This came in for me at the library today. 1047 pages to go…….
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this ghost story. It takes place in a small town in Texas, where Tansy, her horror-book-writing mother, and her grandfather have just moved.
Tansy’s grandfather grew up in this small town, and her mother has brought the three of them there in order to get the atmosphere right for her latest novel. Tansy’s moved around so often that she’s used to being the new girl, the outsider, but this is such a small, close-knit community that she feels even more awkward than usual.
The one thing that keeps her motivated is taking photos. However, after discovering an old pocketwatch and notebook full of poems belonging to a boy around her age who supposedly killed himself in the 1930s, Tansy discovers that she can somehow enter the past through her photos and begins to experience life through another girl’s eyes.
As Isabel, she meets her grandfather as a young man, as well as the mysterious Henry- writer of the poems she found. Tansy begins to try to unravel the mystery surrounding Henry’s death, and wonders if she wouldn’t be better off staying in Henry’s world, rather than returning to the present-day and her imperfect life.
The atmosphere in this book was great. The way that Tansy could move between past and present through the photos, and see things in black and white through the camera lens, was really cool. I enjoyed the unique way that her two worlds began to impact each other, and how it was unclear whether Tansy was in fact crazy, or whether she actually experienced Henry’s ghostly presence, and his world.
It was a quick, but enjoyable read. I’d recommend it to those looking for a good ghostly tale.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this while at the cottage, and it was the absolute perfect thing. I finished it in one day, it was that good!
The book blurb hooked me, and I was already excited to read this. But when I saw it at the library during my “grab some books to take on holiday” trip, I wasn’t sure it would be a great cottage read. It was!
Morgana, the book’s narrator (for most of it) and one of the main characters, doesn’t speak. At all. We can of course read her thoughts, which is why most of the book is told from her point of view, but she doesn’t communicate using speech with any of the other characters. In itself, that was already a unique hook. Then add a romance that’s wonderful, and the fact that Morgana can do magic, and well- you’ve got a book that was written for me to enjoy!
The story starts off when Morgana leaves her ailing mother to marry Cai Jenkins. The marriage was arranged hastily in order for Cai to hold his position as head drover (it’s assumed that any man who doesn’t have a wife to come home to won’t bother to return, so all head drovers must be married). Morgana is confused as to why anyone would choose her for their wife- since she hasn’t spoken a word in years, and also is trying to hide the fact that she has witch-like powers.
But we soon get to read some chapters told from an omniscient perspective, and are privy to Cai’s thoughts and feelings towards Morgana. One of the best things about this book was the way the romance unfolded slowly. It wasn’t instant attraction, and in fact it takes much of the beginning of the book before the two main characters come to terms with their feelings for each other.
I was hooked by the romance, and I was hooked by the magic. I loved the twists and turns as we discovered more about the characters’ motives and true personalities. Morgana was a great heroine, and there were some admirable villains for her to stand up to.
Overall, this was a super love story. It was truly “enchanting and magical” as the book jacket promised. It’s my first book by Paula Brackston, but I definitely want to read more!
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
2.5 stars. This book was alright, but somehow throughout the entire thing I was really aware that I was reading, and I didn’t get entirely immersed in the story or the world, which I like to do when reading.
The story follows Lia through her discovery that she and her twin sister Alice are meant to fulfill the Prophecy of the Sisters. Each of them is a Guardian or a Gate, who will choose to either let the evil Souls back into our world forever, or to fight against the Souls and rescue our world.
Reading over the blurb again, it’s like: two sisters, one good, one evil– who will prevail?? Which sounds pretty exciting, only the evil sister barely gets a few lines in the entire book, and most of it was internal dialogue of the ‘good’ sister (Lia) wondering what she should do. Hmf.
It’s interesting in places, but wasn’t really enough to keep me enthralled. There was the opportunity for a similar vibe to Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series, but this book didn’t contain the same mix of magic and storytelling that the other series had.
When I read this, I was thinking it was a standalone book, but – of course- I’ve discovered it’s actually a trilogy. I bought this one on clearance, and today at the library I noticed the other two books were there, so if I do decide to continue reading about the Prophecy at least I know I can borrow them.
Overall I don’t really feel motivated to continue the series. I just wasn’t able to connect with it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a wonderful, unique, almost indescribable book. It certainly doesn’t fit into any genre that I can think of, and this review will most likely be confusing to anyone who hasn’t read the book. So, my most pressing suggestion would be: if you are at all curious about this, just go ahead and read it. Really, do.
Now, on to the details: the book takes place alternating between The World, and the Kingdom of Cello. Cello is a place where Colours are organisms that are sentient- some are good, and some quite, quite bad. In Cello lives a boy, Elliot Baranski. His father disappeared a year ago, leaving him and his mother to wonder whether a vicious Purple was responsible, and whether his father is in fact, dead.
In The World, more specifically in Cambridge, England, lives a girl: Madeleine Tully. She and her mother ran away from their luxurious life (and Madeleine’s father) and are now trying to make ends meet in a teeny attic flat. There is mould on the ceiling, and the only thing they brought with them was Madeleine’s mother’s sewing machine. To make matters worse, Madeleine thinks her mother may be going crazy, as she seems to be acting less and less normally.
Somehow, a crack exists between The World and Cello. And Madeleine and Elliot begin exchanging letters from one world to the other. Madeleine isn’t even sure she believes that Cello is real: she figures Elliot Baranski is a character that some sad, nerdy, would-be fantasy writer had made up to give himself an excuse to leave his boring existence.
But the two of them have knowledge that can help one another. And through their correspondence it becomes clearer to the reader that each of them has a lot they can learn from the other.
So that’s my plot summary, without giving away any real spoilers.
What can I say about the book itself? I enjoyed it so much that I read it in a day. And I’d re-read it in a flash. Though I borrowed this from the library, it’s a book I would love to own a copy of. One of the greatest things about it is how unique, unusual, and enchanting I found it. The world of Cello is so strange, yet so believable. And the best part is, the author does not talk dryly at the reader, explaining every little detail about Cello and the way things work. Everything just sort of happens, and while it seems awkward to understand and sometimes a bit confusing, while reading you just pick up on how things work, in a subtle way.
The characters are really poignant. They made me feel that I really knew them all in real life. I would have enjoyed homeschooling with Madeleine, Jack, and Belle.
There are some pretty funny parts- the ones that made me laugh were the editor’s comments in each of the news features written by the Princess Sisters. There was a nice bit of sarcasm there that I appreciated.
There are also some quite sad parts, mostly at the end when Madeleine is thinking about her parents.
I think the book had a good mix of moods. And it simply makes you believe in magic, in enchantment. Which I absolutely love in a book.
And can I add- all the colour theory stuff was just amazing. I love colour – both the scientific light-based colour, and paint. And I’m in complete agreement with this conundrum: how can we ever know that someone else sees colours the same way as we do? Sure, we agree that grass is ‘green’- but what if the way I see ‘green’ is the same as the way you see ‘purple’ – or something quite different altogether??? Ah, the mysteries of perception.
If you don’t enjoy character-driven stories, I’d give this one a pass. I’ve read some reviews where people are upset that there wasn’t ‘more of a plot’. I think that is largely a personal thing, as the plot was just right for me. If you do enjoy quirky characters, and an entirely new world with unusual rules, this is exactly the book for you.
PS- the font for the title on the cover, and for the chapter headings, is amazing. I am in love with it.