The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

After her mother’s sudden death, Emily is forced to move to Mullaby, North Carolina in order to live with her grandfather, whom she never met before. But when the seventeen-year-old arrives in Mullaby, she is surprised to find out that she’s already the talk of town. The residents act strangely around Emily, because they suspect her to be just like her mother Dulcie. However, Emily doesn’t understand why that would be such a bad thing, after all, her mother was a kind and selfless person. But then, Emily doesn’t really know anything about her mother’s past, since Dulcie has always been so secretive about it. Since her grandfather, a real-life giant, doesn’t want to talk about Dulcie’s past, Emily is determined to learn more about her mother from the residents. But even her new acquaintance Julia won’t tell Emily more about Dulcie, and the heroine becomes more and more suspicious. However, as the story evolves, the seventeen-year-old girl makes some shocking discoveries concerning her mother’s past. What secrets did Dulcie hide from her daughter and why did she never return to Mullaby? Also, why is Emily’s new friend Julia always baking cakes? Does she bake them for someone special? Since everyone in Mullaby seems to behave strangely, Emily feels out of place there. Odd things seem to happen in this small Southern town and the young girl doesn’t know what to believe. From wallpaper that changes to suit your mood and mysterious lights that appear at midnight, to a family who never goes out after dark, Mullaby is a place surrounded by magic and many secrets. When Emily’s questions are answered in the end, the readers will find that nothing is quite as they would have expected, as is the case with all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon is such a fantastic book about forgiveness, lost love, consequences and the haunting shadows of the past. It’s a delightful story about two women who try to find their place in the world and who, in the end, learn that they shouldn’t let the past define them. I loved everything about this book, as it had all the right elements for me – it was magical, charming, engaging, and full of secrets and surprises. Furthermore, I loved all the characters as they draw you in and you begin to sympathize with them from the beginning. I also loved Sarah Addison Allen’s beautiful writing and her vivid descriptions of Mullaby. But what I probably loved most about her book was the fact that it had all these magical elements in it. I must admit that I normally like to read books set in the past, preferably in England as I like to learn more about forgotten times. However, when I heard of this book, I knew I had to read it because it sounded so good. And I am so glad that it was everything I expected and even more! The only negative thing I have to say about The Girl Who Chased the Moon is that it was too short. Why is it that whenever I love a book it happens to be too short? I wanted to learn more about Mullaby and its residents, I wanted to be surrounded by more magic and charm and thus, I was sad when I finished this book. I read it really fast and after I finished reading it, I realized that I should have taken my time with it. But luckily, Sarah Addison Allen will write more books, and I plan to read them all in the future (I only read Garden Spells a few years ago).

I highly recommend this book to everyone out there who likes Magical Realism and to those who like to read a wonderful novel that is full of suspense, mysteries and Southern charm!

Other reviews:

Peeking Between The Pages

Note: I would like to thank The Bantam Dell Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this lovely book!

Andreea

Advertisements

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Some of you may remember that I reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber last year. And you may remember that I loved this book very much because it was beautiful and haunting. I know that I was sad when I finished reading it because I longed for more. Luckily, Percy Parker’s story continues now, as the author has written a sequel, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. The second book in the Strangely Beautiful saga is just as wonderful as the first one and I loved everything about it! But now let’s have a closer look at this lovely sequel:

In The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, we find Percy Parker united with her true love, Professor Alexi Rychman. After many trials and dangers, Percy has now found someone who appreciates her for who she really is and the mysterious girl finally feels accepted and loved. Furthermore, the heroine has also made new friends, the members of The Guard. Percy’s friends stand by her side no matter what nightmares might come and together, they are ready to face the forces of evil that want to overrun Victorian London. However, Percy needs to pay heed, as she will soon have to deal with betrayals, jealousy and revenge. Therefore, our heroine will need to keep faith in order to fulfill her duty and her destiny. Will The Guard be able to protect the young girl with snow-white skin and hair from the dangers that await her? And what about Alexi? Is their love strong enough to overcome any obstacle? Torn between duty and love, Percy realizes that she needs to be brave and strong in order to withstand the great storm that will approach. Furthermore, she needs to trust her instincts as well as her beloved Alexi, because she can only succeed and win the battle against evil if he is by her side!

I wish I could tell you more about this book, but I am afraid that I would spoil the story. Thus, I hope that you’ll pick up these novels and read them, as they are both engaging and intriguing. Just as the first book in the Strangely Beautiful saga, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker will draw the reader in from page one and he/she will sympathize with the protagonists and care deeply about them. Leanna Renee Hieber has again created a fascinating tale full of myth and spiritualism with a touch of gothic and mystery and the author has managed to draft a satisfying and believable sequel that will entrance readers once again. This wonderful second novel is packed with suspense, romance, fantasy and the paranormal and readers will delight in Percy’s story, as there are some twists and turns, as well as other surprises to be discovered!

