Hello everyone! Today, I will be reviewing The Looking Glass by Janet McNally. I hope you enjoy!
Release date: August 14th, 2018
Hardcover page count: 336
My rating: 5/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received this ARC as part of Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program. That said, everything featured in this review is based upon my honest opinion and not influenced at all in anyway. Enjoy!
In the Looking Glass, it’s been a year since Sylvie’s older sister Julia disappeared. Still, Sylvie tries to remain optimistic as she carries on Julia’s impressive ballet legacy. But when Sylvie receives a copy of their old storybook with a mysterious list inside, Sylvie begins to see signs of her sister everywhere. She knows that she may be losing her grip on reality and that the strange things she’s seeing might have nothing to do with Julia’s whereabouts, but she continues regardless. As she sets off on a road trip with the hopes of finding her sister, Sylvie believes she will have the time of her life.
But when trouble arises, she must realize that if she can’t help herself, she can’t help anyone.
This is the kind of book that I aspire to write. Beautifully worded and filled with prose that sweeps you away, The Looking Glass is truly a unique novel. I don’t usually read contemporary, mostly sticking with sci-fi or fantasy, but this book made me change my stance on the matter.
Beginning with the plot itself, I loved how innovative it was. The way the author connected Sylvie’s big-city life style with the fairy tale stories that many have grown up with was unique in the sense of how it was done. Unlike many retellings, where it is clear that they are what they are, The Looking Glass reads like the adventures of a girl grieving her sister—which essentially is what the book is about. But I loved how no matter what new fairy tale aspect the author what introducing, it wasn’t pushed to the sense that it overwhelmed the reader, but done subtly and full of grace. This made it so when these seemingly magical parts of the plot came into play, it didn’t feel overdone, but powerful and important.
The next part of the book that I really enjoyed was the characters, specifically Sylvie. From the very beginning, Sylvie is in grief. And for Sylvie, this grief is like a ghost that constantly follows her. And yet, not once while I was reading did I think ‘oh yeah, this again’ when she brought it up. Not once did the author push Sylvie’s grief on readers in a way that made them feel uncomfortable or in a way that made the character feel fake. Readers will enjoy how the author made her grief over her sister a realistic thing that people could relate too. But they would also appreciate the humor and emotions that the character also had. Many of the other characters in this book were written in a similar way, created so realistically that they felt like real people doing regular things.
I would recommend this book for contemporary fans who are in love with ballerinas and their mischief, but also love books where girl meets boy and they fall in love. I would also recommend this book to fans of other genres who, like me, are picky about their contemporary. Filled with heartwarming scenes and just the right amount of magic, The Looking Glass is a book that will sweep you off your feet and never take you back.
I hope that you enjoyed this review! I loved this book so much and was so happy that I was able to read it. So, I would like to once again say thank you to Emma who runs https://missprint.wordpress.com . If you are a blogger with little to no access to arcs, check out her arc adoption program! Not only does she help the blogging community with this, but she helps authors by helping generate more reviews for them (which is the best thing you can do for an author).
Until next time,
Hello everyone, today I will be closing the blog tour for Blood Will Out. This is the first dark thriller I have read in awhile so I was very excited when I found out I was able to take part in this tour! And after my review, stay tuned for a guest post from the author herself!
About the Book:
Ari Sullivan is alive—for now.
She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed.
Until now, Ari was happy to spend her days pining for handsome, recent-arrival Stroud Bellows, fantasizing about their two-point-four-kids-future together. Safe in her small hometown of Dempsey Hollow. But now her community has turned very dangerous—and Ari may not be the only intended victim.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
About the Author:
Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Canada. She spent many years in Oakland, California and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for a punk magazine, and owned a gangster rap/indie rock record label. Her novel Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic adventure published by Scholastic Press, was a multiple award nominee and bestseller. Her acclaimed novella Love You Like Suicide, appeared in the Fierce Ink Press anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL and as a limited edition of the long-running zine Cometbus. Her most recent YA is Blood Will Out, a psych-thriller, published by Penguin Teen (2018). She has a second yet-to-be-named thriller coming from Penguin in the summer of 2019.
Photo credit: Madeleine Kendall
Blood Will Out is the bloody and dark horror thriller by Jo Treggiari that will take everything you thought you knew about YA thrillers and throw it away. The book follows Ari Sullivan, a girl who wakes up at the bottom of a well injured and alone. With no one to hear her screams except the person who put her there, she’s not sure she will be able to get out. But as someone who used to spend her days fantasizing over her crush and their future together, Ari begins to realize that she might not be the killer’s intended victim, and that getting out of the well may be the least of her worries.
This was definitely and interesting book. Treggiari wrote a plot perfect for those aspiring sleuths who love examining every angle of the crime. From the start, she flings potential suspects at the reader, adding to the atmosphere of confusion that the author built up. I loved how the author kept this tone consistent throughout the book, making sure everything had her signature touch. Even the flashback scenes of happy times the author included, had this dark air to it.
I also fell in love with the murder’s point of view. Though it did feature some animal abuse, which readers easily triggered should be weary of, the rest of their perspective was still quite entertaining. This is especially so as the author wrote those gruesome details to add to the realism of the book (which I later found out through her guest post featured below). I loved getting into their mind as they told their story, something the killers of stories don’t often get to do. It was also interesting to follow them as they got to where they were during the events of the story, with Ari.
