Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow

House of Ivy & Sorrow

Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow
Author: Natalie Whipple
Pub Deets: Harper Teen, April 2014
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Source: Won! (Thanks, Lenore!)

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twitter

In a sentence or so: Jo is a teenage witch who is trying to keep her magic under wraps, figure out if she's falling in love, and protect her friends from a deathly curse.

A curse killed Jo's mother and it appears as if the person who made it isn't giving up until her entire family is wiped out. But why? Why would another witch want to kill off one of their own? There are dark secrets and hidden family history to explore and Jo has to do it all on her own...or does she? Will she figure out what's going on before it's too late and those closest to her suffer?

This is the first book I've read by Natalie Whipple and I adored her writing style. The characters were easy to relate to and had unique voices from one another. The pacing of the book kept me wrapped up in the plot while giggling with Jo and her friends and swooning over the love interest, Winn.

This is definitely a light paranormal read, but that doesn't mean you should write it off. Witches are dark and they do dark things (like use fingernails to do magic! ew!), but the mellow writing balances this read nicely.

If you're searching for a paranormal stand alone - yes, stand alone! - that you'll be sorely tempted to finish reading in one sitting, look no further than HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW!

Blogger Spirit Animals

I love reading and hearing other people's thoughts on books. I really appreciate hearing new perspectives and ideas and experiences with books that I've loved or didn't love because it's just SO COOL, you know? 

Anyway, there are a handful of bloggers out there who I read each review of theirs and I nod in agreement with the whole review, every time. Regardless of genre, these bloggers and I have the EXACT same taste in books and that is pretty amazing. 

The Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch | Book Review
First off, her review style is THE BUSINESS. She blends her own personal fangirling (or raging, depending on the book) with a solid review of the book. She tells you why she lurved it or why she loathed it and I have mad respect for that. 
It certainly helps that the girl loves her some YA fantasy which is totally my jam, too. 

I aspire to review books like Anna. It's true! It's my dream to grow up to be an Anna kind of reviewer. She packs her reaction to the book + who would enjoy that book in the most concise and legit way possible. It's amazing that she doesn't fall victim to the rant! 
Also, when she reads a book that is perfect for me, she tells me. And she is right. Looking at you, INSIGNIA. 

YA Bibliophile
The foundation of my relationship with Heidi is basically our mutual love for Patrick Ness and that is INCREDIBLE. It definitely expands out into Tamora Pierce and John Green and all sorts of other wonderful authors. Also, Heidi is a Middle School librarian so she adores the Middle Grade reads. 
So we're kind of a perfect match, Heidi and I. 

Amy is another lover of Middle Grade fiction and we have nerded out over Percy Jackson on more than one occasion! And will again, I'm sure.
I love reading Amy's reviews because it's like I'm in a conversation with her and I can just feel her personality pouring out of the post. In a non gross way. 
OH and also we bond over the glory that is Avatar: The Last Airbender + The Legend of Korra. BOOM.

AS IF I could skip this lady! I know we are destined for greatness thanks to our mutual love of all Epic Recs so far. The reason why we are doing smashingly with our Epic Recs is because we love all the same books. 
So really when I think of a book to recommend to Gaby all I have to think is "Did I like this? Yes? GOOD." We're done here. 

Now obviously there are lots of other bloggers out there I adore (look to the right to see what I mean), but I can read any review from any of these 5 bloggers and just know that I will have the same feels. Sometimes the internet is just a magical place, you know? 

Review: This One Summer

Title: This One Summer
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
Pub Deets: First Second, May 6 2014
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twitter

In a sentence or so: Rose and her parents make their annual trip to their Awago Beach cottage where friendships and marriages come to the test and girls grow into young adults.

Rose is right on the cups of being a teen, so she's got some angst to spare. Her dad does his typical silly schtick to keep things light, but there's obviously something brewing between him and Rose's mom. Rose keeps out of the cottage as much as possible by hanging with her summer friend Windy and renting scary movies and getting caught up in the townie's drama. Rose has no clue how close to home the drama of the small town of Awago Beach will hit.

Something I absolutely adore about graphic novels is that they are able to convey emotions at an level that transcends the written word because you can actually see the nuanced feelings that are deeper than "joy" or "grief" or "confusion". As such, I'm able to get more emotionally absorbed in a graphic novel much faster than I am with a written book.

THIS ONE SUMMER hits that uncomfortable, but totally realistic, spot in childhood where you're becoming more aware of things around you and people's emotions, pasts, and struggles. Rose and Windy are just different enough in age that Windy is silly and Rose is trying to act like she's all deep. And sometimes, that's true. But most of the time they are both trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world around them.

The illustrations are gorgeous and perfectly match the tone of the story. The frames are at times whimsical, other times stark and barren, depending on the mood.

While THIS ONE SUMMER definitely qualifies as a summer read with the setting and time of year, don't go into it thinking this is a lighthearted romance. However, do not pass this one up for fear of something different or something a bit heavier with a summer setting. THIS ONE SUMMER highlights the strength of relationships, the tension of uncertainty, and the hope of of growing up.

Fave quote: "Then you became you." Pg 31

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