The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender

Well, the first thing I did when I picked up this book was to be entirely captivated by the writing, and eventually, fascinated by the characters.

Although this has a large cast of characters, each with a beautifully whimsical name. And with a character that is quite strange but all too endearing at the same time. I can’t deny that the front part was gorgeous, even when it was nothing about Ava but about her family.

The writing was the strongest point, where some moments it made me giggle, some moments it was so beautiful and tragic at the same time. I guess the whole writing handled how this tale was told, giving it a strong atmosphere that it so desperately needed. Otherwise, I don’t think that I can even survive this book. Although the characters were a huge plus point.

As for the characters and their lives, what can I say. It was something that just captured my attention. With careful writing, I cared about all of them with their strange quirks and eventually Ava’s narration which worked so well. Emmeline who was the only one out of four to survive, to Viviane and her tragic love with Jack. Which started off so well. And eventually, to Ava the girl with wings. Occasionally, side characters took the spotlight but still it was so well handled with their characterization, defined by how the book is.

To Gabe who was always around, to Wilhelmina who will turn the bakery over for Emmeline who was only surviving on bread at the time. Whimsical, am I right?

So, this just worked for me. I loved the characters and how the writing was, managing to make me care for so many characters when it only had 300 pages. Quite a feat if you ask me.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Vassa In The Night

Something about this book clicked with me, took me on a wild ride and did make my mind go all the way in trying to make sense of what was happening.

And well, I did like the Russian folklores even if I have almost no idea of what any of them tell. But definitely, loved the story here. The way that it managed to make me interested in Vassa and her journey, and all the mysteries around. Something is rather wrong here and it definitely starts to escalate even more slowly. Even though I’m still not entirely sure what just happened. But really, the tale is quite dark, and happens to be quite weird too.

Somehow, I just liked the way things went. Something here is horribly wrong, such as how night is getting longer and longer. All the while Vassa gets into all sorts of trouble. Even though this was probably a pretty weird story, where I just enjoyed the ride. But it won’t be for everyone.

To me, this is magical realism at its best. At least when I feel I can be taken for a ride, and have absolutely no idea what is going on yet thoroughly enjoy it. And well, the way that it is written definitely would be confusing to many. Somehow it just worked with me. Something just clicked with me when it came to this book, and something just worked too.

Ending it off, I really have no idea how I should recommend this book. It is enjoyable, even without having much idea what is going on. But can be incredibly frustrating to some, and well like I said, it will go down to whether you would instead like a story where there is plenty of weirdness and bizarre moments. And also, moments that you probably have to reread to get sense of it, or really have little idea till the end. Strangely, I enjoyed the tale. That is all

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Karina’s Silver Shoes

I originally really liked this work at least before it became one heck of a mess.

The beginning was the strongest part was where Karina will pick up the silver shoes. But after that, I don’t even know what is happening. There is no certain clarity in this novel, and I know that magical realism can be rather messy in the first place.

But the writing had no wit, absolutely nothing to draw me in. And by halfway, I was skimming. I kept on due to my ability to like this kind of books, but in the end, I don’t even know what it happening anymore.

Well, it showed promise. But the novel could have used plenty of cleaning up, and clearly making the writing more vivid, real and also alive. Magical realism is confusing as it is, and with the writing as dull as it was, I really didn’t like it at all.

Same for the characters, I simply didn’t care for anyone of them. At all. They were all just there, Karina, some princess or some weird bunch of characters which I don’t really get a sense of their personality.

I think that given all I said, you will know how I feel about recommending this.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

When I Cast Your Shadow

I have really got used to her writing and style, and that this was slightly easier to read than Vassa In The Night.

Once again, this tale is like her previous. Bizarre and filled with weird events, with a hint of paranormal but no clear explanation on how the dead can be brought back to life, but I’m more or less fine with it.

As for a beginning, I really like Everett. He is the one reason why I really kept on with this story, and well he isn’t all that perfect either. And so aren’t any of the other characters. However, he always has sensibility and insecurities since he is different when compared to his brother. But I’m all the while fine with it. Truly, really fine with it.

As for Ruby, she is rather brave and at the same time naive. Since she relishes control over to her own brother, who does seem quite evil at times. But at the same time has always trusted him. As for her brother, who I have grown some sympathy for towards the end. Seeing as how he had plenty of moments where he seemed the same and yet different, towards the end, his character feels a lot more rounded with his awareness. And that it was a rather nice change to know them, and sibling relationships always do get my attention. Although it did bordered at times, but I didn’t feel as though it was really incest in any way possible. At least the end really revealed it all in a good light, convincing me that it didn’t seem that way. And all the while having the characters be a lot deeper than what they seemed.

