“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Vincent Brothers

Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that I’m eagerly anticipating.

I’ve been out of the WoW world for the last few weeks due to vacations and computer problems, so forgive me if I’m posting something that you’ve seen a dozen times already. I read The Vincent Boys a few months ago, and completely and irrevocably fell in love. I love this author’s voice, and while I’m so happy The Vincent Boys ended the way it did, I was sad that Sawyer was left with nothing. Thank you Abbi Glines for giving us his story, because the good guys need their happily ever after just as much as the bad ones.

Abbi Glines

Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult (New Adult?)

He may have given her up without a fight, but Sawyer Vincent is far from over losing the girl he’s loved all of his life. Instead of giving up his best friend and the girl he thought he’d spend forever with, he gave Ashton and his brother Beau his blessing. However, adjusting to seeing Ashton wrapped up in Beau’s arms isn’t easy. Complicating everything even more, Ashton’s cousin Lana is in town for the summer. Sweet, kind, soft-spoken Lana, who gets under his skin. Just being near her makes him forget all about Ashton and his broken heart. Lana is everything he wanted Ashton to be except she isn’t Ashton. She lacks the backbone to stand up for herself and confidence that Ashton wears like a crown.

Lana McDaniel has lived her life in her cousin’s shadow. While Lana struggled with her grades no matter how hard she tried, her mother praised Ashton’s intelligence. She hadn’t been blessed with Ashton’s blond hair and flawless skin, but that didn’t keep her mother from lamenting her naturally red hair and freckles. But none of that would have mattered if Ashton hadn’t always had Sawyer Vincent wrapped around her finger — the only boy Lana wanted. Once Ashton let Sawyer go, Lana had been so sure that he’d move on. Determined to make Sawyer finally see her, she’d talked her mother into letting her spend the summer with Ashton. But Sawyer is still in love with Ashton, and Lana isn’t going to be anyone’s rebound girl. No matter how yummy Sawyer Vincent’s kisses taste.

Goodreads Summary

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The Selection (The Selection #1)

The SelectionBy Kiera Cass

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Publisher

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Goodreads Summary

My review may be more spoilery than usual because I’m going to get a little ranty down below and some of what I’m upset about are general things that happen throughout the book. I’m not going to go into specifics unless you’re a good guesser, but be warned anyway.

When a Prince of Illea reaches a marriageable age, the cattle call goes out to the kingdom – if you’ve got a daughter of a certain age, ask her if she’d like to sign up to try to win his hand. Rich, poor – it doesn’t matter what social standing you have, they’re all eligible as long as they fill out the form and have their picture taken. Then the best 35 of the bunch are announced on television and sent to the palace to try to impress Maxon into proposing.

America and her family are artists – painters, singers, sculptors – and they’re poor. Being chosen to be part of the Selection would mean a huge check and likely a big boost in their family’s status. She doesn’t want to sign up though, because she has a secret. She’s in love with a boy who’s even poorer than they are, a match they’d never condone. But she gives in and is shocked to hear her name announced as one of the 35.

Now under a lot of circumstances, I could like a character like America. She’s feisty, loves her family and is intensely loyal to her boyfriend. But Cass took things way too far and made America an absolutely perfect caricature of a character – she’s beautiful and unique but doesn’t know it, kind to everyone, intelligent enough to offer economic advice to the Prince, sweetly humble, the Queen loves her despite having never met her, etc., etc. I’m sure if she wandered into the woods, butterflies would alight in her hair, birds on her finger and deer and rabbits would gather ‘round her skirts.

I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of The Bachelor, but my guess is Maxon is pretty close to those guys, just dressed up as a Prince with some palace sekrits he only shares with America. He’s not terribly deep, talking mostly about how much he hates not being taken seriously as a Prince by his dad one moment, complaining about how boring meetings are not long after that.

So the characters bothered me and oh, there are more issues coming. But even if I liked them, Cass’ writing style drove me crazy at times. If ever there was a perfect example of telling and not showing, this is it. Especially for the first quarter or so of the book, it was non-stop telling. The author also has a tendency to use the characters’ names over and over in close proximity – I guess she doesn’t like pronouns? In one paragraph, in the retelling of an incident between two characters, each character’s name was used twice, a pronoun once. In one paragraph.

I don’t rant, not really. And this is going to be pretty tame because it’s tempered by the fact that overall, the book wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read. But there were some things that just made me angry in ways that I can barely figure out how to fit them into the review in a coherent way. So I’m just going to throw them out there.

