Rosemary and Rue Review

The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Outsiders from birth, these half-human, half-fae children spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October “Toby” Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas. The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery…before the curse catches up with her.

This book sounded like a great read-alike Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. October Daye had it all, a high position in the faerie court, a family, and then lost it for fourteen years while under a spell. She has cut off all her ties to faerie and works the night-shift at a grocery store. She is sucked back in when a good friend dies and places a curse on her to solve her murder. What happens next should be a great mystery/fantasy, but it doesn’t quite do it for me. I liked the book, it was an easy and quick read. I didn’t love the book. October is suffering from her lost time and the portrayal of her anger and despair over that are what kept me reading the story.

It bothered me that she cut ties with everyone, even people she called friends. She learns a lot of what she missed out on during the course of the novel and regrets not keeping up with the people she cared about. She never really gives any explanation for why she shunned the community; but that didn’t bother me as much. October has to talk to a lot of people in the course of her investigation seemed more of a way for the author to introduce the various characters and places in faerie than actually help with solving the murder. I liked seeing the various characters and the different worlds; I just wish the world-building had been done differently than it was.

After stumbling her way through the entire novel and a few deaths, October is able to solve the case and takes her place back in Court. This is the first in an ongoing series with this character. While I enjoyed the book, I don’t have any plans to read all 12 books in the series. I may pick up a later book to see if the writing and character improve over time. It wasn’t the greatest book, but it wasn’t the worst.

Rating: 3/5

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Everything Everything

Madeline Whittier has to watch the world from the inside of a bubble—literally. Her diagnosed condition of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency is a life sentence that limits her to a world of two people: her mother, who is a doctor, and her nurse. Everything changes when Olly and his family move into the house next door. Olly is the kind of inventive guy who figures out a way to communicate with Madeline, and over the course of the next few months Madeline becomes Maddy, a young woman who takes potentially deadly risks to protect Olly emotionally, if not physically.

 

Madeline is as content with her life as she could be. She isn’t allowed outside, she’s never been outside. Despite that, she mostly is happy with her life and her insulated world. That all changes when Olly and his family move next door. What starts as a brief conversation turns into a wonderful love story. Madeline is a great heroine. She doesn’t get too angry over her fate too much, choosing to see the good things in her world instead of all the bad. Her perspective definitely got me thinking about how I view my chronic ailments.

When a new family moves next door, Madeline tries not to be interested, not to be attached. She didn’t count on Olly. Olly barrels into her life and makes her start wanting things she’s never wanted before. Olly has demons of his own and their connection is immediate. He handles her illness surprisingly well. Because of Olly, Madeline starts wanting more and takes a very drastic risk in her desire to be normal.

There aren’t many adults in this book. We see the most of Madeline’s mom and her nurse, both who are very different. Her Mom also happens to be her doctor and is very protective of Madeline. Her nurse feels she should have a little more freedom and allows Madeline a little more leeway in her actions.

The twist at the end was completely and utterly unexpected. I can’t talk much about it without spoiling what happens, but it was definitely a shocker!

Rating: 4.5/5

History is All You Left Me

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When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson.  But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

I liked Adam Silvera’s first book, but this is truly an exceptional work of literature. The exploration of first love, friendships, family, and grief are heartbreakingly written. The novel is broken up into two time periods: the first being the story of Griffon and Theo’s relationship from beginning to its end and the second about Griffin trying to process his grief over Theo’s unexpected and sudden death.

Plagued by compulsions and ticks, Griffin’s grip on sanity loosens when he learns about Theo’s death. Unable to control himself, he slips into a downward spiral and makes some unexpected and not necessarily always healthy life choices. His decision to follow Jackson back to California is both a healing and heartbreaking trip. I don’t want to spoil the secret he is keeping, but I thought it was going to be worse than it was. The secret is enough to have Griffin feeling responsible for Theo’s death and his guilt is palpable, especially when reading the story of their relationship. It seemed totally conceivable that Griffin would expect that he and Theo would one day get back together given the circumstances of their breakup.

Griffin is a character that is hard to say goodbye to when the book ends. His voice is so raw and authentic that he leaps off the pages and into your heart. I am not sure if Adam Silvera put any of himself in Griffin, but it would make complete sense if he did. I got very protective of Griffin, wanting to sit him down, put an arm around him, and let him know that eventually things would be okay with time and a little bit of therapy. It also made sense that he and Jackson would be in different places in the healing process and their thoughts on dating again.

Griffin and Jackson share many similarities, but enough differences to know that Jackson was not simply a replacement for Griffin. The book ended on a slightly hopeful note, but I knew that both Griffin and Jackson had a long road ahead of them. What made it work was somehow knowing that they would find their way out of their grief one day and live again.

Rating: 5/5