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text 2017-12-01 08:08
REVIEW BY DEBBIE - The Witcher Chime by Amity Green
The Witcher Chime: A Haunting - Amity Green

In 1922 and in 1988 a deadly, possessive entity imprints on members of the same family, ancient as Genesis and determined to remain free. Savannah Caleman is the latest object of obsession in this chilling, historical tale of haunted legacy and terror. 

Savannah Caleman’s family has been coming apart since the early 1920’s. After a horrific suicide by their great aunt, the Calemans sell off the family ranch, hoping to leave the stigma of insanity behind and gain a fresh start at a property known by locals as “The Witcher Place.” Days after the move, Savannah’s father isn’t himself and her mother grows increasingly distant. Her little brother, Chaz, is forced out of a second story window by a being that makes Savannah question her sanity for the first time. Her mother takes Chaz and flees the state. Savannah and her younger sister, Molly, are chased home by a mountain lion but when Savannah turns to look back, the cat has transformed into a man. Their father’s behavior takes a more serious twist as horror abounds and Savannah turns to distant relatives for answers, fearing the insanity is real and has spread. Her father is no longer in control. Armed with a shotgun, Savannah is forced to protect herself and her sister. 

The evil plaguing her family dons a suit and tie and introduces himself, giving Savannah an ultimatum. She must decide between her sister’s safety and aiding a monster that can’t be identified as either an angel or a demon. Either way, Savannah is torn, and takes to single-handedly running the family affairs with precision as she takes care of her sister. The Witcher Place is transformed to her liking using family money. Distractions are only that. Releasing a monster to roam at will isn’t a stellar option, no matter the promises it makes. The stain of murder and torment cannot be erased. He has fallen, been shackled, and now has plans to rise once more using Savannah as the key to regain grace.

 

@AmityGreenBooks, @debbiereadsbook, #Adult, #Supernatural, #Horror, #Thriller, 3 out of 5 (good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/debbie/thewitcherchimebyamitygreen
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review 2017-11-30 13:57
really not sure what I read!
The Witcher Chime: A Haunting - Amity Green
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Jumping straight in, here! Dark, deadly, horror, that confused the hell out of me!! Seriously, this book is weird. It moves, in places, at rocket speed, and I struggled to keep up. In other places, its full of stuff that I saw no relevance to the rest of the story, so it drags. Told mostly through Savannah's point of view, some others do have a say. Probably what kept me going, who might get a say next. I just...did not get it! I think this is one of those books that you will either love or be okay with it, and after I finished it (which was totally touch and go for a while!) I read a few reviews, and it really does seem that way. I did not hate it, nor did I love it, because I found it very hard reading. The subject matter wasn't an issue for me, but I can see that some readers might have problems. Some typos, but not too many, just enough to require a mention but not enough to have put me off. Sorry this review is short, but I really am struggling not to waffle too much and make this book look bad, because its NOT bad, it just did not work for me. 3 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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url 2016-03-30 13:41
Young Adult Magical Realism Recommendations

YA Magical Realism is still a fledging genre, I think. Compared to the YA fantasy and contemporary books that are published each year, it’s a much smaller part of the pie. But as I’ve said before, I’d love to see more YA magical realism. I basically love magical realism because I think in YA, in particular, these kinds of stories take really unexpected turns and can push the boundaries of what YA does. Some people think that magical realism stories are slow-paced and they can be, but for good reason. I’m not an expert, but the magical realism definition according to Wikipedia involves work that “share… an acceptance of magic in the rational world…. Magical realism… refers to literature in particular that portrays magical or unreal elements as a natural part in an otherwise realistic or mundane environment.” According to The Atlantic, when they wrote an obituary for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, they mentioned how his works were “quintessential examples of ‘magic realism’: fiction that integrates elements of fantasy into otherwise realistic settings.” (More magical realism definitions, re: YA magical realism & urban fantasy vs. magical realism).

This is where things get a little hazy for me – because Urban Fantasy often includes magic + contemporary settings, but the feeling of urban fantasy is much different from that of magical realism, though I think both could end up in an urban setting if you wanted. I think that UF is much more likely to include creatures of legends; both can have that dreamy feeling, too, but then I think magical realism focuses more on the individual, the main character and the MC’s unique experience. You can have character-driven urban fantasy, of course, but the actual experiences of the character PoV in magical realism tales are more deeply explored, I think. Hey, for all I know I could be talking out of my ass, but if you’re looking for more YA magical realism books to read, here are some of the ones that I’ve enjoyed reading!

