My Waiting on Wednesday Reading List

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases. Normally, when I post my Waiting on Wednesday pick, I select only one book to feature. However, I have some pretty incredible ARCs in my reading list right now, and I thought that this week I would change things up and give you a little preview of some of the books I will be reviewing in the near future. Keep your eyes on these six books which are sure to be a hit when they reach the shelves!

shadowA SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING
By Jessica Cluess

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Summary (via Goodreads)
I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Why I’m Waiting:
I’m currently reading this ARC, and I am about to hit the halfway point. Let me tell you this – I cannot WAIT to rave about this book! I’m completely enraptured by the protagonist, Henrietta, who is essentially a Victorian lady human torch! I know it’s going to be a series, and I’m already dreading the wait for a sequel.

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Off the Shelf: A Review of Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

One of my favorite things to do after finishing a book is to find out more about the author. I like knowing a little more about the person behind the pen. To me, it makes them feel more like an everyday person. Someone I might know. It also makes me think about how I’d want to describe myself to readers in the future (if I ever get on the ball and make my book happen). Reading Sarah Glenn Marsh’s bio on Goodreads, I feel like we would get along swimmingly:
Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult fantasy novels full of danger, mythology, and kissing. Sometimes she writes children’s picture books, too.
She lives, writes, and paints things in Virginia, supported by her husband and four senior greyhounds.
If she could, she’d adopt ALL THE ANIMALS.

See? We’d totally be friends, bonding over our favorite picture books while exchanging photos of all of our rescue animals. Speaking of adopting all the animals, guess whose fur family just got bigger? That’s right. We’ve added an abandoned husky to our pack, one who thinks she’s the same size as the pug and has just as much desire to be in your lap… which of course can be mighty distracting while trying to type, so let’s get this review going so I can get back to husky cuddles!

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Summary (via Goodreads)
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

Publication Date: October 4, 2016
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Things I Liked:

I’m picky when I request ARCs. My free time that I can spend reading at my leisure is limited, so I request only a few ARCs at a time, and only the ones that truly stand out to me as something different. For me, Fear the Drowning Deep hooked me not only with its mysterious description of the plot, but also with that absolutely GORGEOUS, haunting cover.

Once I got past that beautiful cover, I discovered that Sarah Glenn Marsh has a fantastic way with words. She paints such a beautiful, eerie setting and crafts her story rich with culture and mythology. I felt like a part of Bridey’s family. You get to know the ins and outs of their daily lives, their struggles, their customs, as well as their relationships with the other town folk.This book really delivered when it comes to immersing the reader in the location’s history. Bridey is a strong character, plagued with a fear of the sea that stole her grandfather, and her suspicions have plenty of merit. I loved that the monsters in this book weren’t the typical, overdone sea monsters, and instead had depth in mythology.

Fynn, the stranger who washes up on the beach without a single memory of his life before, was definitely a highlight for me. His voice and mannerisms were a delight, and he’s one of those characters plenty of readers will soon have a major “book crush” on. I was hooked on his interactions with Bridey and how he challenged her to overcome her fears. If Sarah Glenn Marsh ever plans to revisit this world in a sequel, I hope it’s one that is told in Fynn’s point of view.

Things I Didn’t Like:
I knew going into this book that Morag, the local “witch”, would be one of my favorite characters. Throw a witch into any story, and she’s probably going to be my favorite. It seemed to me from the summary though, that she would play a much larger role than what she actually did in the story. Bridey is supposed to be her apprentice, so I expected their encounters to be mysterious, creepy, and mystical. What they actually were was almost nonexistent. A lot of the time either Morag was avoiding Bridey, or Bridey had something else to do that made her avoid Morag. It was a little bit of a let down in that regard, but that’s what I get for coming into this book with preconceived notions from the summary.

The ending was unfortunately where this book hit a low point with me. The story had such a good build up that it was a shame that the final scenes weren’t treated with as much care and delicacy. It was a hodgepodge of loose ends and plot holes. To illustrate my point, I will try to describe one moment that bothered me profusely without getting too *spoiler-y*….While battling a deadly sea creature, Bridey drops the one item that could clinch her victory (an item that kept being stressed in the story for its importance) into the water. She also happens to be wearing a charmed necklace which will absolutely prevent her from drowning. This is where I would fully expect her to rise to the occasion, put her newfound bravery to the test, and dive in after the object. Does she? Nope. It’s never mentioned again once it drops into the water. The ending felt rushed and not as well written as the rest of the book.  I guess endings can’t be everything we expect them to be or it would just get predictable, but I was really hoping for more here.

Overall Rating:
Somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4, so let’s just go ahead and round up in regards to stars. I really enjoyed the story most of the way through, and would have definitely given it at least a solid four or more… but the ending just lost me. The book is a standalone novel, yet I still feel incomplete. It makes me wish for a sequel so that the loose ends may be tied up. Maybe we can all beg and plead for the author to revisit this world? It’s definitely worth a read though, so don’t skip over it just because I had some concerns about the ending. Not everyone is going to like every ending. Fear the Drowning Deep has enchanting characters, intriguing mystery, and shows that we are all capable of putting terror and uneasiness behind us when the things we hold dear are at stake. You shouldn’t miss out on this unique and exciting story, so be sure to check it out when it’s released! For that matter, be sure to keep Sarah Glenn Marsh on your radar as well. I’m greatly looking forward to future books from her!

“And with the melody came the unmistakable sound of water slapping against the rocks far below us, slowly eroding the foundation of Port Coire and everything I loved.”
  – Sarah Glenn Marsh, Fear the Drowning Deep

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Luna would like to know if I’m done typing yet.

