Book Talk: A Witch in Time

Title: A Witch in Time
Author:
Constance Sayers
Publisher: Redhook  (Hachette)
Publication date: February 11, 2020
Pages: 448
My rating: 88%

A young woman in Belle Epoque France is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist.

In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — botches a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly binds Juliet to the artist through time, damning her to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history.

Luke Varner, the worldly demon tasked with maintaining this badly crafted curse, has been helplessly in love with his charge, in all her reincarnations, since 19th century France. He’s in love with Nora, a silver screen starlet in 1930s Hollywood. He’s in love with Sandra, a struggling musician in 1970s Los Angeles. And he’s in love with Helen, a magazine exec in present-day DC who has the power to “suggest” others do her bidding.

In this life, Helen starts to recall the curse and her tragic previous lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…

A Witch in Time is perfect for fans of A Secret History of Witches, Outlander, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Hi guys! This is more of an informal book talk on A Witch in Time so I hope you don‘t mind my random rambling.

I randomly picked up ‘A Witch in Time’ a few weeks ago because I was intrigued by the blurb. I’m a sucker for witch stories, and the fact that this book would have three different time lines made me really excited about this book.

Quick summary

The story starts with Juliet, a sixteen-year-old girl who begins a naive love affair with a painter (who initially paid her to be his muse…guess he ltook painting her like one of his French girls a bit too seriously and put it on a whole new level) . Once her mothe finds out, she does what any other good mother would do — she drags her daughter down to the kitchen, performs some painful dark magic on her and, there you go, puts a curse on her daughter’s former lover. Too bad she accidentally curses her daughter too. This is where we get to the juicy part: How did she know this sort of magic? And how could this curse go wrong so badly? Too bad Juliet now gets reborn every time she dies and will probably never find out the reason because death has a way of finding her.

Present day Juliet, now called Helen and a recent divorcee, doesn‘t remember a single thing about her past. It‘s only until she meets Luke Varner that her memories come flooding back (the physical consequences low-key reminded me of The Butterfly Effect) and from there we are taken on a wild ride.

My thoughts

This book put me on an emotional rollercoaster. It‘s hard to put it into one box because it has a little bit of everything — fantasy, romance, historical fiction and so much more. What initially seems to be a simple curse only, quickly turns into a much darker story where the lives of Helen/Juliet versions, Luke and Auguste Marchant are unevokably connected to each other.

A Witch in Time is a fascinating read, but what makes it even more intriguing is the character growth each character experiences throughout time. With nothing but a little bit of guidance from Luke as well as her own ‘memories’, Helen is pushed through a series of unfortunate events in her past lives. While she initially wasn’t the most likable character I have ever met (she was a little bit too posh for my taste and living the bougie D.C. lifestyle), she did go through significant changes in a very short time and it surprised me how much character depth the author was able to project on her in this very short period. Even though all four ‘Juliets’ that we meet throughout history bear the same soul, all of them are their own person in their own right. As Helen slowly unveils the secrets to her pasts and the mystery surrounding her mother, she is thrown into a web of betrayal, unrequited love, cruel reality and hope. It was fascinating to follow the different leads that inevitably accumulate in tragic events that shaped the future and curse of Helen forever. It was even more interesting to see how the different side characters have evolved over time, uncovering the different layers to them which at times really surprised me.

I love how the author was able to lead the characters through different times and locations — from late 1890s Paris to 1930s Hollywood, to 1970s LA to present D.C. — the reader is instantly wrapped into the richness of history and the author’s love for details. There is so much charm in every single page and I love how each time epoch read like a single story, yet every story is also connected back with present-day Helen. It was like a quick rewind through history, and with the nostalgic and almost melancholic, at times unexpectantly hilarious writing style, I slowly grew to love the world the author has created.

I expected the story to be much more fantasy-heavy but it was the star-crossed element to the book that was the soul of the story— a bittersweet tragic love story with people that are cursed to experience losses over and over again. It’s a story about trust and friendship and what can happen if you test fate.

