvelous ability to tell a compelling story that feels plausible and believable even at its weirdest. She also has a knack for encapsulating complex emotions and responses in straightforward language that cuts straight to the heart of the matter (as evidenced by the block quotes). And she’s quick with a clever observation about humanity, even when she’s not talking about humans. She’s not the first author to delve into the world of fairies and their enemies, but she manages to make Cat’s story (and her world) feel fresh nevertheless. The characters are very well written, full of rich and quirky details that make them leap off the page. Her villains are villainous, her heroes heroic – and then each takes on a few of their opposite characteristics and turns out to be not quite what you expected, in a fabulous flip-flop that thoroughly hooked me on this world and its characters. I read this one in about four hours. It was engaging and entertaining and exactly what I needed. It’s not high literature – but it is the highest form of entertainment: a book that I couldn’t put down.

There’s a second book out – with an even more gorgeous cover, by the way – and I’ve already downloaded it (thank you Kindle Unlimited – which also has this first book). It’s not a review book. It doesn’t have to sit on any list. And believe me, it won’t…

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