Must Read Mondays: July 31st

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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cover; links to goodreads

 

When I read it: June 2017

Genres: fantasy

Recommended for: I’ve been recommending this to everyone I know who reads fantasy at all.

My review

 

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository

 


What it’s about:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Guests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.


This was one of those books I finished and then talked ad nauseam about for weeks. Actually, I’m still talking about it, every chance I get, and I might even gift it to a couple of people. I love that it’s a novella, I love how unique it was, I loved the characters, I loved the writing…I just loved it. I borrowed it from the library, but ASAP I’m getting a copy because I think this is one I’ll definitely be re-reading.

The second book in the series, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is out now, so I’ll be getting it, too. (I’m actually probably more excited about it than I was about this one because I think it focuses on my favorite character–Jack–and I need more!)

While it it part of a series, I think you could absolutely read Every Heart a Doorway as a stand-alone. It was complete by itself, and I think the other books are all going to be companion stories, not necessarily sequels.

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T5W: Books Without Romance

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

July 5th: Books Without Romance
— A few (very, very few) people complained about the “shipping” topics lately, so I thought it would be good to talk about books that don’t have a romantic subplot! This is a really hard one, so if you can’t find any, you can talk about some where the romance is super super minor. Like barely mentioned… at all…

 

I thought this topic was going to be really difficult, but after I started thinking about it, my problem was narrowing it down to only five books that I couldn’t remember having romance.

Here we go, in no particular order, as usual…


 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab– One of my all-time favorite books that I try to make everyone I know read ❤

 

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire– Ok, so there might have been some flirting or something in this novella, but no actual romance-romance

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams– Another all-time favorite that I try to force on everyone (and probably feature way too often). I think there was some romance(ish?) later in the series, but it was so minor I’m not even sure it was there

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick– This book of 4 kinda connected stories didn’t–if I remember correctly–have any romance, but it’s possible I’ve forgotten. If I did forget it, it’s because the romance was super minor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie– I don’t remember romance in this, but it’s been several years since I read it. All I do remember clearly is the ending and how this book made me think, “Hmm, maybe I could like mysteries…” and now I actively seek them out somewhat regularly.

 

 

 

 


What are some of your favorite books with no romance?

 

Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

255262961

cover; links to goodreads

Genres: fantasy

Why I read it: The description really intrigued me. I mean, what lives are like for the kids who go through magical doors and then come back to our world? Yes, please!

Who I’d recommend it to: Almost anyone who likes fantasy, but especially other people who have wondered what it was like to go to a magical other world, then come back here.

 

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.


Review:

I’ve seen this book everywhere online, and it felt like I was the last person to read it. It was on my TBR for a long time before I finally got a copy from the library, but then I was so not in the mood for fantasy I almost didn’t read it. *sigh* I hate genre slumps. But, finally, the night before it was due back, I couldn’t sleep and opened it to give it a shot. Then I ended up staying up all night because I couldn’t stop reading even though my eyes were burning.

The concept of this book is something I don’t think I’ve encountered before, but I’ve always wanted to. I mean, what was life like for Alice, or the Pevensie kids, or any other children/young adults who’ve stumbled through a magical doorway, had some adventures, but then come back to their original world? Every Heart a Doorway kind of gives us an idea of what it would be like. (Although I think in this book, most of the doors we’re familiar with were considered fiction.)

All of the characters were so unique, and dealt with coming back to this world in different ways, and they all had personalities shaped (at least in part) by their time spent in whatever world they’d been in. There were different categories for the types of worlds kids had visited, and some had more in common than others, even if their worlds were kind of categorized similarly. One thing that all of the kids had in common was that they were back in this world, but really wanted to find their doors again and go back to what they considered their real homes. It was kind of sad, and I wanted all of them–even the characters I didn’t like–to find their doors again to go home.

The writing was beautiful and atmospheric, and I loved it. The whole novella had a little bit of a creepy vibe to it (not like in horror stories, but it was definitely not fluffy all the time), which was refreshing for me because I don’t find that as often as I’d like in fantasy. (It was creepy, or eerie, in the way the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray was at times, if anyone else has read that and knows the vibe I’m talking about.) I’m pretty sure that once I own a copy of this book, I’ll have tons of sticky flags marking quotes.

I didn’t really love Nancy, but I didn’t hate her. She was just…ok…I guess? I didn’t have anything against her, but I didn’t relate or connect to her as much as I thought I would after learning what kind of world she’d come from. Most of the characters were like that for me, except Jack. I was almost scared of how much I related to Jack at times, and she was absolutely my favorite character. See my love/fear in the tweet below…

tor tweet

To illustrate my feelings about jack

(And yes, I did read the excerpt from Down Among the Sticks and Bones and might have screamed in delight because I’m excited, or frustration because it was not yet released.)

But I digress, so back to actually reviewing the book…

So, the concept was fantastic, the characters were all at least ok (some were fleshed out more than others, some I liked more than others, etc.), the writing and setting were great, and this was, overall, a delight to read. My only real complaint was that it was so short. I’m not really upset that it was a novella, but I would have liked to it to be a little longer. I also had the mystery figured out for the most part very early on, but having it all revealed was still interesting and a little surprising. (I won’t say more because spoilers.) I really want to know more about almost everything from this book, especially a couple of the worlds. (Nancy’s and Jack and Jill’s, in particular.)

Now that Down Among the Sticks and Bones is out, and seems like it’s going to focus on Jack and Jill, I am super excited to get my hands on it. I’m probably going to buy a copy of it and Every Heart a Doorway soon, because I can absolutely see myself re-reading this several times, and probably trying to make husband read it.

For uniqueness, great writing, interesting characters, and a fantastic concept, this has probably earned a place on my list of all time favorites.


If you’ve read it, what did you think of it?

T5W: Book Recs for Ravenclaws

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

June 7th: Books For Your Hogwarts House
— Show your Hogwarts House Pride, and tell us the top 5 books that represent your house!

 

First things first: my Hogwarts house. I think I could be happy in Hufflepuff, but I’m definitely a Ravenclaw. I’m always sorted into Ravenclaw and I think I would be most comfortable there.

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ravenclaw crest

 

In no particular order…


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cover; links to goodreads

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I just think it would appeal to Ravenclaws, especially the ones like Luna.

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Yes, I will find a way to incorporate this into almost every T5W.

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

Four stories, no reading order, and the whole thing is kind of a puzzle. This was the first book I thought of when I thought “Ravenclaw books.”

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

I think Ravenclaws might enjoy a mystery involving theater kids, the Bard, and twists you won’t see coming.

 

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

For the Ravenclaws like me who wonder about what happens to kids who visit other worlds, then end up back here.