The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

I saw this book on Goodreads a few weeks ago and after reading the blurb I decided to give it a try. It’s Kerry Kletter’s debut novel and a heart-wrenching read from cover to cover. To add the book on Goodreads, you can click the cover. You can see my review below.

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My review

There are certain things children need from their mothers-things that we are all entitled too from birth. Some of these include sense of safety, trust, being nurtured and feeling as though we belong. Most of all, as children, we need someone to love us and someone for us to love back. This is something Cassie was denied when she was a young child and she couldn’t seem to figure out how to obtain it. Instead, she questioned herself and suffered mental illness. She was thrust into the world when all she believed in was lies and uncertainty.

I had a very hard time reading parts of this book. I felt like the majority of the characters (Cassie’s family) were evil, selfish beings. Most of Cassie’s family had mental issues and it was quickly trickling down onto her as she was abused, abandoned, and treated as though she was a nobody. It’s harrowing at times and makes you feel like all you want to do is hug her and reassure her that there’s nothing wrong with her, and that everything will be okay.

I felt for Cassie’s mother because it was apparent that she herself had issues with her own mother. I felt like it was just history repeating itself because her mom just didn’t know how to be a mom. She didn’t know how to love as she wasn’t loved herself. All she knew was the horrible experiences she had in her life with her own family and she couldn’t rise above it.

****Spoiler****

Cassie’s family roping her up and dumping her into a mental institution was a way for her parents to not have to deal with her problems anymore. They couldn’t see that it was their fault. Instead, they locked her away in a mental institution for a good amount of her teen life. Her parents were oblivious to some of the things that she had gone through, and the mother chose to ignore it. Cassie’s aunt was a sick excuse of a human being and the fact that her mother left Cassie with her aunt knowing that the aunt had issues made me so angry. There wasn’t anyone who really understood Cassie except the uncle, who she barely saw.

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Despite this being an emotional read, I enjoyed it. I was pleased with the book from beginning to end and remained engaged throughout. The conclusion was thoroughly satisfying. As far as the writing, the story is written beautifully and I want to read more from this author. In fact, I want to read everything she writes and look forward to her next book.

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Blurb

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

Continue reading “The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter”

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated

I’ve been anticipating reading this book for some time. This is one of my favorite stories from childhood. I absolutely cannot wait to see the movie this week! I have no idea at this point how the movie will compare to the book, but I’ll come back and leave a review for the movie once I see it.

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This review may contain spoilers…

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book is comparable to the classic Beauty and the Beast, yet so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction which was so unique. It pulled me right in with the interaction between Love and Death-so intriguing. It’s no surprise that Death would cheat, but who will win?

The story starts with Belle in Beast’s castle after she’s been imprisoned. Beloved Belle and her love for books begins the journey into Nevermore which is so imaginative and pulls you in like you’ve entered an enchanting dream you don’t ever want to leave. Can Beast change and will Love prevail, or will Belle be so enticed that she’ll be lost forever?

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I loved the author’s writing style and this is a super simple read that even young readers at the age of 10-12 can enjoy as its YA. Even though the story is simple, I believe adults can enjoy it as well. It took me extra time to finish it because I’m reading so many books right now, but one could easily have it read in half a day. Some of the characters are a little lackluster at times but there’s plenty of other detail and depth to the story which makes up for it in my opinion, like learning more about the Beast’s background. I loved the addition of the new characters in Nevermore. I also love the beautiful cover which fits the story so well.

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My only issue with the story is that I wanted a different ending or perhaps MORE of an ending. It was so abrupt and not what I expected. I’m really hoping there’s another book on the way! I’ll be forgiving if there is! *Excessive Sobbing*

If you’re a Beauty and the Beast fan, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this even more magical version of Beauty and the Beast. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed. Now I’m off to discover more books by Jennifer Donnelly and to see the movie!

4-stars Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated”

The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest

I came across The Black Witch on Netgalley and thought after reading the blurb and loving the cover, I’d try it. Please read below for my review of the book along with some author info.

From Goodreads:

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.


My Review: Continue reading “The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest”

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

At the beginning of this year I came across some reviews for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Once I saw the cover and read the blurb, I had to read it. My first rating was 4 stars because there was something I didn’t love about it. I picked up the book again and re-read it this past weekend. And so the story begins…

Blurb: An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.b60e5cc30bad66ac18051b255132004b

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous.

It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

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Continue reading “A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness”

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

 

20170327_191401.jpgThe moment I saw Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones I had to buy it. The cover, the title, the blurb-pretty much everything about the book baited me. First, I must say that I’m a Labyrinth freak and I’ve been highly anticipating reading this. I was under the impression that this was a true Labyrinth retelling, but there’s more going on here.

I was so taken-back in just the first 70 pages of the book. The authors writing style is so appealing. It’s exquisite, dark, and romantic. There were also music elements consistent throughout the entire story which I loved. I truly savored this book and the writing is what I appreciated the most.

“Those icy eyes glittered, and I was afraid. I trembled, but not with cold. I ached, but not with pain. My feet began to move of their own accord, and I followed the Goblin King out of the light and into the darkness.”

I absolutely loved the way the author added a few poems by Christina Rossetti.

A linnet in a gilded cage, –
A linnet on a bough, –
In frosty winter one might doubt
Which bird is luckier now.
But let the trees burst out in leaf,
And nests be on the bough,
Which linnet is the luckier bird,
Oh who could doubt it now? Continue reading “Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones”