Review of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Ten-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really.

Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy's struggle to make sense of the loss that tore his family apart.

I just finished My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher and I it is so hard to write a review for this book. It was definitely unlike any other book I have read before.

  • The book is written through the POV of a ten-year-old boy named Jamie. It was really interesting to look at life through his eyes, especially after the death of his sister, Rose.
  • Rose’s death was so current with the daily acts of terrorism in the world. I have read stories about families affected by terroristic acts in the US, but not any other part of the country. There are bombings on the news all the time and it was really moving to read a story where the random act of terrorism really broke apart a family.
  • Jamie’s character was so pure, he didn’t want to discriminate against Muslims and he really didn’t understand death. It was neat to see through his eyes and feel his pain as his mother and father broke up because of the death of Rose.
  • The writing style in this book was amazing. It was so unique and interesting. The book seriously starts with “My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her kneecap are buried in a graveyard in London.“
  • Instead of quotations Annabel chose to use italics. It was sometimes hard to distinguish who was talking and I had to reread sentences a few times.
  • I believe it is aimed at as a young adult book, at least that is how my library categorized it, but I think it was more middle school or lower. I think younger adults could definitely understand the themes in the story.

Book Review of The Madman's Daughter

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepard was a crazy journey. Creepy! I listened to the audiobook which was 12 hours, 53 minutes long, narrated by Lucy Rayner.

  • The story was so original, I had no idea where it was going to go and was immensely in love with it from the beginning when Juliette was cleaning the blood of the operating room floor
  • I love the time period, the age of petticoats and corsets.
  • The love triangle, normally I HATE love triangles, but when this one comes to light it was epic. The whole climax was unnerving!
  • Montgomery, oh Montgomery. I loved every little bit of Montgomery!
  • The side characters, Alice and Balthazar and other beastly characters were so well created and imagined!
  • The world building was neat, the time in London, to the ship, to the island. It was really easy to picture the towns and their inhabitants.
  • I am intrigued to start the second book in the series, Her Dark Curiosity, soon!

  • This is just a silly gripe, but it was really hard to figure out how the characters could look like the descriptions knowing they were made of animals. I was hung up on the whole “where did the skin come from” situation!
“I realized that he had charmed me, just like he charmed everyone. I’d thought I was so clever. I thought I could see past his manipulations. But I’d heard only what I wanted to.” (Juliette speaking of her father, the Doctor)

Waiting on Wednesday - The Chapel Wars
Acclaimed author Lindsey Leavitt brings her trademark heart, humor, and romance to her hometown--Vegas
Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?
And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is she running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money--fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.
Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

 I actually got married in Vegas, we were on vacation with my family and Paul and I decided to get married at a cute little Vegas chapel. I think this book is going to be so fun to read and relive our Vegas wedding! The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Levaitt is set to release May 16, 2014, I am hoping to get an ARC before then so I don't have to wait so long!

Top Ten Tuesday - Rewind
I love books because they transport you into different worlds, different environments and teach you different perspectives. This Top Ten Tuesday theme was Rewind, going back to a previous TTT that you haven’t done or want to do it again. I am fairly new in the book blogging world and just started TTT, so I chose to do a new-to-me topic!

Ten Inspirational Characters

Augustus from Fault in Our Stars
  • I loved Augustus, he was genuine, funny, unique and full of life, even though his health was failing. He fell in love knowing that Hazel has a terminal illness and knew that living in the moment was so much more important than looking to the future.

