Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review: The Secret History of Us

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

Released: August 1, 2017
Read: July 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC, 288 pages
Series: Stand-alone

Description on Goodreads:

    Olivia wakes up to realize she doesn’t remember. Not just the accident—but anything from the last four years. Not high school. Not Matt, the guy who is apparently her boyfriend. Not the reason she and Jules are no longer friends. Nothing.
    That’s when it hits her—the accident may not have taken her life, but it took something just as vital: her memory. The harder she tires to remember things, the foggier everything gets, and figuring out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.
    But then there’s Walker. The guy who saved her. The one who broke her ribs pumping life back into her lungs. The hardened boy who keeps his distance despite Olivia’s attempts to thank him.
    With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t even remember living.

Review:
    The Secret History of Us is your generic I-lost-part-of-my-memory-and-now-things-have-changed type of novel. It was a good read, but just that. It wasn't very exciting; it lacked the drive that makes you want to finish the book. I stayed until the end though, thinking that maybe, just MAYBE the plot might pick up a bit or something might pique my interest. No such luck. The ending was satisfying and decent enough, I just wish there was something more. Maybe a bigger, more extravagant plot twist, or a more in-depth examination of the accident.

Favourite Quotes:
  • "Look down into the water below. It's calm. Slick and dark on the surface, giving nothing away. No indication of what happened here. It's been forgotten already. The memory of it washed away with the ebb and flow of the tides, and carried out to the open ocean to be let go."
  • "Pay attention to your attention."
Rating: 4/10

Recommended if you like: memory-loss novels, contemporaries

Keep flipping pages,
Lauren

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Blitz: The Hummingbird Heart



We are so
excited that
THE HUMMINGBIRD HEART
by A.G. Howard is available now and that we get to share the news!

If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author A.G. Howard, be sure to
check out all the details below.

This blitz
also includes a giveaway for a 5 AMAZING Prizes courtesy of A.G. and Rockstar
Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the
bottom of this post.



About The Book:

Title: THE
HUMMINGBIRD HEART
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub.
Date: 
August 15, 2017
Publisher: Golden Orb
Press
Pages: 339
Formats: Paperback,
eBook

Set 19 years after The Architect of Song:

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow
Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions—a holiday resort in England
born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of
the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister
Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she's determined to escape
finishing school along with everyone's efforts to make her a proper lady. The
only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she
tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life.
He can't allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his
amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family's
resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a
transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow
has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes
bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve
the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow
can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true
feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as
unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of
them their lives.


Grab book 1!

Title: THE
ARCHITECT OF SONG
Author: A.G.
Howard
Pub.
Date:
 August 15, 2016
Publisher: Golden
Orb Press
Pages: 425
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
Find it: AmazonGoodreads

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a
ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story
that transcends life and death.


For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated
by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at
risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old
mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she
secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the
name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment
Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form,
singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his
identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.


To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her
fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing
as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning
who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through
romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the
specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her
mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord
Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is
lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love
taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.


International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly
magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of
Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy
series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as -
haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for
self-acceptance, love, and happiness.


New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.


Excerpt:


In the dream, Willow was a child again. With each barefooted step around
the stacks of baggage in steerage, she found them taking on new shapes:
pyramids of clowns, bears, horses and feathered performers, all balanced atop
one another. She was back at the circus, albeit a much hazier and dimmer
rendition than she remembered. She skipped along the center ring, excited to be
home at last. Grit and discarded trash snagged between her little toes. A
spotlight clicked on to illuminate a trunk. From within came a thumping sound,
and girlish giggles.

“Tildey!” Willow cried out, racing across the distance to find her doll,
her pigtails slapping her face and neck upon each bounding step. The creak of
abandoned trapezes swung overhead, cutting intermittently through a thick cloud
of fog. Yet it wasn’t fog. It was tobacco—a stench that seeped into her
leotard, her tights, her very pores, until she could taste it coating her
tongue like bile.

The spotlight shifted from the trunk to a trapeze just above her where a
shape took form in the light: a graceful silhouette in a shimmery leotard and
glistening tutu.

“Mama?” Willow whispered in the dream, forgetting Tildey for the chance
to see her mother perform once more.

The trapeze vanished into thin air but the aerialist continued a controlled
descent toward her, held in place by harnesses attached to the center pole. A
face came into view, painted white like a clown, with bloody eyes and a hollow
of a mouth—stretched wide on a perpetual scream. Willow yelped and squeezed her
lashes shut, willing away the creature … for it was not Mama.

When she opened them again, the freakish performer exploded into a flock
of hummingbirds made of ink. They skittered around Willow, buzzing wings
scraping her skin and hair, imprinting tattoos everywhere they touched. She
screamed and stumbled backwards, bumping into the trunk which was somehow right
behind her. A tinkly, off-key lullaby drifted from inside the giant box. The
lid shook and shuddered, as if something wanted out.

Whimpering, Willow tried to back away, but her feet grew heavy. She
looked down and ballet shoes, covered in steel spikes, swallowed them up. The
empty harness that had held the ghastly aerialist slithered toward her like a
snake, coiling itself around her legs and arms to hold her in place.

On the final haunting strains of music, the trunk’s lid popped open, and
out from the midst rose a hunched old man, holding Nadia’s haunted shoes upside
down. Blood and water gushed out of them—a stench of copper and stagnancy—and
the man laughed with a voice that gnawed into her bones like a thousand
snarling wolves.


About A.G. Howard: 


A.G. Howard
was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always
wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute
to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a
child.



When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening,
and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century
graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.







Giveaway Details: All International
(1) Grand
prize: Signed set of The Architect of Song & The Hummingbird Heart PB
(1) First Place prize: Signed The Hummingbird Heart PB
(1) Second Place prize: Signed The Hummingbird Heart poster
(3) Third – Fifth Place prizes: Signed The Architect of Song
& The Hummingbird Heart swag pack sets
















Ends on August
22nd at Midnight EST!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to let us know what you think!
Your Friends,
The Autumn Bookshelf

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: The Wood

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

Released: August 1, 2017
Read: July 2017
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: ARC, 320 pages
Series: Stand-alone

Description on Goodreads:

    When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told.
    She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad. 
    The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Review:

    The Wood was such a great read. The main character, Winter Parish, is very independent and has a unique personality that I know everyone will love. She always feels the need to help and protect others, especially her mom, while she herself must deal with a hard task of her own: being the guardian of the Wood. Ever since her father mysteriously vanished in the Wood, Winter decided it was her job to find him. When she meets the young and heroic Henry, she discovers that she might actually be able to find out what happened to her dad. This is what made the plot start rolling and it was quite interesting.
    The author of the novel, Chelsea Bobulski, did an amazing job when it comes to world-building. Her descriptions of the Wood make you feel like you are really there, which can be wonderful and creepy at times. This world she's created is like an alternate version of our own. It's beautiful and fascinating. The only downside I found in the novel, is the lack of information on the Old Ones. We never learn how they became immortal, or why they don't guard the Wood themselves. I was left with a bunch of unanswered questions about them that I wished were answered. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Recommended if you like: thrillers, fantasy, romance, time-travel

Keep flipping pages,
Lauren