This was not a dystopian. Was the label slapped on there because the palace was attacked a few times by some literally unseen Northern or Southern troops? They either bombed from afar or invaded, and while everyone cowered in a secure room, they ransacked bedrooms and were driven off by the guards. Really? As far as the caste system, that hardly qualifies. So there are rich people who have money and there are varying social levels of other people who have less, down to people who have trouble finding work and education and occasionally steal to eat. And this is different from our current society how?

The depiction of the girls is so stereotypical, it’s offensive. Cold, rich, bitchy girl who wears too much makeup, clings to the guy and sabotages the other girls? Check. Little mousey girl who’s small, quiet, timid? Check – her name is even – wait for it – Tiny. There’s the smart geek who’s afraid to interact with anyone, the super-friendly middle class girl who befriends America because she recognizes a kindred super-friendly spirit. While not part of the Selection group, there are America’s three maids who of course include one girl who was traumatized and once America soothes her, she earns their eternal devotion. So we have America as just “one of the girls” with her maids.

Prince Maxon all but declares to America that she’s the one he plans on pursuing. If she wasn’t totally oblivious, she’d have seen it, but okay. So his first kiss is with her and it’s very sweet. And the next day? He’s kissing someone else? It seemed like there was some confusion about what qualities make an attractive hero or heroine. Maxon and America are both faithless and loose with their affections.

The ending was the most exasperating type of coy little teaser meant to keep a breathless romantic biting their nails until the next book. Look, I am a breathless romantic and under a lot of circumstances, I would be one of those people but I was so offended by the behavior of all of the parties involved, frankly they all deserved each other and I don’t care who “wins” who.

My Summary: So I didn’t love this, I think you can tell. Even if you take out the plot areas that made my blood boil, there were the storytelling problems and if you take out the style problems, you have the hair-burning issues, so I feel pretty secure with my opinion. It didn’t get an F because in spite of everything, I couldn’t help but keep reading, even though I hated myself and was cursing the entire time. I’d like to take the cover off and frame it so I have at least something pleasant to refer to when I think of this.

My Rating: D

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)

Masque of the Red DeathBy Bethany Griffin

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/Steampunk
Source: Publisher

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Goodreads Summary

It’s possible that I was initially drawn to this by its cover. Maybe. But I loved the synopsis and it’s inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe story so I was sold in triplicate. I’ve had it sitting here for a couple of weeks now, taunting me and to be honest, I’ve been sort of afraid to read it because I’d been anticipating it for so long. I can stick it on my reread shelf now, since I got it done and it was the keeper that I’d hoped.

If Araby Worth had more courage, she might just end her life. Instead, she separates herself as much as she can from the real world in her parents’ luxury apartment or with her friend April and trips to the Debauchery Club behind her porcelain mask to protect her from the deadly plague. When her normal defenses don’t work, Araby looks for escape in drugs, not particularly caring who she scores from or even what they are.

It’s through the club that she meets Will and Elliot. They’re practically polar opposites: Will is dark, tattooed and poor while Elliot is blonde, refined, wealthy and April’s brother. Araby lost someone very close to her and had vowed never to kiss, hold hands – fall in love – with anyone because he wouldn’t have that chance either. Both boys rouse emotions she’s tried to suppress – romantic interest, hope for their crumbling society and renewed fears and worries about her family. There isn’t really the dreaded Love Triangle, although there’s romance. I know that’s sort of contradictory, but within the story and all the turmoil, the push and pull of the guys and Araby, it doesn’t come off as any kind of triangle at all. So…breathe out. Heaven knows I did.

Araby narrates the story, so obviously the city and people get translated through her. In the beginning, she’s doing everything she can to be detached and other than some brief flares of extreme emotion, she does seem pretty disaffected. Griffin writes with a slightly staccato style and it suits Araby perfectly. Later in the story, the writing gets looser as Araby’s emotions start going haywire. I think some people might find Araby dull or a little stupid with some of the decisions she made but I think given her age, the state of society and her desire to make things right, I understood her and even liked her. Even if she made some horrible choices, in a city where breathing bad air could kill you within days, she did make those choices instead of hiding and did things that put herself at risk when she didn’t have to because she thought she was doing the right thing.

