Monday, March 25, 2019

It’s time for a couple of mini reviews. I read Far Far Away and A Different Blue through the majority of February (I finished Blue at the beginning of March). Far Far Away was my Backlist pick for the month of January, but I didn’t get to it until February (oops) and A Different Blue was my Backlist pick for February!

(The Backlist Project is my own personal journey of reading through the books on my Goodreads TBR that were published before the current year … so anything 2018 and older.)

Without further ado, here’s my thoughts on these two backlisted novels!

Far Far Away

Abbreviations (#3)Far Far Away
Author: Tom McNeal
Published: June 11th, 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: young adult, mystery, fantasy
Source: Library
Format: eBook, 384 pages

It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings...

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3 Stars

What I Liked

  1. I thought it was pretty cool how the story was narrated by a ghost. (And not just any ghost, but the ghost of Jacob Grimm.)
  2. There was an air of mystery to the story. Children were disappearing, and a heavy sense of foreboding crept in the book until a good dose of action happened around 60%.

What I Didn’t Like

  1. The pacing was slow. A lot of things had to be planted for the action to take place around 60%, but there were many times when I wished something would just HAPPEN.
  2. The main character seemed a bit dull, and I found myself liking the supporting character, Ginger, much more.

Why I Rated it 3 Stars

A lot happens to the main character, and even the supporting characters, and while the villain is pretty much staring you in the face the whole time, it takes half of the book for their evil nature to come to light. While I did enjoy the story for the most part, it just took forever for things to capture my interest, and even then, I wasn’t devouring the pages as I would have liked.

A Different Blue

Abbreviations (#3)A Different Blue
Author: Amy Harmon
Published: March 29th, 2013 by CreateSpace
Genres: new adult, contemporary, romance
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Format: eBook, 306 pages

Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.

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4 Stars

This story was an emotional rollercoaster that took you through the life and time of Blue Echohawk. We start out at her senior year, and she is a hard, layered girl, who wears tight clothes, cakes on the makeup, and wears attitude like armor. And then her new history teacher captures her attentions: Mr. Wilson. He makes her want to learn and catches her interest, despite her seething about his “personal history” project he wants all of his students to write. Blue fights it at first, because her history is very much a mystery. She barely knows where she comes from. Her only father figure she had was never really her family to begin with, and her mother abandoned her to him when she was about two… (she doesn’t even know her birthday!)

Blue’s only reprieve from her messy life is carving wood. She watched Jimmy, her father figure, for years and now she’s really quite good at it. So good, in fact, that she sells her carvings out of the diner that she works at.

After graduation, Wilson checks in on Blue because she let it slip to him that she’s pregnant, and he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Her gives her a place to live, and a place to carve as a tenant in his compartmented house. Things start to pick up for Blue when she meets Wilson’s sister, who is a curator of art and is in love with her carvings and thinks she could make major money selling them. All the while, Wilson is becoming her only real friend.

History is written according to what men believe, whether or not it’s true. As the writer of your own history, what you believe influences the paths you take.

Blue made a blossoming transformation in the book, and Wilson had a major positive influence on her, along with his family. This book actually made me cry at some points, because it made you feel such emotion – most of us are so lucky to know where we come from, an we don’t struggle the way Blue did with her identity. Could you imagine not knowing your mother, or knowing your real name, or even your birthday?

I really liked Wilson. He played the cello. And I am a sucker for cello players, especially if the cello players are also British. Other than that, he was patient, honorable, and believed in Blue when she had no emotional strength to believe in herself.

Why I Rated it 4 Stars

The scenes that the author set up to bring Blue and Wilson together were written wonderfully, and it was honestly just a really good read about personal growth and finding yourself, with a good measure of romance thrown in. Sometimes the writing got a little confusing when Blue would volley between the present and a memory, and the resolution of the story brought Blue comfort, but as a reader, I wish it had something more to it.

If you want a story that focuses on slow-burn friends-turned-lovers, then this is your book!


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