Liesel from The Book Thief
  • I cannot imagine how awful it had to be to live through World War 2, but Liesel loved with all her heart and stood for what she believed in. She had everything taken from her, but still continued to live life abundantly. Liesel’s passion for reading was so inspirational, she would even sneak in and steal books to continue her passion. I can relate.
Gaia from the Birthmarked series           
  • I think the biggest and hardest thing to do in life is to stand up for what you believe in alone. When Gaia found out the truth about the Enclave, she stood up against them herself and fought for her parents and sister lives. Then in the second book of the series, she has to make a huge choice on how to deal with a girl asking for an abortion and issues of humanity and mortality.
Deuce from the Razorland series (Enclave)
  • Deuce’s life changes so much from living underground to finding colonies above ground. When she is underground, she is a fierce warrior, fighting the “freaks” and providing for her town. When she is forced above ground, she struggles with the town people wanting to change who she is an conform her to the role of women in their community. Deuce stands up for herself and then leads an army to rid the states of freaks. She is passionate, determined and unwilling to let anyone tell her what she can and cannot do.
Four from Divergent
  • Four had a sucky life and a horrible father. I am sure it had to be really hard to leave your entire family to change factions. Plus, he really took on the role of training up the new recruits in the way that he believed the faction should be run, unlike Eric who is completely awful. I love the way he loved Tris, handled his relationship with his mother and the people around him.
Metias from the Legend series
  • I loved June’s brother so much, and even though we barely got to see him, he shows his true colors in the book. He is searching for the truth and it ends up getting him killed. Even after his death, the amazing life he lead had such an impact on June and those around him.
Kira from the Partials series
  • I think the most inspirational thing in Kira’s story is that she gave a Partial a chance. When everyone around you discriminates someone or something, it is hard to stand on your own and not listen to past judgment. Plus, Kira really want to help her friends and the babies, she has such a good heart.
Park’s Mom from Eleanor & Park
  • This seems like an odd one, but Park’s home was one of my favorite characters in the book. She moved so far away from home because she fell in love, got her GED and started her own business. I also loved the way she, after an initial period of unlike, changed her mind and really fell in love with Eleanor, excepting her into their family and treating her like Eleanor’s mother should have in the first place.
Luna from the Harry Potter series
  • I just loved this girl, both in the books and in the movies. She was unique, brave and knew she was special and didn’t care everyone else thought of her. She had such grace too when people made fun of her. I loved her heart.
Peeta from the Hunger Games series
  • Peeta was amazing, strong and so full of heart. He loved Katniss for who she was, stayed true to himself and followed his heart. It would be so hard to be in his shows and I really admire him.

Review of Landry Park

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.

There was a lot of hype around Landry Park by Bethany Hagen, especially when it was described as Downton Abbey meets The Selection. While I partially saw this description, it was pretty much not at all what the book was like. There was no Selection situation in the book, just debuting with a boy, but whatever.

  • The storyline was original, it was dystopian in genre, but nothing like what I have read before. The world reverted back to the 1900s, the upper class and Rootless. People living in mansions and debuting their daughters, trying to keep their bloodlines pure. The major difference is that they are using nuclear power to run electricity and power their houses
  • Madeline was an interesting main character, she was a smart girl who grew up in the family line that created the nuclear power. She wants to go to college but her father insists that she must stay at Landry Park to manage the estate
  • The romance in the story is actually pretty interesting, Madeline falls for David fairly quickly, but the plot of the story allows for a slow burn, almost no burn, situation
  • The caste system is really interesting with the back story and the fact that the Rootless are pretty much kept alive to bare the devastating effects radiation poisoning
  • Jude, I didn't really understand why he needed to be in the story. It just felt so disconnected. I am sure there needed to be some odd love triangle situation but I didn't need Jude.
  • The writing sometimes was disconnected and odd. I couldn't figure out why the odd jumps, it was like the typical methods of separating chapters or scene changed were missed in the final production.
  • The book definitely leads up to the second book in the series, so we don't get a lot of closer. I am trying to write this without any spoilers, but I just wish the way the Rootless leader came to be would have been different. The uprising would have been more like a revolution, at least I believe, without the leader being who he is.

Week Recap

This week was pretty boring, so I got quite a bit of reading and blogging done. Saturday I went to the Unglued Craft Fest in Fargo at the Plain's Art Museum. We have so many talented crafters in the area and I love Unglued. Check out the link, quite a few of the crafters have online sites or Etsy.

I met the girl who made the fun tail I got for my nephew. Check out her store on Etsy!I shared this photo with her, so hopefully my nephew will be on her Facebook site soon to show off these awesome tails!

This Week I Read:

This Week on A Flurry of Ponderings:

Monday - Book Review of Scintillate
Tuesday - Top Ten Tuesday with Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Blogger/Reader 
and Cover Reveal of Guarding Angel
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday with After The End
Thursday - Book Review of Unhinged
Friday - Book Review of Shadow and Bone

Upcoming Reviews: