Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):



Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.
 


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Disney-hyperion for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***



This insomniac's opinion: 



I am fascinated by other cultures so this novel was a perfect fit for me as I was instantly transported into the dry heat of the desert in the very first pages. The characters were fascinating, but it was the culture and the way of life that kept my rapt attention as I turned each page. 


If you are able to be nonjudgmental towards a culture that is unknown to you, this is a fascinating read. 



Worth staying up all night to read?



It was for me. The descriptions of the heat of the desert sun warmed my bones on the cold autumn nights. 



Rating: 



3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for Goodreads.



                                                           

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead


Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games--or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? 
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl--as a friend? 

On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

This insomniac's opinion: 

Somehow, Rebecca Stead has managed to write a novel that sends it's reader smack back into adolescence. This was a brutally honest and warm novel about Bridge, a seventh grader that had a recent accident and is wondering why she is alive and second-guessing everything about her life. I was in love with her awkward sweetness immediately. 

The novel progresses as Bridge's friendships begin to change and she finds herself seeking out peace anywhere that she can find it. 

Worth staying up all night to read?

This is truly lovely adolescent fiction and I think most readers will want to read to the finish in one sitting. 

Rating: 

4.5 stars - honestly, if you have a middle schooler/early high school girl in your life- get them a copy, stat!


                                                                

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):



When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won't be able to put down.
 


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Group Putnam for the the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***



This insomniac's opinion:


This certainly isn't typical reading fare for me. Mystery with a side of paranormal would not be something that I would typically choose. However, I kept hearing such wonderful buzz about this one that I stepped out of my comfort zone. 


I was immediately in love with Charlie as we find in the first pages that she has just lost her only child and is desperately trying to find another life on the other side of that tragedy. Ms. Young is a wonderfully descriptive writer and I flew through the first half of the novel in one sitting. Unfortunately  the second half was a bit less fascinating as I found myself guessing every twist before it happened. 


Overall, I think those who like mystery and southern atmosphere will really enjoy this novel. 



Worth staying up all night to read?


It is creepy and mysterious enough to keep one up past their bedtime. 



Rating: 

3.5 stars
                                                                                

Abundance Loop by Juliana Park


Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):



Understanding money is crucial in today’s financially driven world. However, attaining wealth has more to do with internal motivations and experiences than with external circumstances. The Abundance Loop reveals what blocks you from achieving the prosperity that is your natural birthright. By breaking free from a fear-based mind-set, you will learn to cultivate gratitude and awareness, and take conscious action to create the life you want.

Juliana Park, a Certified Financial Planner and financial advisor for over 13 years with major Wall Street firms, offers a step-by-step approach for you to shift from scarcity to abundance. Here, she walks you through 30 practical exercises and shows you how to:
Reframe your life through the lens of the Abundance Loop—and radically change your relationship with money, with others, and with yourself;
Align with your divine wealth and authentic purpose; and
Find financial security and spiritual serenity.This groundbreaking book will challenge your beliefs about what is possible and lead you on a clear path to enrich both your net worth and your self-worth.


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Hay House Publishing for the advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***


This insomniac's opinion: 

This book may have been useful to a very, very newcomer to the world of mindset/law of attraction thinking. However, it had very little new information for me and seemed very repetitive. I was very disappointed. 

Rating: 

2 stars



                                                                        

Awake by Natasha Preston



Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):


Scarlett Garner doesn't remember anything before the age of four-until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her...and a secret that could get her killed.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***



This insomniac's opinion: 



Ugh. This novel was a mess. Characters that seemed one-faceted and cartoonish versions of people, an unbelievable and poorly executed plot and a resolution that seemed slapped on. I'm sorry to say that it while the first chapters were interesting, I had trouble even finishing the novel. This one was not for me. 



Worth staying up all night to read?



Um, no.



Rating: 



2 stars, if I'm being kind. 



                                                              

Another Day by David Levithan


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):


Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person…wasn’t Justin at all.

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.
 

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Random House Children's for the advanced reader copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 


David Levithan is a fantastic, original author and I truly enjoyed Every Day, the precursor to this novel. This novel has impeccable writing and an incredibly unique premise just as each of his novels do. In this novel, Rhiannon meets a soul in the body of her boyfriend- a soul that just happens to inhabit a new body each and every day. Fascinating concept, right?

Unfortunately, there were areas of the novel that were just too out there to be believable and I didn't feel the spark between the main characters that one needs to feel in such an unusual love story. However, I think younger readers(the audience that this was intended for) would love this.

Worth staying up all night to read?


Not for me, but I imagine many young girls will do so!

Rating: 


3 stars