House of Ivy and Sorrow is set in Willow’s End, Iowa, a town with a lot of rumors of witchcraft floating around. Josephine Hemlock has heard many of these rumors, after all, those rumors are about her and her family. Well, the rumors are mostly about her grandma. Josephine’s mother died awhile back from a mysterious Curse. This Curse was like getting a magic-sucking tick stuck to your body that you can’t get off. The curse would cause you to slowly lose your magic until you were sucked sick and dry. Your blood would turn black, and you would grow sicker and weaker, until even lifting your head was a chore. Then you would die. Josephine thought that only her mother was cursed and that she was safe. However, the Curse has returned and is ready to take her life the very same way it took her mother’s. Since Josephine is the last of the Hemlocks falling victim to the curse will mean the end of her bloodline.
House of Ivy and Sorrow is great because there are secrets at every corner! Right when you think the story’s over, the book says, ”BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!” At every turn you’re questioning who’s good? Who’s bad? The beauty is you’ll never really know until the end. It entices you by giving you subtle hints that a person is good, or normal, when in fact they might be evil, or a witch. Or maybe they’re not. You’ll just never know.
House of Ivy and Sorrow shows a struggle between life and death, as well as good and evil. It’s a book that I honestly couldn’t put down. It shows the struggle of a high school girl trying to balance her home life with another unexpected supernatural life, all the while trying to avoid Death in the process. It’s a beautifully written book with a heart wrenching story that will keep you guessing until the very end!
You know something I get a lot? “You can’t get emotional over a book. A book can’t be scary. It’s just words.” Well, that’s definitely not the case with Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong. The story follows Moria and Ashyn, two twin sisters born to be the “Seeker” (Ashyn) and “Keeper” (Moria) of the Forest of the Dead, a neighboring forest where people from their village are exiled for their crimes. Today is the day of the first Seeking, a day when the Seeker goes out to put the spirits of the dead exiled in the forest to rest. However, something goes horribly wrong. Strange beings from so-called “myths” in their village have appeared, killing everyone in the village aside from Moria, Ashyn, and a few others. On top of that, the children of the village have gone missing. But that is only the beginning of their problems…
Sea of Shadows is a very descriptive book. So much so, that I often found myself cringing at some of the details! I’m not saying that I totally disliked the description, though. As a matter of fact, I think that’s one of the book’s strong points. It’s so descriptive, it’s like you can really see precisely what’s going on. The book is extremely bloody! I mean, an entire village gets wiped out in a matter of minutes! So if you like your fantasy with a little gore this might be a good one for you.
I have absolutely no complaints about this book, whatsoever. It almost makes me sad that this book doesn’t come out for another 4 months or so, because that means people will have to wait even longer to enjoy it as much as I did. Sea of Shadows has a real fantasy-romance feel, so if that’s what you like, it’s time to get excited. Come spring time there will be a new book for you to treasure.
The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee is set in Leonora, a small, quaint town that is snuggled up nicely between a beach and a forest. Rose Lovell, a 15-year-old high schooler, has just moved here with her father. She is now adjusting to life in a new town just as she has so many times before due to having to constantly move around with her father. When Rose breezes into town, it is the time of the Harvest Festival; a festival where girls put together their best dresses and organize a parade. Rose is a bit apprehensive at first, but with the help of an old dress maker, and some motivation from a new friend, Pearl, she makes the dress of her dreams…..at a price.
The way the book is set up is very unique. Foxlee has formatted the book so that you see two timelines: Before the festival, and after. At the beginning of every chapter, we see the story from the view of a cop investigating the murder of a girl post-Harvest Festival. Then we switch to Rose’s perspective chronicling what happened before the festival. ThI found the changing perspectives format very unusual but a welcome change from the average day-by-day format of a regular novel. Overall, I feel like it works very well for this book as it makes readers ask,”What led up to this? Why is this happening? Who did it?” The author definitely keeps you on your toes.
Overall, there wasn’t much I disliked, other than a few unrealistic situations. (Only a few.) Otherwise, the story is really interesting and it kept me hooked right to the end. If you’re looking for a mysterious story that will keep you guessing, I’d recommend The Midnight Dress for you!