The ending

It would be a lie to say that I weren’t blown away by the ending. It was neither predictable nor kitschy and instead gave the reader just the right amount of hope and sweetness. I’m so glad the book had an epilogue — I don’t think I could’ve slept the next few days if we didn’t get to see the last peek at Helen’s future. One of the most unexpected reads that I’ve grown to love during social distancing!

Btw, I cried about 5 times while reading the book and that’s even a high for me as an emotional reader

5/5 stars // 88%

Book Talk with Tessi: THE FALLEN PRINCE

TFP RWB Banner.jpg

I am more than THRILLED to be part of the blog tour in celebration of Amalie Howard’s The Fallen Prince book release! In case you didn’t know, TFP is the second book in The Riven Chronicles, following The Almost Girl which I liked very much.

talk-that-talk

There is barely any book out there that has left me with such mixed feelings. While the book did not exactly trigger one rollercoaster ride of emotions in me, it still left me breathless in the end. Oh, and can I just say how fascinated I am by the world Howard created?

But let me start from the beginning.

The book picks up about one year after where the story left off, but since no major changes have happened since, Riven is still on the run to find her father. Having read The Almost Girl almost two years ago already, I found it rather hard to get back into the story after such a long time. Of course there were some things that I still remembered from The Almost Girl such as Riven being a badass fighter/assassin or her inner struggles after the loss of many loved ones; nonetheless I did wish the book would have provided some memory aids especially in the first one or two chapters.
Unlike the first book, The Fallen Prince focuses on more serious themes than the first one. It revolves more around the question of how human Riven is rather than on how willing she is to save herself and her loved ones. You can tell that Riven has matured a lot by gaining more responsibility and empathy instead of focusing on her senses only. I often wished however that she would have just let her stubbornness go instead of keeping all of her anger to herself. That probably would have made the plot more exciting since the first half of the book was pretty predictable to me. There were times where she reminded me more of an unforgiving attack dog than a badass fighter but after all she has been betrayed by a lot of people.
We are also introduced to new characters who — like the other secondary characters — came a little too flat in the beginning. Maybe it is inevitable due to the book’s technology theme, but it sometimes felt that the book’s atmosphere was too clinical, leaving not a lot of space for emotions and big character developments.

On the romantic side, Caden and Riven are obviously still hot for each other (like really hot!) but again, I sometimes felt that Riven’s voice drifted too much to that of little whiny girl again. Caden is one of the few characters who can make her self-conscious, but instead of admitting to all of her feelings, she decides to let rationality run over emotions. This of course made Riven a fiercer and determined character but it also turned the book more into a one (wo)man show — which is not necessarily bad but it might have allowed more space for the secondary characters. (Note: I love badass heroines. Riven is a perfect example of why you only need yourself to be strong, but love can make you even stronger!)
Then on the other hand, I often asked myself if I would have acted differently if my DNA has been altered and changed. It always raised the question on how far scientists would go in order to create the perfect fighter.
However the book still follows a very fast-paced plot so the reader is literally thrown back into the story with no time to question small details. The last hundred pages or so are so worth of the reader’s patience. It didn’t fail to surprise me with new twists, more action-packed scenes, intrigues, new betrayals. You know what makes a good villain? If the villain has a deep motive to be evil and is convinced that whatever he does, it is for the good. The way they were shaped in the book — so three-dimensional — I couldn’t help but admire the author’s evil genius brain for coming up with such huge plot twists.

Overall, I still find it hard to give a proper review on the book without revealing too much. The book showed pieces of the best but also of the worst of humanity, making it so much more than ‘just’ a YA scifi book. Also, the world-building was the perfect blend of technology, scifi and fantasy. While there weren’t any dragging parts in the book, the first half of the book was still very predictable and foreseeable. However, the questions that were raised throughout the book — how far can science go? What makes a human human? — make up for the little ‘flaws’ in the story, adding a deeper meaning to the whole story. If you are looking for a book that is one of its kind, this one is for you.

