The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey — A Review

The Library of Lost ThingsThe Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed The Library of Lost Things. In fact, it’s my first five-star rating in a long while. It had everything that makes great books great. It was funny and pithy, and it was honest.

The Library of Lost Things follows Darcy, an almost-eighteen-year-old literary savant, as she struggles to balance her secret life at home and her public life as a high school student, book store clerk, and girl with her first real crush. Her hoarder mother obviously makes things like fitting in difficult for Darcy, but as the story progresses, Darcy recognizes a couple of painful truths about herself and how hoarding has affected more than just her social life.

Laura Taylor Namey does an excellent job of presenting a remarkable, yet flawed main character. With each chapter, more of Darcy’s personality and character are revealed. Until, by the very end, we’re presented with a wonderfully complex young adult character.

I really enjoyed the interplay between Darcy and her best friend Marisol. I think everyone needs a Marisol in their lives. She was the epitome of what it means to be a best friend. I wish more young women were able to find Marisols for themselves. I also really enjoyed the developing relationship between Darcy and Asher, her crush. It showcased Darcy’s empathetic and understanding nature, qualities we could all use a little more of.

Overall, this was just an excellent young adult (nearly new adult) read. I would call it romance-light. To me, the focus really was on Darcy’s personal growth and development. A coming-of-age story, a story about true friendship, a story about family. Highly recommend.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy.

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1979 Short Story Collection by Steve Anderson — A Review

1979 short stories1979 Short Story Collection by Steve Anderson

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

I used to say I “didn’t really read” short stories, but this is my third collection to review so I guess I can’t say that anymore. 🙂 What I’ve come to discover is that short story writers are, quite simply, amazing. It takes a lot of skill to write a complete story in only a few pages.

I think this collection resonated with me particularly because it is set in sleepy, small towns. Its images of train tracks and tall grass blowing in the breeze made me recall growing up, tumbling through weeds and creeks in rural Arkansas.

One story in particular felt particularly close to me, Melvin. It’s MC, Shelby, reminds me of the rough and tumble little girls I used to pal around with. Her young mind deals with a lot of heavy material, and that too felt familiar to me. Growing up in the South, you experience a strange mixture of freedom and hardship, beauty and ugliness, kindness and cruelty. Anderson really captures these elements, though his settings are mostly in the Midwest.

It is clear to me that Anderson has thought long and hard about what it really means to “come of age”. His writing is thoughtful and poignant, and his descriptions will leave you feeling like you were really there. Cinematic — his writing is cinematic. In an Iñárritu (visual) way though, not in a Whedon (action) way.

blowing in the breeze.gif

I really enjoyed this collection. I wish I could have been reading on a beach because this collection does have the distinct feeling of summer attached to it, and more than that, summer evenings — perhaps purposefully. Summer is the season I associate with growing up, perhaps because summer is the season where so much is discovered, and most of that growing is done in the late afternoon into the evening, beside bonfires and in wilderness. When skin prickles from the coolness of evening yet still gives off the heat of the day. Definitely give this a read — it contains universal messages I believe anyone could enjoy.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The False Titanbringer: The Complete Trilogy by Riley Westbrook and Sara Lynn Westbrook — A Review

false titanbringer trilogy coverThe False Titanbringer: The Complete Trilogy by Riley Westbrook and Sara Lynn Westbrook

RaeleighReads Rating: 3 out of 5 coffee cups

“The young half-elf focused upon what he wanted, removing Martell from power. Restoring the elves as a people. Creating balance in a world that seemed in disharmony. Lov felt his mind settle as the possibilities for the future spread out before him.”

I received a copy of this trilogy in exchange for an honest review.

A decent fantasy novel with very human fantastical creatures.

Combining all our favorite fantasy tropes — good vs. evil, a hero that must mature into his role, several quests for things needed to ensure victory, and of course, magic, Breath of the Titans follows the story of Lovonian, or Lov, as he ventures to rescue those that are close to him and bring the disparate groups of his world together against a malevolent force.

Lov goes on some interesting adventures, discovers his true self and his power, and we are introduced to curious new scenery and characters throughout, but the book lacks a little cohesion, and it could definitely use more description, i.e., more worldbuilding.

Essentially this is a work of epic fantasy. For some reason it was originally split into three volumes. I think it makes more sense (as it is now) as one long volume. At around 610 pages, that’s perfectly acceptable for the genre. As it is, the three volumes individually need much more fleshing out. Westbrook introduces a new spin on the world of dragons, elves, orcs, fairies, and humans. He even gives us a new race, the Anuunaki. It would be desirable to have more time to really get to know this world and its inhabitants.

In terms of structure, this novel jumps around between various scenes of action, often moving us from a point of action in one location to a point of action in another location within the same chapter. That’s perfectly acceptable as a novel technique, but as I mentioned above, it would be helpful to have even more description so as to solidify in our minds the various story arcs and the various scenery.

Overall, a decent fantasy series. Those who enjoy books about dragons, elves, and orcs will probably find something to like here.

Some opinions you may find interesting:

This book was great from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the idea of a 16 year old half dragon.“– Alysia on Goodreads

“This series is a unique take on the fantasy genre. I’ve never heard of this particular take on dragons and their abilities. And with a half dragon and half elf as the main character, I was not disappointed with the creativity behind this fantasy.”– Rebecca on Amazon

Another opinion you may find useful:

For this book to really pop in the world of fantasy writing for me I would like much of the spoken conversation to be looked at again, the world created is a fantasy yet the language of the characters is too full of our everyday slang and colloquialisms, too many “hell this and hell that” when rich words to continue the fantasy theme could have really made individual characters stand out.“– Rosie Amber on Goodreads