Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 4-21-20
Adult - Fantasy

Shorefall- Robert Jackson Bennett: A few short years ago, Sancia Grado would've happily watched her city of Tevanne burn to the ground. She's known nothing but strife and hardship ever since she stepped foot in this cramped city, but now she and her friends, Berenice, Orso, and Gregor are the only ones able to stop a dangerous entity from destroying the very foundations of Tevanne. For Crasedes Magnus, the very first hierophant has been reborn and he'll stop at nothing until he remakes the world. Thousands of years ago, Crasedes was just an ordinary man who stumbled upon the magic of scriving and succeeded in convincing reality that he was something more than human, and has roamed the world like a god ever since, meting out justice and razing civilizations in a bid to cleanse the world of whatever he deems unfit. To beat a god, Sancia and company must unlock a god of their own and discover brand new uses of scriving that will flip the entire world on its head if they're to have any hope of surviving.

The action in this book was relentless and at times frantic but in the best possible way. The events take place three years after those in Foundryside, and we get to see Sancia and the group a little more established and a little more sure of who they are and what they can do which I liked. They all grew and developed and I enjoyed seeing how well they all worked together. You get a sense that they have more to fight for and more to lose if things go wrong. I thought the conflict between them and Crasedes was so intriguing and I liked how as events unfolded, there were moments when you couldn't tell if he was the actual villain or if Valeria was. The dynamic between these two god-like figures worked so well and they each had so many secrets and I loved getting to understand more of their backgrounds and how they came to be entwined together. I still loved the friendships between Sancia, Berenice, Orso, and Gregor, particularly since the bond between them was so much stronger so that when emotional moments happened (and there were quite a few), they hit a lot harder. The only problem I had with this was there were times I felt a little bored despite all the action and found myself not fully focusing on what was going on. Other than that, I still thought this was a strong follow-up and I can't wait to see how the rest of the series will play out.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 5-11-21
Adult - Historical Fiction

Mary Jane- Jessica Anya Blau: Mary Jane is a fourteen-year-old in 1970s Baltimore who loves to cook with her mother, sing in the church choir, and listen to show tunes albums. She's always been a bit sheltered, so she jumps at the chance to become a summer nanny for a local doctor. Mary Jane expects to be working in a respectable home with a respectable family, but what she walks into can only be described as a circus. The Cones are the complete opposite of Mary Jane's family. They're loud, untidy, carefree in their affection-- they even walk around barefoot! As if that wasn't shocking enough, Dr. Cone's patient-- a famous rock star hoping to get clean-- and his wife have also moved in for the summer. While Mary Jane introduces family dinners and cleaning to the household, she gets a front-row look into the liberal world of sex, drugs, and group therapy. By the end of the summer, everything Mary Jane has ever been taught will be turned on its head and she'll learn that there are different ways to view the world and how one doesn't need to be pigeonholed to one ideal their entire life.

If I'm being very honest, not a whole lot happens in this book, but I couldn't get enough. Mary Jane is this young timid girl who was raised in this very conservative almost oppressive family where she never felt like she could express herself, and then she starts working for the Cones who are unlike anyone she's ever met before. Suddenly, she's thrust into this world where people can be whoever they want to be and act however they want, and it allows her to feel free for the first time in her life. I absolutely loved the dynamic between Mary Jane and the Cones (especially the precocious Izzy), as well as Jimmy and Sheba, the rock star and his wife that Dr. Cone is treating. They're all so open and have this lust for life that is so addictive, and it opens Mary Jane up and helps her blossom into her own person rather than who her parents want her to be. Everyone can relate to that adolescent feeling of not fitting in or not knowing what to make of your life, and Blau crafted that into such a beautiful coming-of-age story that is completely unputdownable and just such a joy to read.

Rating: 5/5

Pub Date: 7-20-21
Adult - Thriller

For Your Own Good- Samantha Downing: Teddy Crutcher works at the prestigious Belmont Academy, where even the parents are as ambitiously cutthroat as their children. Teddy has recently won the Teacher of the Year award, which would be high praise if his achievement wasn't overshadowed by the death of a parent at a school function. Usually, Teddy wouldn't bother himself with such trivial things, but when the death is ruled a murder, and one of his students blamed, Teddy can't sit idly by, especially when Teddy knows who the true killer is. And if meddling colleagues and parents get in the way of his plans, Teddy has no issue taking care of them. After all, isn't helping students what teaching is all about?

This whole thing played out like an HBO drama in my head, so I'm very excited that it's being adapted into one. It was captivating right from the start, and I was so here for all the prep school rich people drama. I pretty much read this in one sitting because I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It was so fascinating being in the mindset of these characters, especially Teddy. You could tell that he believes he has the student's best interest at heart, but really he's completely out of his gourd. I also enjoyed seeing the bits with Zach and Fallon, Teddy's current and former students. They each have a bone to pick with the teacher, and I loved seeing them try and knock him down a peg. Downing weaves so many threads throughout this, and they all came together in ways that I wasn't expecting that I loved. While some moments were a little over the top, I still thought this was great. If you like a fast-paced, entertaining thriller that will keep you on your toes, I highly recommend checking this out.

Rating: 5/5


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