Riven has fought for a hard-won peace in her world, and has come to shaky terTHE FALLEN PRINCE - coverms with who and what she is—a human with cyborg DNA. Now that the
rightful ruler of
Neospes has been reinstated, Riven is on the hunt for her father in the Otherworld to bring him to justice for hiscrimes against her people.

But when she receives an unwelcome visit from two former allies, she knows that trouble is brewing once again in Neospes. The army has been decimated and there are precious few left to fight this mysterious new threat.

To muster a first line of defense, her people need help from the one person Riven loathes most—her father. But what he wants in return is her complete surrender.

And now Riven must choose: save Neospes or save herself.

Get the book here, here, here, here or here.

Amalie Howard - headshot

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national silver IPPY medalist. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Witch Hunter

WaitingonWednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, focusing on unreleased books we are excited for!
This week I picked:

 The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

WitchHunterThe magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. When she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to die at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can track down the person who laid a deadly curse on him.

As she’s thrust into the world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and all-too-handsome healers, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Publication date: June 2, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I’m currently so into fantasy books, I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Okay, not really. But have a look at the blurb, doesn’t it sound ridiculously intriguing? And OMG, the cover!!! It’s so different from all the YA covers I’ve ever seen but I think it perfectly captures the mysterious-ness in this book, even though I haven’t read it yet (and it looks a little bit Illuminati). If you happen to have an arc of this book, feel free to send it to me LOL.

What did you pick for this week? Let me know in the comments or send me the links to your own post!

Waiting on Wednesday: Arcana

WaitingonWednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, focusing on unreleased books we are excited for!
This week I picked:

 Arcana by Jessica Leake

ArcanaA romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.

Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.

But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.

With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?

Arcana

I love books which are set in the Edwardian era because, I mean, there’s just something about all the balls and the fashion and the society as a whole during this time. There’s also some magic included in this book (yay!), but the concept of it sounds so different from all the books with witches in them I’ve read before!

What did you pick for this week? Let me know in the comments or send me the links to your own post!

Waiting on Wednesday: Snow Like Ashes

WaitingonWednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, focusing on unreleased books we are excited for!
This week I picked:

 Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

SnowLikeAshesA heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Publication date: October 14t, 2014 by Balzer + Bray

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)

I’m not lying when I saw that this book is probably one of my most anticipated book releases this year ever since I saw other bloggers raving about this one. I mean, just read this brilliant review over on Reading Lark. It makes me regret I was too lazy to apply for an arc when I saw it up on Edelweiss. Anyway, the cover just looks so pretty as well!

What did you pick for this week? Let me know in the comments or send me the links to your own post!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Young Elites

WaitingonWednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, focusing on unreleased books we are excited for!
This week I picked:

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

TheYoungElitesI am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Publication date: October 7th 2014 by Putnam Books for Young Readers

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

I just recently discovered the high fantasy genre for myself but it’s seriously so addictive! There’s just something about this genre I can’t describe. And well. Since Legend we’ve obviously all been in love Marie Lu’s writing, haven’t we?

What did you pick for this week? Let me know in the comments or send me the links to your own post!

 

Rezension: Dark Love

DarkLoveTitel: Dark Love
Autorin: Lia Habel
Verlag: Piper
Seitenzahl: 512
Kurz und knapp: Bombastischer Weltenaufbau

Ein Wettlauf mit der Zeit und eine große Liebe, die keine Grenzen kennt: Flackernde Gaslampen, dampfbetriebene Kutschen und digitale Tagebücher – das ist die Welt der Nora Dearly im Jahr 2195. Die 17-jährige Vollwaise lebt im Internat, bis sie eines Tages entführt wird. Denn ein Virus greift um sich, das Menschen in lebende Tote verwandelt. Und Nora trägt als Einzige die Antikörper in ihrem Blut. Bald muss sie feststellen, dass es auch wandelnde Untote gibt, die sich ihre Menschlichkeit dank eines Antiserums erhalten können. Und Bram, ihr Entführer, ist einer von ihnen. Nora verliebt sich in den jungen Mann, aber die Endlichkeit seiner Existenz bedroht ihre Liebe. Nur Noras längst tot geglaubter Vater, ein hochrangiger Wissenschaftler, könnte ein Gegenmittel entwickeln, doch er ist selbst infiziert und droht zu sterben. Ist Noras Welt dem Untergang geweiht?

AbtrennungObwohl es ungefähr drei Monate lang gedauert hat, bis ich das Buch zu Ende gelesen habe, muss ich dennoch sagen, dass mir das Buch insgesamt sehr gut gefallen. Genau genommen ist Dark Love ein bombastisches Buch und ich könnte tagelang von der Welt schwärmen, die Lia Habel erschaffen hat!

Nora ist keine Hauptcharakterin, mit der ich direkt warm werden konnte. Ganz im Gegenteil: Anfangs als rebellisch gegenüber den Konventionen ihrer Zeit, sturköpfig und starrsinnig mit feministischen Ansätzen dargestellt, war mir ihre Art zu Beginn irgendwie zu…krass. Ich weiß nicht, wie ich es anders beschreiben soll, jedoch hat man häufiger den Eindruck, dass Nora zu hart für eine Heldin ist; dass die Autorin bewusst eine perfekte knallharte und unerschrockene Protagonistin erschaffen wollte, um einen Kontrast zur immer nur auf die Etikette achtenden neuviktorianischen Heuchler-Gesellschaft zu schaffen.
Dies sollte sich aber schnell ändern: Mit ihrer offenen und aufgeschlossenen Art konnte sie mich (und Bram) schnell für sich einnehmen und bringt willkommene Abwechslung in dem strengen Militärstützpunkt der Rebellen, wohin sie “entführt” wird. Tatsächlich stellt sich jedoch bald heraus, dass die Rebellengruppe – eine Mischung von Menschen und “guten” Zombies – nicht so schlecht ist wie es anfangs scheint — viel mehr bekämpft sie sogar die “bösen” Zombies, die Noras Heimatstadt in Verzweiflung stürzen.

Was mich ab und an gestört hat, sind die abwechselnden Perspektiven, aus denen die Geschichte erzählt wird. So habe ich zunächst angenommen, dass wir das Geschehen im Buch nur aus der Sicht von Nora und Bram mitverfolgen würden, aber nein! Insgesamt gibt es ungefähr sechs Perspektiven — sogar aus Sicht der Bösewichte. Gerade dieser Aspekt war wahrscheinlich einer der Gründe, warum ich so lange benötigt habe, das Buch zu beenden — kurz, nachdem man sich an die Erzähl-/Sichtweise gewöhnt hat, wird man aus diesem Lesefluss wieder rausgerissen. Allerdings hat der Perspektivenwechsel auch den Vorteil, dass man sich viel schneller mit Nebencharakteren anfreunden kann: So wirkt zum Beispiel Pamela, Noras schüchterne, verarmte und schnell einzuschüchternde beste Freundin, nicht mehr so eindimensional und mausert sich nach und nach zu eine mutige Heldin, die nicht mit den Wimpern zuckt, um Zombies zu töten.

Allgemein sind die Zombies so überhaupt nicht, wie man erwartet: So ist bei einem Zombie der Kiefer längst ab und wird durch Drähte ersetzt; bei einem anderen Zombie fehlt der ganze Kopf. Diese bewusste Anti-Makellosigkeit und Anti-Attraktivität konnte mich sehr beeindrucken, da trotz allem die Dynamik zwischen Menschen und Zombies offensichtlich funktioniert, genau wie die Menschlichkeit bei den guten Zombies noch immer intakt ist — auch in Sachen Liebe. 

Was mich zudem zutiefst beeindrucken konnte, war Lia Habels Liebe ins Detail: Die Welt, die die Autorin erschaffen hat, war fesselnd von Anfang bis zum Ende. Man spürt richtig, wie sehr sie die Welt liebt; kein Detail ist zu viel, keine Beschreibung zu wenig: So ist gesellschaftliche Ordnung in der Dark Love-Welt war lange nicht so spießig wie ich erwartet habe. Oder besser: Die Menschen sind spießig, jedoch konnte ich mich schnell mit dem Hintergrund des Gesellschaftsaufbau anfreunden. “Schuld” daran war u.a. die Ausführlichkeit, mit der Lia Habel die Geschichte der neuviktorianischen Welt in der Zukunft erläutert: So ist die Gesellschaft nicht immer so gewesen, sondern stand sogar kurz vor dem Untergang. Um Ordung sowie eine Art Konstanze und Orienterungspunkt wieder zu haben, bezog sich die Menschheit wieder auf die Sitten und Normen des Viktorianischen Zeitalters und voilà, die neue Gesellschaft ist entstanden — für mich jedenfalls ist dies ein sehr plausibler Grund für den ungewöhnlichen Weltenaufbau in der Zukunft.

Ein weiterer Pluspunkt in diesem Buch ist eindeutig der Schreibstil. Anstatt einer kitschigen gehobenen Sprache, von der ich gedacht habe, dass sie aufgrund des “Zeitalters” verwendet werden würde, überzeugt die Autorin mit einem lockeren und ungezwungenen Schreibstil, der sehr angenehm zu lesen ist. Tatsächlich wird sogar relativ viel Slang unter Noras ungefähr gleichaltrigen Zombiefreunden im Buch verwendet, sodass ich doch an der einen anderen Stelle schmunzeln musste. So löst sich die anfängliche statische Situation, in der sich Nora im “Zombiestützpunkt” befindet, nach und nach auf und wird durch eine Dynamik ersetzt, die ich nicht erwartet hätte.

Was die Romantik im Buch angeht, muss ich ehrlich gesagt gestehen, dass ich ihr gegenüber etwas skeptisch gegenüberstand. Wie schon bereits oben erwähnt, bin ich normalerweise nicht der größte Anhänger von Zombie-/Steampunkliteratur und war dementsprechend gespannt, wie die Autorin die offensichtliche “Distanz” zwischen Bram und Nora überbrücken würde. Dass sich beide auch sofort gewissermaßen zueinander gezogen fühlen, trug auch nicht zu meiner Begeisterung bei.
Die Zweifel sollten sich aber glücklicherweise als unnötig herausstellen, denn: Die Romantik in diesem Buch war aber mal sowas von genial! Da Bram ein relativ steifer Mensch Zombie ist, ergeben sich viele urkomische Szenen und ich musste mehrmals über die manchmal unbeholfene Interaktion ihm und Nora lachen.

Ich weiß, dass Dark Love auf jeden Fall einer dieser “Hit or Miss”-Bücher ist — für mich war es aber definitiv ein Hit. Zwar bedient sich das Buch vieler Klischees, was viele Leser wahrscheinlich zum Augenrollen bringt; insgesamt ist der Weltenaufbau und die Grundidee der Geschichte jedoch zu innovativ und überraschend spannend, als dass ich das Buch nicht mögen könnte, weshalb ich mehr als bereit dazu bin, über die kleinen Schwächen im Buch hinwegzusehen.

4SchmetterlingVielen Dank an Piper für die Bereitstellung dieses Rezensionsexemplars!

 

Review: The Winter People

TheWinterPeopleTitle: The Winter People
Author
Rebekah L. Purdy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Source
: Arc received from Publisher – thank you!
Pages: 351
In a nutshell: mediocre paranormal read
The Winter People

An engrossing, complex, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, set in a wholly unique world.

Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn’t forgotten their warning to “stay away.” For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the “special gifts” that must be left at the back of the property. Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she’ll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

Abtrennung Have you read the synopsis? Yes? Then you certainly know why I just had to get my own copy of  this book. Lots of romance + a little bit of magic? Heck, yes! I was in the perfect mood for reading this book although it is – in retrospect – a little bit strange now I was reading a book set in winter while it was like 100° hot in Europe.
But there is also another reason why I was really eager to read The Winter People: I don’t like the cold. In fact, if there happened to be a new ice age in modern times again, I believe I would be the first person to die of exposure. I’m serious. To put it straight, my expectations for the book were pretty high since I saw great potential for (as German people like to put it) identifying myself with Salome, the MC in The Winter People.
Then I opened the book, happy to let myself get enchanted by the world building and…I was confused. To say I had some trouble getting into the story with the prologue would be almost an understatement — it was just too unclear from whose POV the story was told, and to be honest, I did not even know if the person was female or male.
The writing, however, improved rapidly (mostly because the POV quickly changes back to Salome’s) and I quickly found myself engrossed in the book. The first 40 pages or something were just magical — I was mesmerized by the winter theme in the book, the danger and yet fascination it posed. I did not even know yet that faeries would play a role in the story — I was simply intrigued with Salome’s curse, the strange voices in her head and I even grew to accept the love triangle in the book (I am not saying I was not annoyed by it…it is just that you quickly figure out with whom she is more likely to end up with.)

Then the apparently inevitable thing happened: A – how do you even call that – love quadrangle (?)!!!! (And yes, you read it right!) I definitely did not see it coming — in fact, it totally took me off guard and basically I was like
Wuut
I did not like it AT ALL. It was an annoying twist to the story. It caused unnecessary fuss in the plot. It made me realize that the romance so far was actually really sweet, in all objectivity, however, really cheesy.
Here’s the thing: All three love interests were just so…mundane. That Nevin guy mentioned in the synopsis? He was like a girl on period and if not, acted like a woman in her menopause. In fact I sometimes even wondered why Salome did not just slap his face because his ambivalence…no thanks. Colton? Please, he was just such a vanilla person — rich, attractive, wannabe-alpha. And the third mysterious guy? I really wish I could have liked him but I just came to simply not care about him.Salome’s character development since then was like nada. I really hoped she would at least learn from her mistakes, to not always trust her “The eyes of love are blind”-heart but ultimately, I felt like she was digging her own grave. She was just another love-crazed character, unable to perform a reasonable action because love solves all problems, right? NOO, I’m not such a naive reader! I would not even dream to sacrifice myself for a boy I only meet a couple of weeks per month.Also, I often felt that the plot was missing some action. I know the book is more about love and romance, but yet I was hoping it would focus more on the curse / paranormal aspect; that we would learn more about The Winter People or the faerie folk in general. I mean, we do get a lot of hints who Salome’s mysterious attacker could be, but in the end, the character only appears for ten minutes or something in the final showdown. You see, underdeveloped plot line with badly-elaborated curse.
And that’s when I realized that the paranormal aspect in the book basically sucked. The faerie theme was really predictable, with its Summer and Winter Court and…well, Purdy basically just picked up on the classical faerie theme in A Midsummer Night’s Dream that many many authors have already used before, without augmenting it or something.

You might expect a bad rating now, but actually, I did enjoy reading The Winter People. Blame it on Purdy’s writing style, but I actually read the book within a day. In fact, I was devouring the book. The world building was clearly poor, but I guess the author has got some talent in depicting the fascination for winter and the invisible tug towards it everyone has certainly experienced before. To be honest, if I had written the review right after I finished the book, I would have definitely given it 4 or even 4.5 butterflies…but I guess my immediate excitement has just cooled down since then.
In the end, the book was more of a so-so read for me since many of Salome’s decisions were just too unrealistic for my taste, considering she is only eighteen years old by the end of the book..but well. Oh, and last but not least, I am happy I do not live in Salome’s world. That’s it.
3Schmetterling

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, focusing on unreleased books we are excited for! This week I picked:

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O’Brien

TheVaultOfDreamers

 

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Publication date: September 16th 2014 by Roaring Brook Press

I really adored the Birthmarked-series by Caragh O’Brien which is why I just can’t wait to read her new series! Truth is, The Vault of Dreamers is probably one my most anticipated book releases this year.

What did you pick for this week? Let me know in the comments or send me the links to your own post!