The Friday 56: When the Moon Was Ours

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“And when their hands all fell on her, she knew it was true, that they were one animal in many bodies. When one set of fingers lost its grip, another tightened. When Miel threw her weight against one of them, another pulled back so the force dissipated and did not land.”

There are few books that truly sink their teeth into me and Anna-Marie McLemore’s magical realism novel When the Moon Was Ours is one of them. I’ve never fallen faster in love with a book. It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read and I’d recommend it to everyone. You can read my mini review here. Excerpt is from page 65. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

If you’re looking for a fun challenge to take part in this summer, consider joining the Summer 2017 Comment Challenge. Each month (June-August), we’ll be pairing bloggers and encouraging them to comment on each other’s blogs all month long. Sign-ups for June are open through May 27th. Click the image to the left for all the info!

If you haven’t already, be sure to enter the giveaway on my blog. I’m taking part in the May Book of Choice Giveaway Hop which ends the 15th of this month. It’s open to the US and INT, so be sure to enter. Click on the image on the right to enter and be sure to check out all the other participants’ giveaways.

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Mini Reviews: Blackmoore + When the Moon Was Ours

MiniBless the mini review! There’s nothing like breaking up the monotony of full book reviews than a mini review. I’m on hiatus until the 22nd, but I thought I’d share a couple of mini reviews while I’m away. This week I have mini reviews for Julianne Donaldson’s Blackmoore and Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

Title: Blackmoore
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Series: N/A
Pages: 286
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 9th 2013 

      “Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.
      Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?”

swirl (2)

“The ocean wet the air, flavoring each breath with salt and freedom and foreignness. The towering building loomed overhead, darker than the darkening sky. The moors stood like a stretch of barrier—an impenetrable wilderness hemming and shielding and pushing this building toward the ocean. It was wild and dark and grand and tall and fierce and haunting all at one.”

If Kasie West is my go-to author for a light and satisfying contemporary read, Julianne Donaldson may just be mine for when I’m in the mood for a quick, enjoyable historical romance. Donaldson’s second novel Blackmoore had me swoony from start to finish. Kate Worthington is determined to escape the caged life she knows awaits her through marriage, so makes an impulsive deal with her conniving mother. If she can get proposed to three times while visiting Blackmoore, her mother will grant her the freedom to go to India with her aunt. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, Kate isn’t quite sure how to persuade one, let alone three gentleman into proposing, and there is also the issue of her long-suppressed feelings for her childhood best friend Henry Delafield. These two completely tore me apart. There was so much chemistry between Kate and Henry. I loved how the author incorporated Kate’s flashbacks because it gave their relationship so much more depth. Because of them, I could not put this book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Donaldson’s writing took a leap forward between Edenbrooke and this one. I was immediately taken in by the beautiful and haunting atmosphere of Blackmoore and would love to have explored this manor more. If you haven’t checked out Julianna Donaldson’s novels Edenbrooke and Blackmoore, I encourage you to do so.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★


Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: October 4th 2016

      “To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

swirl (2)

“All these things reminded her of his moons, and his moons reminded her of all these things. He’d hung a string of them between her house and his, some as small as her cupped palms, others big enough to fill her arms. They brightened the earth and wild grass. They were tucked into trees, each giving off a ring of light just wide enough to meet the next, so she never walked in the dark.”

Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours is one of the most stunning novels I’ve ever read. It’s a short novel, but I found myself pausing every few pages because McLemore’s writing was so beautiful, I needed a moment to truly appreciate it. Taking inspiration from the folklore of La Llorona, McLemore weaves a tale about a boy and girl trying to discover who they are in a world that doesn’t quite understand them. Miel’s past is a mystery, from the moment she emerged from the water tower, her past has been locked up deep inside her. Most people aren’t sure what to make of her and the roses that grow from her wrist, but she’s always found a companion in Sam, a transgender boy who’s always felt like an outsider himself. Sam is trying to understand his own gender identity while also trying to appease those around him. Though it was hard to read when people tried to take advantage of Sam and “expose” him, it was an honest display of how many believe they have more of a right to determine someone’s identity than the person themselves does. McLemore’s characters are a mix of vulnerability and strength; her story is both dark and whimsical; and her words are moving and breathtaking. It’s novels like When the Moon Was Ours that make me love the genre of magical realism even more. If you haven’t picked up Anna-Marie McLemore’s novels yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