I must say that I loved this book as much as I loved the first one and I was again very sad when I finished reading it. Also, it occurred to me that I normally don’t read series because I haven’t found one that I actually liked. Thus, the Strangely Beautiful saga is the first one that piqued my interest and I was really excited about this sequel. I wanted to find out more about Percy Parker and her destiny and I must say that I am very pleased with The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker because I liked everything about it – the lyrical language, the beautiful descriptions, the supernatural elements, the Victorian setting and of course the romance between Percy and Alexi. Everything in this book is depicted so vividly and beautifully and the author has created such a special atmosphere, which is full of charm and magic. I can’t really explain it, but while reading these two books, I felt transported to Victorian London and I could imagine being there, together with Percy and The Guard, witnessing all those mythic creatures and ethereal beings.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is an imaginative tale that will appeal to fantasy fans and to everyone who likes to read a fascinating love story set against the backdrop of a dark and mythical Victorian London. For those who want to find out more about the Strangely Beautiful saga (trailers, excerpts and more), please visit the author’s website here.

Note: The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is scheduled for release on the 27th of April.

I would like to thank the author for sending me a signed copy of her wonderful book!

So what about you? Do you read series? What is your favorite one?

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories is a ravishing collection of eight short stories full of charm, magic and wit. These fascinating stories are set in the same England as Susanna Clarke’s bestselling novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the talented author skillfully portrays once again a nineteenth century England where faeries live among humans and where magic is present everywhere. In these spellbinding stories, Susanna Clarke explores the relationship between humans and faeries, showing the reader how the presence of faeries influences humans in different ways.

Here’s more about the eight stories:

The Ladies of Grace Adieu tells the story of three ladies who live in Grace Adieu and who deal with Jonathan Strange and his brother-in-law in their own way, using their magical powers to achieve what they want.

On Lickerish Hill is narrated in Suffolk dialect and is a wonderful retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story where a young wife seeks the help of a faerie creature so she can fulfill her husband’s demands.

Mrs Mabb deals with a young woman whose financé has been enchanted by the Faerie Queen. The young woman is determined to find her finacé who is being held prisoner in Mrs Mabb’s house, but there are many obstacles standing in her way.

The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse was inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and it’s one of my favorite stories. It is set in a village called Wall, which happens to be situated near the wall that separates the human world from Faerie. This funny story shows the reader how the Duke of Wellington accidentally enters the world of Faerie, nearly not surviving his visit.

Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower is a story about a clergyman who finds out that he is related to a powerful fairy lord. In order to rescue the community from his fairy cousin, the clergyman has to match his fairy wits against his relation.

Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby gives an account of the adventures of Tom (the fairy prince) and David (the Jewish doctor). This story particularly explores the relationship between humans and faeries.

Antickes and Frets is one of my favorite stories as it deals with the vengeful Mary, Queen of Scots, who tries to harm Queen Elizabeth by using magical embroidery.

John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner tells the story of John Uskglass (also known as the Raven King) who is harassed by a charcoal burner. This simple man seeks revenge against the Raven King by calling upon various saints.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories has all the right ingredients of great fairy tales – vengeful owls, dark woods, houses that never appear the same way twice and ladies who embroider terrible destinies. Our heroes and heroines have to overcome many obstacles and they have to be careful, as Faerie is a dangerous and wild place!

This wonderful collection is packed with vivid character portraits, wit and intelligence. In addition to that, the author’s original and beautiful writing style will enchant readers and will make them long for more. The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories is certainly a remarkable collection of stories that will sweep you away and astound you. Be prepared to be taken on an unforgettable journey into the magical world of faeries where nothing is quite as it seems.

What I really liked about these stories was the fact that Susanna Clarke has managed to capture so many different relationships – the relationship between sisters, parents, friends, but also the relationship between humans and faeries. The characters are very charming and you can’t help but feel sympathetic to them. But what is probably the most attractive thing when it comes to this collection of stories is the author’s writing style. It’s so unique and masterful and it will remind you of Jane Austen’s prose as both are highly formal and witty. Furthermore, Susanna Clarke offers the reader a number of different viewpoints, thus, achieving a various number of effects that will most certainly appeal to readers who appreciate an eminent storytelling.  