 

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Off the Shelf: A Review of The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, & John Tiffany

I have been dreading writing this review, mostly because the words I’m about to write may seem to fellow fans somewhat blasphemous. To preface, I am a giant Harry Potter fan. I grew up with the books, aging along with Harry. I would anxiously await each book’s release, and then race through the pages with my friends to see who could finish first. A few years ago, I commemorated my childhood by getting Harry Potter themed tattoos with one of my best friends, on Harry’s birthday, no less.

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Mine is on top. Hers is on bottom.

 I even host a Harry Potter Birthday Bash at the library where kids can make their own wands, get sorted, and play games that I hope bring a little bit of wizarding world magic alive. Harry Potter is my passion, and I, like millions of other fans, was initially thrilled about the production of The Cursed Child and the play’s script being considered the long-awaited 8th book in the series.
Then, I read it, and all I want to do now is throw it as hard as I can into Myrtle’s toilet.

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Summary via Goodreads
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I will caution that there are *spoilers* ahead. I went along with #KeepTheSecrets after reading, but I believe enough time has passed now, and it’s time to talk about the tragedy that is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Things I Liked:

Scorpious! Scorpious Malfoy is pretty much the best thing to happen to this script, and probably the only character I really cared for throughout the entire thing. He’s sweet, funny, and his scenes with Albus were what got me through this book. He’s a delight, and I needed more of him.

I will admit, there’s a really high point in the middle where Albus and Scorpious get to interact with a most beloved character – Snape. I cried (profusely), but hey, I’m totally biased. Snape will always have a spot in my heart, so I’m automatically going to be partial towards some Snape fanservice.

Things I Didn’t Like:

Where do I begin? I like to keep notes in my phone as I read when there are specific moments I’d like to touch on in my review…What do my notes look like for The Cursed Child? Well, here’s an excerpt:

-Harry wetting the bed……WTF?!?
-Scorpious better turn out to be gay, otherwise I’ve never seen ‘the power of friendship’ laid on so thick. All of this foreshadowing to his relationship with Albus better lead to something.
-Someone should probably explain to me why the Sorting Hat is now a person. Is he sitting on top of their heads still? I bet this either makes way more sense or looks absolutely ridiculous when performed on stage.
-PLOT HOLES!!!!
– Can we please just have a story about the Marauder years instead?
-Didn’t polyjuice take months to create? Well, heck, let me just whip up this complicated potion in a minute or two.
-It’s as if the writers have never heard of Harry Potter and someone just gave them the vaguest ideas about the characters. “Harry, yeah, he’s like, super brave, but he has a chip of survivor’s guilt on his shoulder….Hermione? Well, she’s like really smart…Ron? Oh….ummmm…just have him pop in every now and then with something corny to say.”

Not even joking. Trust me, I wish I was.

Coming into this book, I knew it would be a script instead of a fleshed out novel. I knew there would be shortcomings in terms of description just based on the format, and I was fine with that. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was a severe lack of authenticity. It called to mind really terrible fanfiction. Nothing about these characters made me feel like I was reading about the crew that I’ve been so fond of since picking up Sorcerer’s Stone over 15 years ago. Dumbledore professes his love for Harry like a son, Professor McGonagall starts sounding like she’s on I Love Lucy – “You’ve got some explaining to do!”, and Ron, well, poor Ron just feels like a prop no one cares about… at least he gets to appear more than Neville, which isn’t saying much. It’d also be nice if there was some clarification on voice inflection for certain phrases. I swear, there were lines that could be read at least three different ways, and the context didn’t provide any insight to their tone.

So, through a series of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey screw ups with a Time Turner, we discover that Voldemort had a daughter with Bellatrix, and that daughter is now set on making sure her father lives in the past to take over the world in the future. Yes, you read that right, that’s exactly the direction they decided to take this story. Why? The world may never know. There are a million other story lines that would have worked out better, but noooooo, we had to take the world’s most awkward epilogue (let’s just all go ahead and agree that Deathly Hallows would have been perfect without the epilogue) and expand it into a script that outdoes that awkwardness on every level. We didn’t need a story about the gang’s kids and every character we ever knew waxing poetic about who they are deep down inside now that they are older and the world has changed. No. Just NO. If anything at all, give us the Marauders. Harry’s tale was told perfectly in seven books. We didn’t need more of him, but a story where Harry wasn’t even a glint in his mother’s eye yet? That would have been acceptable… at least as long as no one let Jack Thorne and John Tiffany even remotely close to it. I refuse to accept that J.K. Rowling in any way had a major hand in Cursed Child. It is almost entirely devoid of her voice, of her characters, and of her magic.

Overall Rating:
2/5. Two reasons it’s at least getting a two – 1.) I actually did have an emotional response to something that happened in the story. 2.) I WANT to like it. It’s Harry Potter, so technically I feel like I SHOULD like it. Problem is, I just don’t. I don’t accept it as part of the canon, and the only way I’m consoling myself is by telling myself it was all just a bad, experimental piece of fanfiction. Besides, you should all know by now, A Very Potter Musical always has been and always will be the BEST Harry Potter stage show, and at least it’s one you are MEANT to laugh at. Instead of wasting your time with Cursed Child, you should probably head over to YouTube and give AVPM a watch. Or you could check out Inverse’s 5 Harry Potter Fanfictions that are better than Cursed Child.

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Well, at least I took a pretty picture of the book while getting to let my Slytherin pride show.

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