Even in its lighter moments, this is still a grim story. The threat of death hangs everywhere, from the despot leader, Prince Prospero and the maniacal revolutionary Malcontent to the Weeping Illness and the Red Death. Every moment, everyone has to ask themselves – should they ever take their mask off and where, who can they touch, what do you do if you cut yourself? People who can’t afford the expensive porcelain masks don’t leave their houses or they risk using a flimsy fabric mask and possible death. Historic incidences of the plague are a sort of macabre interest of mine and Griffin really did her homework for more than just the emotional despair. I was torn between being fascinated and a little grossed out by her detailed descriptions of the latter stages of the disease and its mutated cousin. Grossed out is meant to be complimentary.

I’m not going to give away the ending, only say that Griffin knocked the wind out of me with it. I don’t know if I just was enjoying the story so much that I wasn’t paying attention or she just threw something in there that that hadn’t had any clues dropped about, but it completely wiped out the conceptions I had about nearly all of the characters. It was a devious, cruel, torturous twist that delighted me in a completely warped way since I normally hate those, “you figure it out,” endings with a passion and now I’m so anxious to read the next book, it’s crazy.

My Summary: I’m starting to open books with so-so expectations right now, and even though I had really been waiting for this, I tamped down my hope and just started reading – and was engrossed almost immediately. The dark world controlled by disease, the contrast of the disaffected, passionate and forgotten people and the suspense storyline hooked me. 2013 seems very, very far away for the next book.

My Rating: A

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

R.L. LaFevers

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Source: Publisher

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Goodreads Summary

Ismae was plucked right out of her wedding night (which wasn’t going well, as her hubs was a total dirtbag), and shuffled through R.L. LaFevers version of the Underground Railroad. Ismae is taken to a convent specifically set aside to train young girls to be Handmaidens of Death. Or in layman’s terms: assassins. Ismae spends the next few years training herself in all manner of weapons, poisons and the art of womanly wiles. Ismae is finally deemed worthy to be sent on her first mission, which she successfully completes. However, just after she offed her mark, she runs into Gabriel Duval who is a bit livid that she’s killed his informant. It’s this very first mission where Ismae starts to doubt the Abbey, the Abbess and how to decide who needs to be killed. Ismae is dismayed that she quite possibly killed a man who was trying to redeem himself.

Brittany is in political turmoil, and as the bastard brother of the Duchess, he is embroiled right in the middle of it. Ismae’s next mission requires her to pair up with Duval, where he thinks she is being sent to protect the Duchess and find out who wants her dead. Her real mission is so spy on Duval, as the Abbess and the Abbey’s benefactor Chancellor Crunard are convinced that Duval is a traitor. As Ismae adjusts to court life and intrigue, she soon realizes that there is more to being a Handmaiden of Death than blankly following orders, and that those marked for death can redeem themselves. She also realizes that Duval is simply a man who wants to protect his sister and the future of his country. Ismae and Duval begin to rely on and trust each other, and Ismae is suddenly faced with the prospect of having to choose between the man she loves and the ideals instilled in her by the Abbey, the institution that saved her life. When the political turmoil comes to a head, Ismae and Duval have only each other to turn to in order to save their beloved country from war.

I posted this on a WoW awhile ago, and I was ecstatic when I heard we received a copy from the publisher for review. I LOVED Grave Mercy. I thoroughly enjoyed the history and rich descriptions of the character’s surroundings and way of life. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a historical novel that was non-Regency, and I missed the genre. I jumped right into the world of Grave Mercy easily, and I had no problem with keeping the characters and their names straight. It also helped that there was a map of Britanny, plus a character glossery telling me who everyone was. Gotta love those helpful authors.

Ismae is such a wonderful character. I loved her progression and growth from a young girl beat down by life, to one who knows her strength and isn’t afraid to follow her heart. Duval was fiercely loyal, and the kind of man every woman dreams they could find in real life. I loved watching their relationship unfold. It was slow and meandering as they overcame inital distrust to finally realizing they make the perfect team. They both loved the young Duchess (she was 12, can you believe it?!), and only wanted her happiness and safety. I quickly figured out who the real enemy was, but it didn’t detract from the story at all. In fact, even though I knew the essentials of what would happen, I was still shocked and surprised at how two-faced the traitor really was.

My Summary: Grave Mercy is utterly beautiful and can’t be missed. Powerfully written characters, a fascinating storyline and a sweet and poignant love story all come together to make what I consider a masterpiece. This book is the first in a series, and from what I understand, the other two books are going to be about Ismae’s two friends from the convent, Sybella and Annith with Sybella’s book next. I hope we see more of Ismae and Duval in the following books, but I was satisfied enough with the ending that I’ll be okay if they don’t make an appearance.