 

 

 

** Chime by Franny Billingsley.

Chime is the story of a girl whose life turns upside down once a new boy comes to her witch-intolerant village swamp, because his presence helps to reveal long-lost secrets. It’s cyclical and beautifully written, and the swamp – here’s another magical realism quality! The setting is almost ALWAYS its own character! Which should happen in most books anyways, but can be critical to magical realism – the swamp is its own character. You get fantastic new magical creatures in the swamp, and Briony’s coming-of-age and sexual awakening are twined together so beautifully in her quest for the truth. Highly recommended! The writing style might throw some people off, but stick with the book and you’ll be so rewarded!

** We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

We Were Liars is the story of a girl who no longer remembers the tragedy that happened at her family's summer home but seeks to discover the truth behind all the lies.. The details of her fifteenth summer at her family's private island elude her, and her family is reluctant to talk about what exactly happened. Her quest for the truth is interspersed with fairy tale like stories about her family and her memories of their summers at their island retreat. It’s a beautifully written suspense story on grief, privilege, family, duty, friendships, and much, much more.

 
(Is WWL technically Magical Realism? Or is it more speculative? It could just be considered contemporary, but given the above definition, I think it still fits into magical realism.)

** The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle.

First off: if you’re a fan of We Were Liars, definitely check out The Accident Season. Set in Ireland, The Accident Season is the story of a family plagued by “accident seasons” – they fall down; they bruise; their bones break. Is everything that happens in The Accident Season truly an accident, or is there something more sinister going on? Like We Were Liars, The Accident Season is beautifully written, full of atmosphere, and it centers on family, grief, truths and more as well.

** Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

Bone Gap is the story of Rosa, a girl who suddenly appears in Finn’s life and then just as suddenly goes missing, and Finn, a boy who witnesses Rosa getting kidnapped but who isn’t believed in town because everyone thinks he’s weird and maybe a little unstable. The story takes place in a town where again! Setting is its own character. People can go missing in the “gaps” of the town, all the corn fields… What really happened the day that Rosa went missing is up for the both characters to discover. Laura Ruby really does a wonderful job developing the setting and making the people of Bone Gap feel unique to Bone Gap (but also familiar to us). The story does a great job examining the construct of beauty and perception, and is unlike anything I’ve read in YA (despite me lumping it in here with other magical realism books).

** The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma & Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

The Walls around Us and Imaginary Girls are the two Nova Ren Suma novels that I’ve read, but they definitely won’t be the last. The Walls around Us was described as Orange is the New Black Swan, and I think that’s a perfect description—and yes, the book focuses on girls, jealousies, intimacies, and more. Imaginary Girls is the story of a girl sent away from her sister when she discovers a body in their town’s reservoir. When she returns to her sister, certain secrets will be revealed. Nova Ren Suma writes gorgeous, atmospheric stories that are about and told in the voices of girls, and both of these are no exception to her list of highly recommended reads.

** Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block.

Love in the Time of Global Warming is a YA magical realism post-apocalyptic retelling of The Odyssey told from Penelope’s point of view. Francesca Lia Block’s writing is as always incandescent, proving why she’s one of the founders of YA. Reading this made me want to go back and reread The Odyssey, which I think is always a sign of success for a retelling—rekindling or stirring new interest in the classic.

** The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater & The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

I don’t even know whether to consider either of these novels magical realism. Some part of me wants to classify The Scorpio Races as a high fantasy because it takes place on a fictional island, and so the society is also modeled after ours but is its own thing. But The Scorpio Races is also written in a way that reminds me of magical realism novels. The Raven Cycle could also be categorized as urban fantasy or just fantasy, but looking at the definition for magical realism, hey, the series could fit too. Plus part of that dreamy atmosphere, again, makes me think of magical realism novels. Oh, genre categories.

Every November on the fictional island of Thisby, its inhabitants compete in a dangerous race riding legendary, deadly water horses. The Scorpio Races is a standalone filled with magic, adventure, and romance—and is unlike anything I’ve read in YA. The Raven Cycle is a tad harder to describe. One of the main characters, Blue, has been told all her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. It’s implied that Gansey is her true love, and she ends up getting caught in Gansey’s quest to find Glendower, a mythical sleeping Welsh King who’s supposed to grant a wish to whoever wakes him up. A very bare bones sort of intro summary—but anyway, the books have multi-layered, complex characters, unpredictable, complicated plots… magic, adventure, atmosphere, romance. I talk on and on about these books, so get to reading them if you haven’t already!