As for the weirdness of this, I like it. It’s as simple as that, and that I have really gotten used to and even enjoyed how it was done. And that it was a lot easier to read when compared to her previous work.

So, this book may not be for everyone which is what I admit. But if it sounds interesting, do give it a shot. Also, check it out if you really like magical realism, for it gives no real explanation just plenty of possibilities as to why Dashniell could come back.

Rating: 4 out of 5


This was a surprise of a book. Once I picked this up, strangely Rune became a very interesting character to read through. Since her gift is also her crutch at the same time, the only reason why she was accepted with a deeper meaning revealed towards the end. And the explanation regarding her entire background, felt so historical and at the same time interesting. 

While this retelling plays around with a phantom hundred of years after, which I greatly liked. Since it deals with all the creepy weird things which to me worked perfectly here. And that Thorn is mysterious, twisted but mysterious. And that I liked that the romance went slow, to them slowly meeting, slowly figuring everything out about them. And all the clues. Since I wouldn’t see them meeting under normal circumstances, 

As for the actual phantom and what he did, such as having Christine for a short period. Actually liking the way it went, where everything didn’t end well for them. And it drove him into further obsession, which I liked the way it was. Even pushing him to get Thorn. 

As for the musical inclination, any book would have gotten into me with just that. It just feels so right, and when her gift both suffocates and glorifies her at the same time. I really enjoyed it, the way that there was so much of exploration of opera. Of music and of her talent. As for the reveal towards the end, I feel that it was rather fitting to have regarding her talents. 

Even more so, her doubts are completely believable. The way that she her father died, the way she nearly killed someone. That was believable in my account that she would stop playing. 

However, I do feel that the issues of this book lies on the fact that his mother feels as though she’s a sex worker just because she had a child out of wedlock. That’s just wrong, really. It feels off. While the romance was on point, and the atmosphere captured me, this just doesn’t sound good at all. Also, where Erik takes him to the whorehouse and forces him to do all that. Yeah, I feel that it’s wrong too. 

Overall, I would say this book is creepy and rather gothic. Precisely the retelling of the Phantom of the Opera I was looking for, but there are issues that cannot be ignored. I would say that the romance captivated me, and the music was the one thing that kept me reading. So, pick it up and just see it for yourself. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

The House Of The Spirits 

It does live up to expectations of a saga. As this story slowly unravels and balances the first person narration and mostly third person narration so incredibly well. The main narrator of the entire story is Esteban, who at times disgust me of the way he thought that Clara was his. And that she should be willing to share everything with him. 

As for Clara, in her own right, she is a strong woman. She would put her foot down and leave him, which she does in this book for her own daughter. The way that she is always so incredibly wise and aware of the world, and how she is portrayed is like a clairvoyant sometimes. Where she doesn’t try to speak. And her abilities really quite magical, and the way it is presented places this book into magical realism. Where sometimes certain events barely have any explanation, and this does pass due to the way Clara appears so incredibly aware. 

As for the family, which they are all rather crazy. Esteban with his obsession with Rosa and became a reason why he married Clara in the first place. Clara with all her abilities yet choosing not to interfere in many of her fates. Blanca, and her eventual life working hard and doing what she likes. All the while giving birth to a daughter. And Jaime and Nicolas, both of which finds their own strange path. Nicolas moving from one point to another without much thought, Jaime and his constant need for helping the poor. 

I really liked how their entire family became part of politics eventually. Such as Esteban running as a conservative, Jaime standing on the opposition side. As for eventually what happens to Alba and her, I would say that another party has come into power and one that is indeed a cruel tyrant. 

As for the story slowly beginning and ending, it all ends with Alba. And this saga has been quite entertaining really. Such as Clara deciding once and for all leaving, even though they still kept up appearances. Blanca and her affair, Jaime and Nicolas where both their paths diverged so incredibly much. And Alba, who grew up in this ridiculous environment.

So, this is a good book. More in the part that it developed characters over the years, and yet still kept their essence in the way that I could still recognize them. All the while spanning years and years with three generations of the family. And well, this books handles it all well. With how bizarre some of them are, and eventually having Esteban realise that he on some level had faulted. And Blanca deciding to let her first love go, after seeing that he was unwilling to be chained to her. 

And the way Alba views the world at the end. I would say that all this took a lot of work and planning, given how each character eventually had their own role to play and their own role to fulfill. And even seeing Esteban begging on his knees was nice indeed, and the way that he simply wants Alba back is really heartwarming too. 

So this is a family saga, and centered about their entire family and lives. And the way that somehow a lot of things eventually come back to them, and a lot of times there aren’t a lot of answers seeing as how Alba changed, and how mysterious she was at the epilogue. So, I would say that this book is more about the family than anything else. And each character was handled well for me, at least within the Trueban family. 

Rating: 4 out of 5′