The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

41573546The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

Expected publication: April 9th 2019 by Simon & Schuster

352 Pages

Goodreads Summary: When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.

Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.

Review: Okay, let’s try this again. Long story short, I had a nice, long review ready for this and WordPress deleted it.

I must admit that during the first 25% of this book, I contemplated putting it down and DNFing it. I normally find these types of scenarios fascinating but for some reason I just did not click with this main character, Berie. I felt like she was overly naïve and a bit stupid if I’m being perfectly honest. Who in their right mind would go off with a random guy they met at a bus stop to join his off-the-grid commune in the mountains?! Especially considering the way this guy is described. He sounds super dirty, and a bit slimy. At one point, it was described in detail that his pants are basically water proof because they are never washed and are incredibly grimy. And his feet smell like vinegar. Yeah… no thanks. And yet, Berie seems to idolize him and almost falls in love with him at first sight.

When Berie arrives on the farm, she is told not to talk about the past… the “fake world” as they call it. Everyone has left their “fake world” name behind and have been given a new name by the man who created this family, Dice. Everyone works for the good of the family. Berie, now called Harmony, is put in charge of taking care of the sheep. She tries to gain the trust of both Bay and Dice so she can go on one of their protests. So many crazy things happen that make you really wonder why anybody agreed to live there. Everyone shares everything. Clothes, beds, partners, etc. No couples. No children. No leaving unless given a task or permission.

I was bit underwhelmed by the ending. Shit hits the fan but then it seems to end just as quickly as it began. I felt like the ending could have been drawn out a little more but I don’t want to say how because that would give it away. Overall, I’m kind of in the middle on this book. I didn’t not like it, but I also didn’t really like it. If you are interested in cults and commune type scenarios you might be interested in reading this book.

3 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Happenings

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! Most of my weekend was cleaning house and getting ready for this winter storm that started this morning.  We’re supposed to get 12+ inches where I live.  Not looking forward to it. But anyways…  One of the things I did this weekend when I was cleaning was to tidy and dust my bookshelves.  And I had just enough light to take some photos.

20180120_12304420180120_123109These are only three of my bookshelves but they are the only ones that fit in our office space right now. Eventually when my parents move out, the whole room will be mine so I will be getting my full wall of shelves that I’ve always wanted.  I also took a few closeup shots of some of my favorite shelves.

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My Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings shelf!  I have so many GoT Funkos that I ran out of room and had to move some to the shelf below it.  Same with LOTR.  The Balrog is also sitting on my desktop PC because it’s so big!

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My lovely Laini Taylor shelf!  Definitely going to need more space for some Strange the Dreamer paperbacks and room for the sequel and any other book she writes in the future! And I am still so in love with my custom Karou funko from Cait @ A Page With A View (link to her Etsy shop here)!  She does great work on all her custom Funkos! I NEED to get the Alina and The Darkling Funkos that she has for my Leigh Bardugo shelf!

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Eventually Leigh will need enough space for her own shelf completely but for now she shares with a couple of my other favorites – Susan Dennard and Mary E. Pearson!  Completely random placement for Meiko and Pocahontas, I know, but don’t really have anywhere else to put them at the moment haha.

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I can’t wait to get the new shelves I want because I’m running out of room for my favorite authors! My Jay Kristoff shelf is going to be overflowing this year with LIFEL1K3, Obsidio, and hopefully Nevernight #3 coming out! Plus, I need the Godsgrave paperbacks when those release haha.

Coming up this weekend, Ethan and I are both taking Friday off work for our 6th wedding anniversary and heading up north!  I’m so excited to go back up and the weather is going to be great for this time of year.  I’m really looking forward to some time out in the fresh clean air and just relaxing for the weekend.

In book news, I’m currently reading The Cruel Prince and even though I didn’t get any reading done this weekend I am loving it! Target had it for 15% off on Cartwheel so I ended up picking up a copy on Friday after work.  I’m hoping to get up to a Barnes & Noble sometime soon to try and find a copy of their exclusive black cover edition.

I have a few ARCs in my pipeline as well.  I was recently invited to review three upcoming titles for Ballantine Books, Simon & Schuster, and St. Martin’s Press.