Those are my YA magical realism novel recommendations. One I’m looking forward to reading this year is A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry, which made my 2016 YA Debuts on my TBR list. Let me know if you’ve got any other recs! Have you read any of the books I recommended? Is magical realism your “thing”?
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url 2016-01-05 02:35
Best Books I Read in 2015

Today I thought that I'd share my favorite reads from 2015. I've been posting these on a Goodreads shelf all year long, but some of them are books I'd also marked as favorites in 2014: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski, and The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. Those I read in 2014, though they were officially published in 2015 -- would still recommend reading those! Last year I only made a video as a means of recommending books to people who didn't like YA much, but this year I wanted to make a full list!

 

*note: not all were published in 2015!

Great contemporary reads --

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed, Dumplin' by Julie Murphy, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn, and Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Written in the Stars is a heartfelt exploration of an arranged marriage in Pakistan, written simply to maximize its impact and our identification with the main character on her horrific journey. Dumplin' is a romantic coming-of-age about a fat girl who competes in a beauty pageant to regain her confidence and self-love. About a girl trying to break into a men-only secret society, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is another great read from E. Lockhart. And what happens when you take three self-destructive, morally grey people and force them to interact with each other? A high stakes psychological thriller from Stephanie Kuehn, potentially her best work yet in Delicate Monsters. Black Iris is Leah Raeder's heart book, sexy, romantic suspense layered with questions about gender identity and sexuality. All are wonderful explorations of growing up in a patriarchal world.

You can read my reviews of: Black Iris, Delicate Monsters, and Dumplin'. I nominated Dumplin' and Delicate Monsters in theEpic Reads Book Shimmy Awards, and encouraged others to be excited for the release of Dumplin'.

Magical realism that takes risks in its narrative --

Chime by Franny Billingsley, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, and The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

YA magical realism is a wonderful expanding genre that's pushing the boundaries of the typical YA narrative. All three of these stories are told in their own cyclical, winding ways, and all three have absolutely gorgeous writing. Chime tells the story of a girl regaining her confidence as she discovers the truth; Bone Gap tells a story about perception and beauty; and The Accident Season tells the story of a family broken by a tragic past. Highly recommended, and can't wait for more magical realism to crop up.

I discussed Bone Gap and The Accident Season here. I nominated Bone Gap in the Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards.

Female-led historical journeys --

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Elizabeth Wein is a reigning queen of YA historical fiction, and Rose Under Fire was a gorgeous tale of female friendship tested under terrible circumstances. Walk on Earth a Stranger is about a girl with a fantastical ability to discover gold on an Oregon Trail-like, self-discovery journey to California, and it's as fantastic as that sounds.Daughter of the Forest is loosely based on the legend of the Children of Lir and "The Six Swans," a fairy tale told by the Grimms and many more. It's gorgeous and I absolutely adore the commingling of tender romance, Celtic atmosphere, and fantastical curses.

You can read my review of Walk on Earth a Stranger. Because of my love for Daughter of the Forest, I wrote a recommendation list of adult fiction for YA readers. I nominated Walk on Earth a Stranger in theEpic Reads Book Shimmy Awards, and encouraged others to be excited for its release.

Er, the only Urban Fantasy recommendation I have is Burned by Karen Marie Moning. A few years ago, I got caught up in adult urban fantasy, which is often sexy and led by kickass heroines. At this point, I'm not reading much adult UF (though feel free to recommend me some books!); only the Fever series remains on my tbr list.

Fantasy! Fantasy! Fantasy!

The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove, Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge, Serpentine by Cindy Pon, Eon by Alison Goodman, Poison Study by Maria Snyder, and A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Goodness, where to start? The Golden Specific is a part of the MG trilogy I said was most inventive MG fantasy I've read since Harry Potter. Shadow Scale is the much anticipated sequel to Seraphina, and is, like its predecessor, a wonderfully written masterpiece. Crown Duel is the most fun I've had with fantasy in a while. As Small Review said: "It's like a fantasy Pride and Prejudice with an imperfect main character who grows throughout the book, a swoony slow burn hate-turned-love romance, and lots and lots of political intrigue." Uprooted has a side plot of slow burning hate-to-love romance, a determined, spirited heroine who learns to wield magic with skill, plenty of plot twists and an absolutely wonderful main female friendship. Plus, of course, a creative fairy tale world, with a cinematically creepy evil Wood. Crimson Bound is very much of the same ilk as Uprooted; enjoyed one, and well, you should read the other. At its core, Serpentine features a wonderful main female friendship which runs well alongside a sweet romance, lush setting inspired by Chinese folklore, and an innately discussable premise about a girl with a power that makes her feel Other. Eon is an epic fantasy inspired by Japanese and Chinese mythology, full of daring adventure and heartbreaking action and romance, and layered with questions on gender identity. I'd definitely recommend Poison Study to fans of Throne of Glass; Poison Study is about the food taster to the Commander of a military regime, and the political intrigue, magic, and romance she unexpectedly finds. A Thousand Nights is a loose epic fantasy retelling of 1001 Nights, and features a heroine who defies the odds in not only surviving the threat of murder from her husband but also in becoming a stronger leader and a goddess in her own right. ALL FANTASTIC FANTASY READS!

