I don’t usually cry watching sappy shows or reading sweet books. It’s just not something I do. I think the last time I cried while reading was maybe sophomore year in high school and Sirius had just died? Yeah, it’s been awhile. Enter “Far From the Tree”. This book had me, well, not BAWLING because I’m still mostly heartless apparently, but I was tearing up in several places. This book… oh my goodness, so good! So many feels! 90% of it is not traditionally “happy” but that’s what I loved about it; it’s heavy and beautiful. “Far From the Tree” follows the story of three siblings who are separated when their bio-mom puts them up for adoption/loses them to foster care as babies. These kids’ lives are real and raw and tragic, but also inspiring and you just ache for them and want the best for them. They each are going through so much and when they learn that they have siblings, instead of it destroying them further, it turns into this beautiful relationship. The kind of relationship and support system each child needs at that precise moment in their lives.
I’m not a big fan of omniscient POV’s generally speaking. Of the works I’ve read that attempt a true omniscient 3rd person, I’ve never felt like I’ve gotten a good sense of the characters, and the jumps between what one character knows or is doing can be hit or miss, at best. But “Heart of Jet” may change all of that for me! The story follows two Manhattan socialites, I want to say in the very early 1900’s, as they embark on a journey to Scotland where their recently deceased relative has tasked them with easing the tormented soul of their family’s old estate on the Scottish moors. Shedd’s lyrical omniscient style of narration perfectly captured the setting of the era, as well as set the tone for the haunting love story that followed.
The first and most important thing you need to know about “Head over Feet in Love” is that Rebecca, the MC, is manic for a great deal of the book. But that’s what I liked about it, too. You see, Rebecca has anxiety and depression and passive suicidal tendencies, and when things get stressful, her mind shuts down. She doesn’t know how to deal with traumatic situations, so she runs away. That’s her coping mechanism, and in the case of our story, leads her to a friendship with a hermit named Mike. Their friendship is unexpected, but exactly what the other needs in order to get back on their feet again, and as the title implies, find true love.
This is the first historical fiction focused on ancient China that I’ve ever read. Generally, my historical fiction tastes stay in Europe as I have this thing for kings and queens, or ancient Egypt and Rome. Why I never strayed into Asia is, frankly, a mystery to me because the culture is beautiful and fascinating and they have Emperors which satisfies why I lean towards Europe… Anyway, I’m just making excuses as to why it took me so long to read “The Moon in the Palace”. The story follows Mei, one of the Emperor’s concubines, who is told that she has a great destiny ahead of her, though she is unsure what shape it will take. Mei is from the Wu family, so given the subtitle is “a novel of Empress Wu”, you can kind of guess where that destiny leads, though that doesn’t come into play in the first book of this duology.
“Unsanctioned Eyes” was like watching an action movie, but you know, reading. It’s got flavors that reminded me of “The Bourne Identity” but also solid military drama. Except from the “wrong” side of the aisle. Our main character, Quinn, does not work for the good guys. She is, in fact, a terrorist. She has reasons (which are kind of teased at towards the end of the novel) but the first book in the Dragonfly series is about Quinn’s character arc. The synopsis doesn’t really give a great idea of what you’re stepping into when you pick up Merritt’s book, so humor me as I try to elaborate, while staying far away from spoilers. You see “Unsanctioned Eyes” is the story of how Quinn, a top assassin working for a radical organization, finds herself in the precarious position of no longer being able to trust her handlers and the series of events that lead to that distrust. It’s how when one bad mission has her taking a hostage she wasn’t meant to keep has her questioning if the people she works for actually care about her life, and if she can continue on in the organization once she starts remembering the person she was before she became the Dragonfly.
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