32912154PAPER GHOSTS by Julia Heaberlin (4/17/18) Ballantine Books

An obsessive young woman has been waiting half her life—since she was twelve years old—for this moment. She has planned. Researched. Trained. Imagined every scenario. Now she is almost certain the man who kidnapped and murdered her sister sits in the passenger seat beside her.

Carl Louis Feldman is a documentary photographer. The young woman claims to be his long-lost daughter. He doesn’t believe her. He claims no memory of murdering girls across Texas, in a string of places where he shot eerie pictures. She doesn’t believe him.

Determined to find the truth, she lures him out of a halfway house and proposes a dangerous idea: a ten-day road trip, just the two of them, to examine cold cases linked to his haunting photographs.

Is he a liar or a broken old man? Is he a pathological con artist? Or is she? Julia Heaberlin once again swerves the serial killer genre in a new direction. With taut, captivating prose, Heaberlin deftly explores the ghosts that live in our minds—and the ones that stare back from photographs. You won’t see the final, terrifying twist spinning your way until the very last mile.


36347830SONG OF BLOOD & STONE by L. Penelope (5/1/18) St. Martin’s Press

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


35297405SCHOOL FOR PSYCHICS by K. C. Archer (4/3/18) Simon & Schuster

An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Set in a world very much like our own, School for Psychics is the first book in a stay-up-all night series.


Have any exciting reads that you’re planning or other exciting things in general?

Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

32713479Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

Expected publication: May 16th 2017 by Flux

300 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram’s son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

Review: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I saw this modern YA retelling of my favorite Jane Austen novel I knew I had to read it. I’m in the minority of Austenites with Mansfield Park as my favorite Jane Austen novel so I knew this one wouldn’t quite live up to my hopes for a YA retelling but I kept an open mind. I actually really enjoyed this one. There were a few times when the main characters – Finley Price and Oliver Bertram – got on my nerves a little but that can be explained by my love for the original Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram. Juliette Bertram is just as maddening as the character she is based on (Maria Bertram) and I still find myself drawn towards Harlan (Henry) Crawford.  Although I often found myself comparing the original characters of Austen’s Mansfield Park with their modern counterparts, it does make for it’s own interesting story.  So even if you have never read Jane Austen, I still think you would enjoy this book.  I would definitely recommend this YA Jane Austen retelling to my fellow Austenites who also enjoy YA novels.

4 Stars

Toward A Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

31286001Toward A Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Published April 4th 2017

368 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

Review: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was pretty excited about this book when I found out that the protagonist and I share a name and that it mostly takes place in Scotland. It seemed like it was going to be a thrilling fantastical adventure with the whole battle between angels and demons. And it was fairly enjoyable, and I probably would have liked it more had it not felt so similar to the Premonition series by Amy A. Bartol. A girl loses her last living parent, goes off to a new place and meets a thrilling but mysterious boy who turns out to be an angel and soon finds herself in the middle of the battle between angels and demons…. It was just too similar for me to really enjoy more.  I think that if I had read this book first or not read the other series at all it would have been much more enjoyable so I would still recommend fans of fantasy to check this book out.

3 Stars

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

30649795Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Expected publication: March 7th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

416 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Last year I fell in love with Jeff Zentner’s debut novel, The Serpent King.  So when I heard about his book that would be releasing this year, I immediately added it to my list of books to preorder.  When a sneak peak was released a few weeks ago, I devoured it all the while trying not to cry on my lunch break at work. After reading those first few chapters, I knew I was in for a rough ride.  I’m not even quite sure how to write this review.  Any book that tugs on your emotions as hard as this one is definitely a book you need in your life.  Zentner’s writing is so beautiful and although I have never been to Nashville I could easily picture the places described in this book.  Carver was such an endearing main character.  Throughout the novel he struggles with his three best friends being dead and feeling guilt about how they died.  The three boys had been killed in a car accident that appeared to be caused by texting while driving.  This subject is so devastating that it makes it hard to read.  I think I had tears in my eyes more often than not while reading. I felt as though my heart was constantly breaking.  I did have some laughs when Carver would flashback to funny memories he had with his friends.  This book will definitely make you realize that the lives we have are finite and not to take things for granted, no matter how small they may seem.

5 Stars

P.S. Don’t text and drive.  No text message is important enough to risk your own life or the life of others.  Be safe people. 🙂