Lastly, I loved the setting of the book. Set in a dark and mysterious small town where things were bound to go wrong, I love how the author put a new twist on it. Because of her writing style, things just felt so much more real then they often do with other small-town set books.
If you are a fan of spine tingling thrillers, this book is definitely for you. But be warned that there are scenes where blood and gore are mentioned along with graphic descriptions of animal abuse. Though, these themes are not frequent through the book, they do occur in a few significant spots. Because of this, I would recommend this book for older readers of at least 16 years of age.
How to write an appropriate psychological thriller for younger audiences
What I tried to do was write suggestively. Meaning that although there are dark themes in the book (which there had to be since this is partially the story of a serial killer told in the first person!) I write around actual occurrences. The action skips from the beginning to the end of some of the more graphic scenes and the reader fills in the space in their own mind. The animal torture scenes in particular were very difficult for me as an animal lover and long-time vegetarian but I knew from my research that animal abuse is a commonality in the serial killers that have been studied. There is a trifecta of warning signs and that is one of them.
A serial killer who is just starting out was one of the scariest things I could think of. The book had to be terrifying—because no one wants to read about a cuddly, charming psychopath— and getting inside the killer’s mind helped me to achieve that. It was important to me that their character be well-developed so that even though they were becoming a monster (as society sees it) there were moments the reader could connect with. Instances where the reader could think to themselves: ‘Well I’ve felt that way.’ Or, ‘I would react that way too.’ Just a tiny hook that brought the reader on side. I needed to cultivate some kind of understanding of what could make a person behave like that.
It was hugely important that the strongest thread through the book was the fierce friendship between my main character, Ari and her best friend, Lynn. I wanted to capture that love, that loyalty, the lightness that comes from sharing all the moments in your life with your closest companion. Through flashbacks I was able to show how solid and strong they were with each other and incorporate some humor and levity. And later it is the impetus Ari needs to act and to take control of what is happening to them. Their bond was a good true thing and it directly counterbalanced the darkness in the rest of the book.
Check out the other stops on the tour:
I hope that you enjoyed this post! I love getting to post things like this to help promote authors books. Reviewing is the best way to help an author, and I am glad that I am able to do that.
Until next time,
Hello everyone, today I will be taking part in the Ruin of Stars Nerd Blast! If you didn't already know, Ruin of Stars is the second book of the Mask of Shadows duology. Ruin of Stars comes out August 28th, 2018, so don't forget to pick up your copy then!
Also, look how beautiful that cover is!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As Opal, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and most importantly the ability to hunt the lords who killed their family. But Sal has to figure out who the culprits are before putting them down. Which means trying to ignore the fact that Elise is being kept a virtual prisoner, and that the queen may have ulterior motives.
And the tales coming out of north are baffling. Talk of dark spirits, missing children, and magic abound. As Sal heads north toward their ruined homeland and the lords who destroyed everything, they learn secrets and truths that can't be ignored.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
Praise for MASK OF SHADOWS:
"An intriguing world and a fantastically compelling main character make for a can't-miss debut. Miller's Mask of Shadows will make you glad you're not an assassin―and even gladder Sal is." ―Kiersten White, New York Times bestelling author of And I Darken and Now I Rise
"Compelling and relatable characters, a fascinating world with dangerous magic, and a dash of political intrigue: Mask of Shadows completely delivered. Fantasy fans will love this book." ―Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane
"Miller's gritty, lightning-paced debut features a rough-and-tumble yet movingly vulnerable protagonist: Sal is uncompromising in their convictions, and doesn't hesitate to kill when necessary but wishes to be more than just a weapon of vengeance. A complex but intriguing start to this planned duology." ―Publishers Weekly
"This is a memorable, sharply written character. While readers who identify on the GLBTQ spectrum may be easy fans as Miller handles Sal's identity with aplomb, that's certainly not the only point of note here; the impressive, intricate world building, tense action, and fierce competitors are equally strong." ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Gory, well-plotted, suspenseful on every page, and poised for the sequel." ―Kirkus
"This fantasy's gender-fluid protagonist, Sal Leon, makes Miller's book worth picking up for diversity's sake alone. Her treatment of the gender issue is most notable in that it isn't really an issue... Violent and action-packed, this offering by first-time novelist Miller will circulate." ―School Library Journal
"Sal's strong-willed personality and rich emotions create a protagonist who continues to shine" ―Booklist
"Sal is intriguing and their genderfluidity adds depth to their personality. The narrative deals with issues of mystery, self-identity, and revenge. The ending provides a sense of closure, while leaving the door ajar for further adventures." ―VOYA Magazine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Originally from Arkansas, Linsey Miller has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She is currently an MFA candidate represented by Rachel Brooks of Bookends Literary. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology out now (8/29/17) from Sourcebooks Fire. The sequel RUIN OF STARS is coming out August of 2018. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.
PHOTO CONTENT FROM LINSEY MILLER
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
And check out the other blogs on this nerd blast!
I hope that you enjoyed this post! I personally never read Mask of Shadows, but taking part in this made be very interested in the book.
Until next time,
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”