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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: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This was an incredible story – so engaging, with such marvelously detailed and deliciously deceitful characters… I’m thrilled beyond belief at the way it ended – it most definitely left it open for a sequel (or hopefully two or three), but without in any way diminishing or undermining the value of the story itself.

Scarlet wants to escape – her father is a nightmare: her life is an attempt to tap-dance among land mines he has laid for her and her sister, Donatella. She sees one path of escape: marriage. Her sister sees another: Caraval, the mysterious game/performance that has captivated the two sisters since childhood, and to which Scarlett has recently managed to score three exceedingly valuable tickets. The title of the book tells you the choice that Scarlet makes – but that choice is so much more complicated and layered than that statement implies…
Continue reading Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Interview: Fiona Davis, Author of The Dollhouse – AND – Revival of The Dollhouse Book Review

Today you’re in for a double treat – first, an interview with the very talented Fiona Davis, author of the historical fiction The Dollhouse, and then a revival of my book review in honor of the trade paperback release yesterday!

First up: A Conversation with Fiona Davis, Author of THE DOLLHOUSE

What compelled you to write this book?
I love the history of buildings, whether it’s wandering around a castle in England or the Tenement Museum here in New York City. The Barbizon Hotel is iconic, a building that housed so many women’s stories, and I wanted to explore the way women’s roles have changed over time, the ways that they’ve stayed the same, as well as issues of class and status.

I checked out one of the renovated condos in the Barbizon building during my own apartment hunt, and was surprised at how much the place had changed from the 1950s black-and-white photos. When I learned that several long-time residents had been “grandfathered” into the building when it went condo, I realized I had the makings of a novel.
Continue reading Interview: Fiona Davis, Author of The Dollhouse – AND – Revival of The Dollhouse Book Review

Book Review: The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber

“I knew then that I’d been fooling myself, that none of it was Real at all. And I was what I’d always been, a rabbit with no fur, no hind legs, nothing more than a sewed-up sack of sawdust. I couldn’t move properly. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair at all.”

The Velveteen Rabbit is my all-time favorite children’s book. I’ve never seen or heard anything about the author – Margery Williams Bianco. I had no idea if she was married, had a family, where she lived… When I saw this title, I was thrilled at the idea of learning about her life and eager to see what (if any) role the eponymous daughter played in the creation of her fantastic book. I imagined whimsy and fun, a happy child learning beautiful lessons about life and love at the feet of a master.

Wow. I could not have been more surprised by the way this played out… Continue reading Book Review: The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber

Book Review: Behind the Mask by Tricia Reeks (Ed.)

“…the only thing we love more than revering our heroes is destroying them.”
– Over an Embattled City by Adam R. Shannon

“There are people who say that anonymity lives and dies in the big city. Those people have never tried living in suburbia.”

“I wanted to explain that reality doesn’t matter, not really; not when image is for sale on every corner and beamed straight to every smartphone.”
– Pedestal by Seanan McGuire

“He looked like a sweetheart, but even when he tried to be gentle, he left bruises.”
– Origin Story by Kelly Link

I really don’t understand how the stories are selected for anthologies like this one… I am continually amazed at how uneven the quality is. I understand that everyone has different tastes, but even given that, I cannot see how one person could have liked all of the stories selected in this (or most) collection. Perhaps editors literally just put the word out about their topic (particularly when it’s an unusual and specific one, like this) and go first come, first served… That’s pretty much all I can imagine, because the quality of this collection is unbelievably uneven.
Continue reading Book Review: Behind the Mask by Tricia Reeks (Ed.)

Book Review: The Dream Keeper’s Daughter by Emily Colin

“I never wanted one human being to matter to me so much that if I lost them, I’d lose myselftoo.”

What a lovely story this was – full of love and magic and sacrifice and, above all, the delight and devastation of chance… Isabel is a charming protagonist, and she is surrounded on all sides by a diverse group of supporting characters who lend depth and warmth to her story. That story did not proceed as I thought it would based on the book’s description, but for once that was a surprisingly good thing – there is a twist that is not even alluded to there, and it becomes the basis for the majority of the story. I liked that; it was a pleasant surprise and happened to bring in an element that I love reading about.
Continue reading Book Review: The Dream Keeper’s Daughter by Emily Colin

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