My Rating: A+

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)

The Immortal RulesBy Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Netgalley

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Goodreads Summary

I’m sorry to say, I didn’t hate this but I also didn’t like it as much as I expected to. A good part of the reason was the way the plot was divided – I’m not a fan of books which aren’t sweeping epics being divided into Parts with a capital P and are nearly disconnected from each other. I don’t generally like stories where the characters just wander around on foot for chapter after chapter either, my love of The Wizard of Oz excepted. And, well – it was predictable. From the characters to the plot, I had a vague feeling that I’d read or watched a lot of this before.

Allie is an Unregistered living in the Fringe, shorthand for an unmarked human blood donor to the vampires living in the untamed free-for-all space between the vampire city and the place the rabids claim. Unregistereds are forced to forage and steal to eat, books are prohibited and the punishment for getting caught doing anything the vampires don’t like is hanging which is slightly preferable to getting ripped apart by the rabids.

When her usual places to look for scraps of food to steal or scavenge are empty, Allie ventures into the rabids’ territory, and finds enough to get the other three members of her loose little gang to come with her to grab as much as they can. On the way back, they’re attacked by rabids and Allie is mortally injured. A vampire offers her the chance at immortal life and despite her hatred of vampires, Allie takes it.

Part II fires up with Allie’s maker Kanin immediately telling her she needs to forget everything about her human life. When she balks, he tells her he’ll toss her out – that’s his favorite threat, as it turns out. He offers to train her in all things bloodsucker while he spends a lot of time reading papers which probably means he’s Up To No Good. Kanin has some issues with people and they come back to try and bite (heh) him in the rear as he hustles Allie along into Part III.

This is the longest section and most frustrating part of the story for me. Allie is cast out of the vampire city, can’t stay in the Fringe and obviously can’t sit around with the rabids, so she sets out to see what’s past their territory. So she walks. And walks. Eventually she comes across a small group led by a messiah-type named Jeddediah, in search of Eden. The quiet, steadfast Zeke and little Caleb are the only two who seem to want Allie with them – the rest are either reticent or openly hostile. Fortunately for Allie and her new tendency to go up in smoke in sunlight, they travel at night to avoid the rabids. The group expresses hatred for vampires, so obviously, she hides what she is and just as obviously it eventually comes out with the predictable results because I think I’ve either seen this before or I saw it coming from a mile away. And that in a nutshell was the crux of my problem with the book.

Allie was most definitely a kick-ass girl who could take care of herself. This is a blend of post-apocalyptic, dystopian paranormal something-or-other and in this world, it’s every man for himself, a philosophy Allie embraces. She’s nearly feral in the beginning, all snarly and pitiless. By the time she got to Part II, she was more confident with her new vampire strength and for the most part, I liked that she got less snarly and more snarky. Her internal monologue was pure emo though and it lasted forever. It was one of my least favorite things about Meghan from Kagawa’s Iron Fey series as well – the characters both have a tendency to whine forever in their heads about what they are/have become and how horrible it is, that they’re monsters who don’t deserve to be happy, etc., etc. Allie’s need for blood was inconsistent which made me sigh really loudly.

Her situation with Zeke gave me mixed feelings. On one hand, I know what I was supposed to feel for the possibility of the two of them together. Zeke is a nice guy, selfless, kind, loyal and devoted which also sounds like a cocker spaniel. But no, he likes Allie a lot and supports her when he can. I can see Allie being drawn to his caretaker persona, liking how safe he made her feel. When he finds out what she was hiding, he feels betrayed but learns to separate the propaganda from the person. On the other hand, that’s sort of all there is to him. He’s a cardboard cutout of Prince Charming until he finds out what she is and the clichés kick in.

The action eventually picks up quite a bit and the story sort of got a little twisty (but with a lot more traveling, sigh), but it was a little to late for me by then.  I liked the way it ended, not on a real cliffhanger but more what felt like an entry to a Part IV.

My Summary: This is much darker and more violent than Kagawa’s Iron Fey series but I’m sure it’s going to be successful, mostly because of Allie. She seemed like a great sort of superhero character and if she’s anything like the Iron Fey’s Meghan, she’ll only get better as the series goes on. I would hope that the storyline would too, that it would develop into something unique with unexpected twists and deeper emotional relationships since I know the author is definitely capable of it. For me, this wasn’t a strong opening book to a series and I don’t know if I’ll continue. Check out some other reviews though before deciding on this one.