You can read my reviews of: A Thousand Nights, Eon, Serpentine, Crimson Bound, Uprooted, Shadow Scale, and the Mapmakers trilogy. I discussed Crown Duel and Poison Study here. I nominated Serpentine and A Thousand Nights in theEpic Reads Book Shimmy Awards.

Science Fiction for your Star Wars craving --

Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci

I'm thinking that the success of Star Wars is going to led to an upswing in YA science fiction. In the meantime, however, perhaps you'd like to satiate a craving for YA sci fi with Cecil Castellucci's space epic. In the Tin Star duology, our scavenger-esque, survivor oriented heroine must fend for herself while navigating intergalatic politics and a sweet, cross-species romance, and answer for crimes she did not commit.

You can read my review of Stone in the Sky here.

Nonfiction for the rainy days --

Six Myths of Our Time by Marina Warner, The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction by James A. Millward, and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming is an absolutely amazing memoir. I usually say that I don't read things written in verse, but man am I glad that I broke that "rule" for BGD! HIGHLY recommended for everyone. Jacqueline Woodson can evoke beautiful imagery in such few words. I related to her experiences despite having a very different identity. Can't wait to read more from her. As for the other two books, if you're interested in cultural myths or the Silk Road, you'll be as pleased as I was in reading them.

Writing out this list made me realize what sort of books I'm looking to read for 2016 and beyond, and the kind of books that I specifically enjoy. Almost all my favorite contemporaries are diverse books; I no longer am interested in reading books from the perspective of a white, cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied, neurotypical, rich teenager unless, like Frankie Landau-Banks, they have something very different to offer. I also don't read a lot of science fiction or historical fiction, it seems, but I'm looking to change that, particularly since historical fiction seems really focused on its leading ladies and the friendships that change their lives. YA Magical realism is my go-to for stories that break the mold, and I'd love to see more books published in that genre. Fantasy? Man, there's a reason fantasy is my favorite genre. Fantasy books that give me romance ship feelings (Crown Duel, Poison Study), or are fairy tale retellings with atmosphere (Uprooted, Crimson Bound), or are layered, literary stories I can slowly unpeel (A Thousand Nights, The Golden Specific, Shadow Scale), or are coming-of-age stories with complex and diverse world-building (Eon, Serpentine) -- yes. These are my kind of books. If any of that fits your reading tastes, you may be interested in reading some of the recommendations above.

What were the favorite books that you read in 2015? Do we share any? Have you read any of the books I listed? Let's discuss!
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review 2015-06-30 00:00
Wind Chime Wedding
Wind Chime Wedding - Sophie Moss Wind Chime Wedding - Sophie Moss Wind Chime Wedding is the next chapter of Wind Chime Cafe By Sophie Moss. This is the 2nd book of the Wind Chime Series. You could read it as a stand alone but I wouldn't recommend it. You kind of need to read Wind Chime Cafe in order to really meet the characters and get a true idea of some of the things being talked about in this book.
The story takes place on Heron Island where Becca Hadaway is a 2nd grade teacher who is quitting to get married to her high school sweetheart Tom.
Colin Foley is a former Navy Seal who lost his leg in Afghanistan, and also the son of Maryland's Governor. Here's a part you need book 1 for, He is busy working on turning his friend Will's Grandparents house into a Rehab center for wounded Veterans. He finally has a reason and a purpose in his life. Now all he needs is someone to share this new leash on life with.
Colin sets his eyes on Becca. Now to convince her, he is the man she should be marrying.
As with Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss has done a wonderful job of dragging you into the story and keeping you there from the fist word to the last, and she leaves you wanting more. She takes you through the gambit of emotions, you are Happy when things are going good, Sad when they are not. You feel like you are intimate friends with the characters in her stories. I can't wait to see what her next book will bring.
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