Month: February 2019

February 10, 2019: ‘Ever Alice’ by H.J. Ramsay/A Review

**I received an eARC of ‘Ever Alice’ from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.**

‘Ever Alice’ is a retelling of ‘Alice of Wonderland’. It takes place a few years after the classic story, and it finds Alice in a mental asylum. She manages to flee, returning to Wonderland, and finds herself embroiled in a plot to kill the vicious Queen of Hearts. This story features many characters from the classic Lewis Caroll tale, as well as some new figures.

Although I felt like this story has a predictable ending, I appreciate that it takes a slightly darker turn from the regular ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story, and it kept me interested until the very end.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Professional Reader

February 9, 2019: ‘The Oyster Thief’ by Sonia Faruqi/A Review

‘The Oyster Thief’ is Sonia Faruqi’s debut novel concerning the value of marine life, and what could happen if huge corporations violate precious underwater commodities. It’s a story spoken through two main characters. Coralline, a young mermaid living in the underwater world of Meristem, who is engaged to be married. Izar Eridan is the son of Antares, head of Ocean Dominion, a corporation that seeks to destroy the ocean’s beloved coral reefs and precious marine life. Coralline has passions in life, yet feels bound to rules and restrictions within her controlling mother. This pull toward normalcy is disrupted as a tragic oil spill, triggered from one of Izar’s ships, wreaks havoc in Coralline’s world, sickening her younger brother Naiadium. She then goes on an adventure to seek out a legendary elixir to heal him.

Izar, meanwhile, discovers suspicious events leading up to the oil spill disaster. These events seem to lead to the answers of his personal origins. His journey leads to a shocking revelation, yet he abruptly awakens in the ocean as a merman, suffering what he feels is a vicious attack. He then runs into Coralline, and he learns about her quest for the legendary elixir. He then joins Coralline to claim the cure (secretly for himself) in order to restore his human nature.

I deeply enjoyed reading The Oyster Thief. The character development with Coralline was quite significant. She grows from a woman who fears breaking rules due to the opinions of many into a strong person who ventures out to claim what is rightfully hers. She endures quite a change in character, as great obstacles get thrown into her path. Izar goes through quite a change in character himself, as his mindset as a big corporate conglomerate shifts dramatically as his mindset of the underwater world shifts dramatically due to Coralline sharing with him the ways of ocean life.
I also enjoyed reading about the underwater would of Meristem. Sonia Faruqi beautifully wrote about an ocean world that co-existed beautifully with the land of Menkar. Since there were two parallel perspectives throughout the novel, we have a dual viewpoint of Coralline’s life of these ocean communities, and Izar’s life above ground and his ocean ‘quests’.

It was also quite lovely to read about the relationship between Coralline and Izar. Their origin stories were destined for their paths to never cross: Izar was raised to run Ocean Dominion; and Coralline, a mermaid, represents everything that Izar stands against. It takes Izar’s transformation as a merman, combing the waters with Coralline and her muses (known as bonded sea animals), that opens Izar’s mind to the beauty of ocean life and its inhabitants. As the book progresses, their friendship deepens, creating a love triangle that sends both Coralline and Izar into their own personal conflicts. I will say that the third part of this novel was filled with many emotional scenes, as Coralline and Izar’s quests lead to their dramatic conclusions.

Sonia Faruqi wrote a very captivating debut novel, and I look forward to reading more tales from her in the future.

(5/5 stars)

Trigger warning: ‘The Oyster Thief’ contains a scene describing sexual assault.

Professional Reader

February 6, 2018: Reading Update

I’m about 70% through with ‘The Oyster Thief’. I enjoy this underwater tale, and the world building within ocean territory is stunning. I am finding the story to be a bit traditional , the dialogue between the main character and her family a bit traditional in the modest sense. I’m eager to see how this story ends!

February 3, 2019: January Wrap-Up

2019 began pretty decent on the reading front! I read 5 books last month. That may not seem like a lot, but for someone who spends all her time working (or doing work-related material), it’s a wonderful pace for me!

One Day in December by Josie Silver
This novel was a pleasant read. I normally don’t lean toward romantic genre novels, but I wanted to try something new. Since I began this novel right around Christmas time, and this book centered heavily around the holidays, I dove right in. And I wasn’t disappointed! (4 Stars)

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
This novel fell under the Middle Grade genre. It follows a young girl who can communicate with ghosts, who travels with her parents who are famous for their storytelling abilities. I’ve heard negative reviews from some people about the story being a bit too ‘young’, but I loved the story. Cassie was a girl figuring out the depths of her supernatural abilities, and Victoria Schwab conveyed that clearly. (4 Stars)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This novel is Book 1 in the Grisha trilogy. It follows an orphan names Alina who discovers her power as a Sun Summoner accidentally. She is drafted into Grisha training by the Darkling, and she discovers her abilities while pining for the attention of her close friend Mal. While I enjoyed the school of magic plot line of the book, I could have dealt without the ‘back and forth’ nature of Alina and Mal’s relationship. (3 1/2 Stars)

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
In Book 2 of the Grisha series, Alina finds her way back to the Grisha school, thanks to a pirate and his misfit crew. She also seeks out precious amplifiers that are only heard in fairy tales, in order to defeat the Darkling. The battle slows down a bit during this story, setting up for the final showdown that will emerge in final part of the trilogy. (3 1/2 Stars)

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
This was an ARC I received through NetGalley. It’s based on the fairy tale The 12 Dancing Princesses , in which this version follows Annaleigh, a girl seeking to find the truth behind the deaths of her sisters. This story keeps an element of paranormal and mystery as Annaleigh discovers the secret behind these losses. (4 Stars)