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Monday, December 29, 2014

Victoria Reviews: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

I have been dying to read this for over a year, ever since I sailed through the ending of Unhinged only to be left clinging to the side of a cliff for a year as I waited (and waited…and waited!) to hear news of the finale of the Splintered series. And then finally it came. My arc of Ensnared arrived in the mail, and I was beside myself with excitement. I dived right into the story as soon as I could (which was, unfortunately, nearly a month after I received the book because school and finals came along to ruin my happiness), and I say with conviction that the wait was worthwhile. Howard has delivered a fantastic and un-put-downable conclusion to her wonderful trilogy, and it’s even better than I hoped!
I wrote in my review of Splintered that A.G. Howard knows how to write a killer love triangle, and this holds true throughout the trilogy. It’s the question on everyone’s minds: will Alyssa choose Jeb or Morpheus? Which will win her heart, Wonderland or reality? Most love triangles are easy to figure out. There’s usually one guy the main character primarily prefers (think Bella and Edward: did anyone really ever think she’d ever leave Edward for Jacob?). A.G. Howard, however, likes to keep readers on their toes. I spent the entire trilogy trying to figure out which guy to root for, which one might be best for Alyssa. I was just as torn between them as she was, and there was never a moment of certainty about which guy (and which world) she’d end up choosing. Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no spoilers, but I, at least, was very happy with the way Howard chose to conclude this particular conflict.
One of my favorite things about this book was how much time I got to spend in Wonderland and
the Looking Glass World. Once again, no spoilers, but I think it’s okay for me to say that the majority of the book takes place far from reality, and that was a welcome distance. I loved reading about the fantastic world that Howard has created around Lewis Carroll’s original one; her creativity and ability to make Carroll’s worlds her known know no bounds. Howard’s world is her own, but it’s not entirely unrecognizable to fans of the original Alice stories. In fact, I think it’s the intricate links to and twisting of the original story that make Howard’s take so fascinating. She’s clearly done her research: she knows these stories well, and she’s done the originals justice.
I can’t recommend this series enough. To those Splintered fans awaiting this book with bated breath: you won’t be disappointed. To those fans of Carroll’s Wonderland who haven’t read these books yet: what are you waiting for?! Ensnared is up there as one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. It was thrilling, weird, and wonderful, and I’m so excited to have taken the journey with Alyssa through these books. It was a fitting end to a mad ride, and I couldn’t have asked for better.

Ensnared will be released on Tuesday, January 6th!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Frostborn: Thrones and Bones Book 1 by Lou Anders: A Read & Review Club Review

The CHB Read & Review Club is a chance for high school and middle school students who enjoy reading to share the joy of reading with others through reviewing and recommending books. As a bookshop, we often receive special review copies of books in advance of their release dates so that we can review them. However, since we can only read so many books and we value the thoughts and opinions of other readers, CHB is recruiting high school and middle school students who would like to read and review advance reader copies (or arcs) of middle grade and young adult books that we receive, and we'll be posting their reviews here!

Caitlin G. (14) is a Read & Review Club member, and she has written a review of Lou Anders' new book, Frostborn! Check out what she has to say about the book:

Frostborn is the first book in the Thrones and Bones series by Lou Anders.  Anders has beautifully written a fun and energetic middle grade book filled with many adventures. Karn and Thianna are two unlikely friends that are both searching for their own adventures in everyday life. Together they seek out trouble and overcome challenges that they never would have been able to overcome by themselves. They realize through their adventures what they really want to do with their lives, and they also discover the importance of finding who they are as people or frost giants can be. One of the main themes in this book is the importance of friendship.  Finding ways to overlook differences and being able to stay friends through arguments and rough times is capitalized on because of how different the personalities of the characters are.  The people that would enjoy this book are the people that have enjoyed books such as Magisterium by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black and the Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Because of the magic and adventures present in this book and the challenges that relate to the common struggles in life, I recommend this book to people that have read similar books. This book was a very good read and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book in this series, Nightborn.

Thanks to Caitlin for her review!


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