Nonetheless, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories will not appeal to everyone, as not everyone will delight in this sort of genre. However, this collection of magical stories will certainly make Neil Gaiman fans and fantasy lovers happy, as they will adore Susanna Clarke’s distinctive and bewitching voice! As for my part, I must say that I just loved The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories and I can’t wait to read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in the near future. Susanna Clarke is now one of my favorite authors and I am looking forward to reading more works by this marvelous author! I have never read anything like this before and I think that’s why I found The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories so special and captivating!

If you want to find out more about Susanna Clarke and her work, please visit her website here. The site has many features, including a section where you can read the short story The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse (which I mentioned above). Click here if you want to read it and if you want to acquaint yourself with Susanna Clarke’s brilliant writing style.

Have you read Susanna Clarke’s bestselling novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell? If so, did you like it? Also, what is your favorite fantasy novel?

Note: I would like to thank Peter Miller from Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me a copy of this engaging collection!

Ruby’s Spoon by Anna Lawrence Pietroni

When Jackie at Farm Lane Books mentioned Ruby’s Spoon, it immediately aroused my interest and I absolutely wanted to read this book. Therefore, I was very happy when Kristina Miller from Spiegel & Grau sent me a copy of this great book!  

Ruby’s Spoon is a suspenseful novel revolving around Cradle Cross, a small town in England in the 1930’s. The industrial town is dominated by a declining button factory that has a scary reputation. With its close-knit community, its old-fashioned villagers and their unwritten rules, Cradle Cross is a town where time seems to have stood still. So when a stranger named Isa Fly arrives into town in order to track down her half-sister, everyone is sceptical. From the start, she seems to attract people like a magnet. There’s just something mysterious about Isa, and she seems to cast a spell on everyone she meets. She seems to have bewitched Ruby, a thirteen-year-old girl who is immediately willing to help Isa find her half-sister. Ruby is drawn to Isa and she constantly feels the need to be around her. The young girl seems to long for Isa’s attention and her approval and she wants to help Isa at all cost. But Ruby hopes that she will get something in return – namely that Isa will take her to the sea, if they find Isa’s missing person. Although she senses that there is more to it than meets the eye when it comes to Isa’s arrival in Cradle Cross, Ruby still wants to help this secretive stranger, because she hopes to go away with her. Ruby wants to get away from Cradle Cross because she feels alone there. Her mother has died when she was younger and she has no real relationship with her father. Ruby lives with her grandmother Annie, who is too overprotective and who doesn’t show Ruby any affection. Annie has to deal with a lot of grief as she tries to fight the demons of her past, and she doesn’t really know how to handle Ruby. As a result, the young girl feels neglected and that’s why she feels drawn to Isa. The fascinating woman gives Ruby the attention she needs and takes her seriously. Thus, the curious girl is determined to ask the villagers many questions in order to assist Isa with her search. But the narrow-minded villagers don’t like the fact that Ruby wants to help a complete stranger and they think that Isa’s arrival in town has nothing to do with a missing relative. They think that Isa has to hide something and they begin to be very suspicious of her. The village residents begin to be afraid of Isa and they think that she’s responsible for the misfortunes that have happened lately in Cradle Cross. Moreover, they think that she’s a witch and therefore, the prejudiced villagers won’t leave Isa alone until they have found out why she has really come to Cradle Cross. When many rumours emerge and acts of violence occur, Ruby doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything and she bravely defends Isa against all those cruel accusations. However, what Ruby doesn’t know is the fact that she puts herself in great danger while trying to support Isa. How far will Ruby go to help her friend? And will she be able to unravel Isa’s dark secrets?  

Well, you’ll have to read this engaging book if you want to find out. All I can say is that Ruby’s spoon is the key to everything.  

With Ruby’s Spoon, Anna Lawrence Pietroni has created a fascinating fairy tale with a dark and mystic atmosphere. Cradle Cross is a place where people still believe in witches and mermaids; it’s a town where people hold on to their talismans for protection and perform rituals in order to deal with their grief. The residents of Cradle Cross are hostile to outsiders and they easily find a black sheep when something goes wrong. So when Isa arrives in town, they see that she is different, that she does not belong there, and hence, she is held responsible for all the mishaps. Moreover, they don’t like the fact that she can easily attract so many people with her unique charm. Therefore, they spread rumours about her and even act violently just to take revenge.  

I really found it interesting to read about Cradle Cross and its residents. It made me think about such places and I am sure that even in today’s society, there are still small towns out there, where people are prejudiced and hostile to outsiders.  

Ruby’s Spoon is a magical tale about loss, prejudice, abandonment, revenge and dark family secrets. The novel’s characters are very appealing and the plot is very captivating. As soon as you start reading this book, you will be eager to find out what happens to the protagonists. I really liked this novel and I highly recommend it to everyone out there!