The Friday 56, #88: The Weight of Feathers

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’re been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“The rain burned into her. She curled up tighter, cheek against her sleeve. She shut her eyes tight enough to see comet trails of light. She tried to keep out the feeling that the rain was a million lit matches. And the strange smell in the air that was a little like apple cider if apple cider was the venom of some night creature, the rain and stars its teeth.”

I recently finished Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers, an enchanting novel that’s sure to delight those who love magical realism. Cover linked to Goodreads.

From my review:

“Each year the Palomas and Corbeaus clash in the town of Almendro. As touring troupes, each family puts on a unique show. The Palomas captivate their audiences with underwater performances as otherworldly mermaids while the Corbeaus use their tightroping skills to impress the crowd as tree-leaping fairies. Lace Paloma dreams of being in the forefront of her family’s traveling show, but when she is caught in the aftermath of a local accident, all her plans are derailed. Making matters worse is the mark her rescuer, Cluck Corbeau, leaves on her arm, a feather imprint marking her as cursed. Forsaken by her family for carrying the mark of the Corbeaus, Lace reaches out to Cluck in hopes that he can purge her of the scar. Instead, Lace discovers that both families have been caught in a rivalry built on terrible secrets.” Find my full review here.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Weight of Feathers by Anne-Marie McLemore

Title: The Weight of Feathers
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Series: N/A

Each year the Palomas and Corbeaus clash in the town of Almendro. As touring troupes, each family puts on a unique show. The Palomas captivate their audiences with underwater performances as otherworldly mermaids while the Corbeaus use their tightroping skills to impress the crowd as tree-leaping fairies. Lace Paloma dreams of being in the forefront of her family’s traveling show, but when she is caught in the aftermath of a local accident, all her plans are derailed. Making matters worse is the mark her rescuer, Cluck Corbeau, leaves on her arm, a feather imprint marking her as cursed. Forsaken by her family for carrying the mark of the Corbeaus, Lace reaches out to Cluck in hopes that he can purge her of the scar. Instead, Lace discovers that both families have been caught in a rivalry built on terrible secrets.

“They all wore tails bright as tissue paper flowers. Butter yellow. Aqua and teal. The orange of cherry brandy roses. The flick of their fins looked like hard candy skipping across the lake.”

Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers is the kind of book you can lose yourself in. Its beautiful imagery immediate sets the stage for the reader to fall in love with the magic of the Palomas and Corbeaus. But unlike the audience in one of these families’ shows, the novel gives readers a look behind the scenes. Despite the undeniable beauty the Palomas and Corbeaus offer the world, the family dynamics within each are complicated, messy, and often destructive. Lace’s family is led by her abuela: her grandmother is harsh in her judgments and unyielding when it comes to how she sees the world. Just as stubborn is Cluck’s mother, Nicole Corbeau, whose words are law among the Corbeaus, and whose approval is stringently given. For all their history, the Palomas and the Corbeaus know very little about each other’s family. Their inability to let go of their hatred and the superstitions they hold against one another have done more harm than the tragedy that began their conflict.

Lace and Cluck come from two different worlds, one grew up in the water while the other spent his childhood reaching for the sky. Neither sees the cage their own family has built around them. Lace has only ever dreamed of being a part of the sirenas, never realizing she has other options, that the world has something else to offer her. Cluck has spent his whole life as an outsider, the lesser of his mother’s two sons. He’s dreamt of leaving his family, of finding someplace permanent for him and his grandfather, but without action, his plans remain a dream. Rejected by their families in different ways, Lace and Cluck find the kind of acceptance neither of their family’s were able to offer them in each other.

The Weight of Feathers is beautifully written, exploring themes of love and acceptance, with sympathetic characters trying to overcome the mistakes of their families.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★