Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Review: Garden Spells

Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1)
Published By: Bantam
Publication Date: August 2007
Page Count: 304
Source: Purchased by Reviewer

I first picked up this novel in 2009 in my pre-Reading Lark reading.  I loved everything about it - the characters, the setting, the plot. As the holiday season swirls in the air, I find myself nostalgic for the Waverley family. The holidays always have a bit of magic to them for me and I love to imagine that anything is possible during that time of year. I decided to brush off my copy of Garden Spells and do a quick reread of my favorite parts while I had some extra time this week. I also felt like this one needed a review since I have already reviewed First Frost, the second book in this series. I'm a big fan of Sarah Addison Allen's work and can only hope there will be more of the Waverley women in our future.

What's Your Status? 11/28/15

Check back each Saturday to find out what's been keeping the Larks busy this week.

Reading Lark's Review Status:

Reading Lark's Post Status:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review: What's Broken Between Us

What's Broken Between Us
Published By: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Page Count: 241
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

What's Broken Between Us is a story told by Amanda Tart, the younger sister of Jonathan Tart who killed his best friend and seriously injured his girlfriend in a drunk driving accident on the night of graduation. Amanda is now a senior in high school, but still living in Jonathan's shadow. She is dating Graham, a senior on the soccer team who is the perfect boyfriend. He shields her from the stares and whispers of the other students at school and tries to be patient and understanding of what she is going through. The problem is, Amanda never really lets him in on exactly what that is. 

Book Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway: The Witch's Market

Top Three Reasons This Looks Like a Great Fall Read:

1. The setting is exotic.
2. The element of the mystical intrigues me. 
3. I'm always looking for diverse characters.

The Shopping Lark #195

Each Friday, Reading Lark is going to feature some new releases each week to help give you some ideas of what to buy next. This is not an exhaustive list of this week's releases - just some novels that caught our eye. Feel free to share what books you're excited about that came out this week in our comments section.

YA Releases for the week of 11/23-11/29:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Review: A Desperate Fortune

A Desperate Fortune
Published By: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Page Count: 519
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley

This novel is one of those that beautifully weaves a contemporary story line with a historical fiction one. I love when authors are able to execute this sort of tale; it blends together past and present in a way that makes for an addicting sort of read for a history nut like me. The historical components of this novel also focus on a time period beyond my expertise. I know little about the Jacobites and their impact on European history beyond a cursory knowledge of their political struggles. I love reading about people and events in history that are unfamiliar.

The contemporary component of this novel follows a young woman named Sara who has Asperger's and struggles to blend in, but prefers solitude. She finds herself being lured from her home in London to accept a job in France working on decoding an old diary written completely in cipher. To make matters more difficult, the source of the cypher is unknown. Sara is leery of the job at first, but soon launches herself into the challenge. To her surprise, she figures out the structure of the cypher and begins to unravel the private thoughts of Mary Dundas, a young woman who lived in the mid 1700's. As Sara discovers the diary's secrets, the historical storyline revolving around Mary comes to light.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review: Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Release date: April 15, 2014
Genre: YA thriller
384 pages
Source: purchased by reviewer

I have absolutely no idea why I am just now reading this book. I am a big fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout, and have been since early on in her publishing career. This title must have just slipped through the cracks of my tbr pile. I can say for certain, however, that I was delighted that there was an Armentrout title available for me to read when I was read to start a new book.

This is a departure from the sci fi and romance that Armentrout is known for. Don't Look Back is primarily a thriller, with a main character who can't remember what happened to her or the best friend who still hasn't been found. Her memory loss persists for most of the novel, and she discovers the world around her right alongside the reader. The mystery is so well done that I had no idea who the perpetrator was until the secret was finally revealed, yet the explanation of motive made absolute sense. I would be excited to see more thrillers by Armentrout hit the shelves.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: Split Second

Split Second (King & Maxwell #1)
By: David Baldacci
Published: Grand Central Publishing
Page Count: 512
Source: Library Audiobook
Audience/Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound

Michelle Maxwell and Sean King seem to have very little in common aside from a career in the Secret Service. But when Maxwell's presidential candidate protectee is suddenly kidnapped, King's experience with the murder of his own proteceee years earlier becomes invaluable when it is revealed that the two cases have some eerie similarities. If you're looking for a great mystery/thriller, filled with political intrigue, a touch of sexual tension, and a few well-placed red herrings, make Split Second your next read. 

Teaser Tuesday: A Desperate Fortune, The Martian Chronicles, Don't Look Back, & Stray

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

"Scottish history, in general?"

"Not much."

"Well now, my country has a complicated past. A group of tribes all trapped together by geography, who'd sooner stab each other in the back than build a nation," was his summary.

~ A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley, Kindle Location 225

"For God's sake, what are you doing?" shouted Garrett, rattling about. 

 "I'm being ironic. Don't interrupt a man in the midst of being ironic, it's not polite. There!"

~ The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, pg. 178-179

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Smoke

Published By: Lake Union
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Fiction

Smoke mainly revolves around two women in a small Colorado town that is battling a wild fire and trying to save the things they hold dearest. Elizabeth is a thirty something whose marriage has hit a snag due to trust issues and fertility complications. Elizabeth isn't sure how things with her husband, Ben, will end up, but the one thing she knows for certain is that fire is in her blood and as the flames inch closer to her home she will do everything in her power to keep the destruction at bay. As Elizabeth battles flames and a crumbling marriage, Mindy, her former best friend, is fighting her own battles. She feels like she's losing her children and trying to fit in with the other parents at the elite high school her kids attend exhausts her. Mindy has devoted her entire life to her family, but she finds that maybe at some point she should have done more for herself.
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