Behind the scenes January

A Year of New Adventures – Maddie Please

A year of new adventures

Title: A Year of New Adventures
Author: Maddie Please
Pages: 400
Edition: Arc by Netgalley
Genre: adultcontemporary
Links: Goodreads
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Synopsis A Year of New Adventures:

t’s time for Billie Summers to have an adventure … but it might not be exactly what she expected. Billie Summers has always been quite content in her little cottage in the Cotswolds, sure half the house hasn’t been renovated, but what’s the point when it’s only her! Working part-time at her uncle’s bookshop and planning 3-4 writer retreats with her best friend allows her to pay the bills. What more could anyone want? That is until Oliver Forest, the bad boy of the book world, turns up to one of her retreats and points out that Billie hasn’t done anything very adventurous. Couple that with her best friend falling head over heels and beginning to drift away from their Friday night wine and dinner plans, Billie is starting to wonder if it isn’t time she take control of her life.So she starts a list: get fitted (properly) for a bra, fix up rest of house, find a ‘career’ and well, get a tattoo … Her life might just get the makeover it needs, too bad irritating and far-too-attractive for his own good, Oliver keeps showing up …

Review A Year of New Adventures:

When I started reading A Year of New Adventures I thought I was absolutely going to love this story. Lets be honest it is about a aspiring writer who loves to cook. That kind of sounds right up my alley when we speak about things I like in contemporary romance. But while I was reading I soon discovered that this book was giving me some very mixed feelings. Some parts were quite brilliant and could have landed this book very high on my favorite contemporary list, but other parts made me cringe while reading.

 

Lets star of with the main character Billie! She is a very enjoyable character, a little bit of a mother figure, trying to take care of everybody in her life and sometimes forgetting about herself altogether. She is a sweet, compassionate woman who is still searching for her place in the world. She had a very distinctive sense of humor, that sometimes is spot on, but sometimes made me roll my eyes while reading. I really disliked the inner dialogues she had with herself. I know they were added as a funny note to the story, but for me they made it a bit juvenile. And that’s quite a shame, because Billie had a brilliant sense of humor when she wasn’t talking to herself.

Then there is the romance… because well A Year of New Adventures has of course a romantic story. A romantic story that really got up to speed in the last 50 pages or so. I didn’t like the way the romance was handled in this story. There should have been more romance or not any at all. I understand that the focus of the story was about Billie finding herself and that only a sub-plot was about the romance. But now it just felt rushed, like she wanted to give the reader something at the very last part of her story. Really it is 350 pages of exploring who you are, cursing that bloody awful men with his dreamy body and than suddenly 50 pages of passion, attraction and emotions flying around. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved those 50 pages. That’s why I think as a reader I was cheated out on some wonderful romance that could have enveloped the whole book. On the other hand I absolutely loved that Billie didn’t need a man to find her true happiness.

I loved the ending! I can’t say to much about it, because spoilers honey. But I could really appreciate that Maddie Please choose to make Billie an independent woman who chooses and works for her own happiness, without choosing the easy way out.  Another lovely asset to the story is Not-My-Cat, Billies pet. Well not her pet. I love it when animals start to feel like a character in a story all on their own. And Not-My-Cat really added a little extra spice to the story.

All in all A Year of New Adventures was a decent read. Nothing outstanding, but overall fun and enjoyable. Ideal to spend a rainy day with a light book full of small delightful adventures.

 

Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan Mcguire

beneath the sugar sky

Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
AuthorSeanan Mcguire
Pages: 174
Edition: E-book
Genre: Fantasy,
Links: Goodreads
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Synopsis Beneath the Sugar Sky:

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world. 
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

Review Beneath the Sugar Sky:

People who have been following my blog for some time now, know that I am absolutely in love with the Wayward Children series By Seanan Mcguire. I even counted the first two installments among my favorite reads of 2017. Beneath the Sugar Sky was very high on my most anticipated releases of 2018 and the moment it came out I dived straight in. Although I was a little unsure about the premise of the book, because part of the story-line is centered around Sumi’s daughter Rini and to accomplish that Mcguire would need to play with timelines.

“Children have always tumbled down rabbit holes, fallen through mirrors, been swept away by unseasonal floods or carried off by tornadoes. Children have always traveled, and because they are young and bright and full of contradictions, they haven’t always restricted their travel to the possible.”

But she did a wonderful job and I shouldn’t have been afraid. She clearly has a talented for writing and creating engaging stories. Although this book made it clear that I am certainly not a nonsense girl and no such world could ever draw me in. Although the story kicks of in Elenor West school for Wayward children, most of the story-line is set in Confection, a nonsense world made out of sugar, sweets and candy. Going from candy-corn fields over a strawberry lemonade sea. But all-though we enter this whole new world we talk familiar faces from the previous stories with us. Because Beneath the Sugar Sky is a quest story and so we get to see how children react when they enter a world that doesn’t belong to them.

“You were a mermaid, weren’t you? That’s what Nadya said.”
“I still am,” said Cora. “I just have my scales under my skin for now.” 

But we are also introduced to a new member of the wayward family: Cora. She is a plus size character that has lived in the Land beneath the Lake as a mermaid. I was so intrigued to read about her. Because as you might know I am plus size myself and I am always happy to see more plus girls in books. Although I struggled with Cora. She is incredibly insecure and relates everything to her obesity. And I completely understand this, because when you are obese you get judged all the time. People will take behind your back. Hateful things will be said. But for some reason I started to hate the pity party Cora threw for herself all the time. On the other hand I loved how McGuire handled an overweight person in a world full of candy. This could have gone wrong very quickly, but she handled it with so much grace, I could only applaud her.

“A cake’s a cake, whether or not it’s been frosted,” said the stranger primly. “You are not a cake, you are a human being, and I can see your vagina,” snapped Nadya. The stranger shrugged. “It’s a nice one. I’m not ashamed of it.” 

Another thing I must applaud is the depth in the overall story-line and then I mean the whole series. With every installment we learn a little more about the portal world and how they relate to each-other. Sometimes it feels like science, but wonderfully, interesting, I wish it was true science. So many possibilities, so many layers, such an amazing world-building.

Beneath the Sugar Sky was my least favorite installment so far. But that still makes it pretty amazing. I can’t wait to read more about the Wayward children and was beyond joy when Seanan Mcguire announced she was writing some more books in this series. And while I wait for the next part of the series, I will keep on recommending this series to everyone I know. Go read it! Go read it now!!!!