My Rating: C

The Springsweet (The Vespertine #2)

The VespertineBy Saundra Mitchell

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Publisher

Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancé, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves
Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed
aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing
ability to sense water under the parched earth.

When her aunt hires her out as a “springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land. Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water.

Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

Goodreads Summary

It’s been a year since her beloved Thomas was shot and killed, but 17-year-old Zora hasn’t been able to pull herself out of her mourning depression. Her mother and friends have plans to push her back into society to find a husband but Zora has no interest in being unfaithful to Thomas’ memory – any marriage in her future will be intentionally loveless.

With the push west well underway, there’s a demand for mail order brides for homesteaders and miners and Zora sees it as a perfect solution, one that will keep her heart protected. She takes the decision out of her mother’s hands by deliberately damaging her reputation by kissing Theo de la Croix, a slick stranger who seems to have his eye on her. Zora’s mother gives her what she wants, in a way – she gets her ticket west, but not to be married. Instead, she’s sent to Oklahoma to live with her Aunt Birdie.

When she arrives in dry, dusty Oklahoma, Zora discovers she has a mystical connection to the water running underground. To her Aunt Birdie, who’s struggling just to keep herself, her daughter and Zora fed, she’s a potential moneymaking dowser. To Emerson Birch, a young man who rescued her from robbers, she’s a springsweet, someone with gifts that complement his own with growing things. Theo de la Croix has followed Zora from Baltimore to Oklahoma and he doesn’t care about her talent with water at all, he just plainly intends to court her. Go ahead, cue the creepy music, you know you want to.

While it sounds like there might be a little love triangle, Mitchell never seems to focus there. This is obviously Zora’s story, but it’s also sort of Zora and Birdie’s story. Of all the relationships Zora has, it’s her aunt that understands her best and honestly tries to do her best for her. Birdie is a wonderful, strong woman – just 22, she has a young child and a home of her own to try and sustain with almost no income. She’s tough but not bitter, realistic but not without hope and pragmatic enough to know she can use Zora’s talent at finding water to buy some security for her family.

Zora begins the book as a character that’s obviously lost and doing some wallowing in her grief. She didn’t just lose Thomas – there were events at the end of the last book that resulted in the deaths of three other people that were close to her. There were other people who were close to those who died as well and they’d all gathered themselves and decided to move on – only Zora was still outwardly mourning too. Her discovery of her talent as a springsweet were like a switch – thankfully – and she found her backbone and sense of purpose again. I loved her sisterly relationship with Birdie and her motherly relationship with her little cousin Louella. It was always through the dynamic between the three of them that I could figure out where Zora was in her healing process. Although they were few and far between, when she was with Emerson, I thought it was adorable how funny she was – it was a nice reminder that in the first book, she was sort of a silly chatterbox.

I think the guys got a little shortchanged again (same issue I had with the first book). I’ll go ahead and repeat myself for my own sake and say this was Zora’s story, not theirs, but at least Emerson’s was entwined with hers a bit and I’d have liked to have known more about him than what he told me in a single scene. There just flat out wasn’t enough of him. Despite his apparent obsession with her, Theo was less than impressive in his pursuit of Zora. I stalk my morning coffee more aggressively. He was in more scenes – which I’d rather have had Emerson in – but he was a kind of wishy-washy presence.

The plot for The Springsweet is straightforward and if you strip the settings and character specifics off, this book and The Vespertine are pretty similar stories. The beauty of Mitchell’s writing style made me forget most of that while I was reading and I’m sure the minute I pick it up again, I won’t care then either. I love the way she sets a scene and is able to use such a small amount of dialogue yet have her characters express so much. Her descriptions of the Oklahoma landscape are beautiful – if maybe too idyllic – and she captures the level of poverty well.

My Summary: I’d been anticipating this book for a while and it didn’t disappoint me, even if there were bits here and there that I’ve complained about. I’m a romanceaholic but I can live with the fact that it’s light because the relationships between Zora and Birdie and Zora and her friends were wonderful and they all actually enhanced the ending for me. I liked the story and characters a lot – I loved Mitchell’s beautiful writing which has put it on my reread shelf. I can’t wait until next year and the last book in the trilogy, Aetherborne.

My Rating: B+