Reading · Reviews

Book Review: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

The Lost Season of Love and Snow is about Russian poet Alexander Pushkin’s wife Natalya. I loved this book and recommend it to fans of Russian history, controversial female figures, and historical dramas. While it is heavily character driven, the book kept me riveted. I can see this appealing to fans of books such as The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence and My Dear Hamilton.

Alexander Pushkin is Russia’s most famous poet. When he dies from wounds inflicted in a duel meant to protect his wife’s honor, Natalya is blamed for his death. The story explores Natalya’s story from how she met Alexander, their dramatic marriage, and his death and the events leading to it. While there is tragedy to this book, the romance helps keep the book from becoming too dark and gloomy and while avoiding spoilers, the ending let’s you walk away on a positive note. Continue reading “Book Review: The Lost Season of Love and Snow”

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Reading

Greek Mythology Book Recs

Ever since I was a kid I loved Greek mythology. I read everything I could get my hands on and then when I moved into my teen years I started reading romance that included Greek mythology elements. These days I love books that play on the famous stories of mythology and ancient Greece while keeping them in Ancient Greece. Below I’ve included some of my favorite recent reads as well as books I’m looking forward to reading this year.

First up is the author Madeline Miller. She is the queen of Greek mythology in my opinion. She even got her BA and MA in Classics. This year I read her books Circe and The Song of Achilles and they were fantastic. You can read my review of Achilles here. Both stories are set in the world I’ve always imagined them taking place in, which is Ancient Greece with a dash of magic and vengeful gods. Continue reading “Greek Mythology Book Recs”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Across the Universe

Here is another young adult science fiction read! Across the Universe by Beth Revis has a lot of similarities with the movie Passengers but aimed at a young adult audience. Overall I give it 3.5 stars. While this book is the first in a series, I have no plans to continue. If you are a fan of Passengers than this could be the book for you, if not I don’t recommend picking this one up.

Amy is frozen cargo aboard a spaceship. She isn’t supposed to wake up until the ship reaches a new planet, but she wakes up 50 years too early and other cargo passengers are dying. She fears her parents could be next. Even worse, the ship is full of secrets and run by a cruel dictator she hates. Basically the plot is very similar to Passengers with one big difference: there are other people awake on the ship. Generations of people run the ship and the danger lies within other people instead of a malfunctioning ship. The love story runs in a similar vein with the same reason for Amy waking up early. Continue reading “Book Review: Across the Universe”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction lately after not touching any for a year or two and I’m loving this step back into the genre. One of my latest reads was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. It’s a young adult book and perfect for teen readers looking to get into something lighter on the science side with an emphasis on the human experience instead.  This was a 4 star book out of 5 for me and I found the overall premise fresh. It was also a quick read, which I appreciated since so many books in the genre tend to be on the long side.

The book follows Romy Silvers, a teenaged girl stuck alone on a space ship after her parents died. The mission is to colonize a new planet, but Romy struggles to cope with being alone. Then she finds out a second ship is on the way and will soon catch up with her. Her excitement fades to horror as she realizes there are worse things than being alone. Now if you read the blurb for the book, you might expect a romance, but this isn’t a romance and it isn’t a book I’d recommend for anyone looking for a sci-fi romance. Continue reading “Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Ivory and Bone

Ivory and Bone is a young adult novel set during the Ice Age. It’s the first of a series with the next book in the series, Obsidian and Stars, already out. Overall I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I’ve been craving books set during the Ice Age and I wish there were more of them, but I admit I had a few hangups with this book while reading. However I still look forward to reading Obsidian and Stars.

Ivory and Bone is about a teenager named Kol who is searching for a bride while finding his clan caught up in a war between two other clans. First off this book does a great job of bringing to light some of the struggles teenagers during the Ice Age would have dealt with, like the main character Kol searching for a bride amongst other clans because there aren’t enough girls in his clan. This book also tackles the issue of the number of mammoths dwindling, making survival a struggle for those who relied on them. The setting of this book is what made the story was the books biggest strength in my opinion. Continue reading “Book Review: Ivory and Bone”

Editing · First Chapters · Reading · Writing

First Chapter Pet Peeves

As an editor and a literary agency reader I read a lot of first chapters. Like A LOT. I’ve blogged about types of openings to avoid before. There are a few openings and issues I spot in first chapters all the time that instantly turn me off a book because I see them so often and they simply don’t grab my attention.  I’m going to tell you some of my first chapter pet peeves and exactly why they don’t work for me.

Starting a story with a character waking up. I see this way, way too often. Usually when I see it the character is waking from a dream or their phone wakes them up in the middle of the night. This opening doesn’t work for me because A) I’ve seen it so often it has become cliche, and B) it doesn’t grab my attention. I want to get to know your characters right away.  Start me with something more unique to them and their story and not something that could be used for any character. Similar to this beginning is starting with a character’s daily routine. It isn’t attention grabbing. Continue reading “First Chapter Pet Peeves”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Semiosis

Recently I’ve gone on a science fiction kick in my reading and can’t get enough of it. Semiosis is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. Sometimes I have a habit of zooming right through books, but every few chapters I found myself putting this book down to turn the story over in my mind. This is very much a character-driven book, and I usually prefer plot driven, but I loved this book and it is high on my list of favorite sci-fi reads and the title is perfect for this book. This one gets five stars from me.

Semiosis is about a group of people aiming to colonize a new planet. The story follows the struggles of the colonists, giving readers a deep look at the growing pains the colony has to get through to survive and how they handle living alongside intelligent plants. Semiosis takes place over seven generations of colonists, with a new narrator for each generation, starting with the very first generation to land. Each generation has a new problem to deal with as the colony grows and makes progress alongside the intelligent plants on the planet. This book focuses more on the relationship between characters and the human aspect instead of the science and technology aspect, although enough science is explored to help the story feel grounded. Continue reading “Book Review: Semiosis”