BOOK REVIEW: For the Wolf – Hannah F. Whitten ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: For the Wolf
Author: Hannah F. Whitten
Rating: ★★★

I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a very long time and I think this is one of those instances where my own expectations got the best of me. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with For the Wolf – overall, I enjoyed the characters and the reading experience, but it wasn’t exactly what I had been expecting and honestly, there wasn’t much to set it apart from other fantasy novels with similar plots.

I will start by saying that I really liked Redarys and Eammon as characters. I enjoyed reading Red’s POV and found her to be an extremely likable protagonist. I also really loved the relationship that developed between her and Eammon. The two of them are what ended up carrying the story for me and I found myself more invested in their romance than the actually plot.

A lot of the story felt familiar…and it felt familiar because it wasn’t entirely unique. The book has certain aspects that feel very similar to other books of the fantasy genre. For some readers, that may not be a problem but for me personally it made it hard for the book to stand out. There was a sense of “been there, done that” when I was reading.

The one other complaint I have is that I was very confused by the magic system and backstory with the Five Kings. I kept thinking things would make more sense as the book went but it didn’t. After awhile I accepted the fact that I would just have to be okay with not understanding most of what was going on. I think the magic system had good bones and was a really intriguing idea, it simply wasn’t executed in the best of ways.

For the Wolf was one of my most anticipated releases for the year and a book I have been looking forward to for a very long time. Because of my anticipated and high expectations, I was disappointed when it didn’t quite meet them. A lot of the story felt overdone and the magic was convoluted which added to the letdown.

BOOK REVIEW: Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Rating: ★★★★★

Jodi Picoult is an author whose books I’ve grown up reading and each one has left an lasting impact. Her stories are thought-provoking and compelling, and Small Great Things was no different.

The way Small Great Things is written is both powerful and provocative. The story centers around racism, internal biases, and privilege. Picoult doesn’t tip-toe around these topics in an attempt to make readers feel less uncomfortable, instead she shines a blaring spotlight on them. It’s blatant, it’s in your face, and it’s incredibly important.

As a nurse, the fact that the story’s protagonist was a nurse on trial for possible medical neglect was intriguing and the biggest reason I picked up this story. And while there’s no way I would ever be able to completely find myself in Ruth’s shoes, there were aspects of her story that I could sympathize with. Getting thrown under the bus by the hospital in the face of a lawsuit, having your license suspended, needing to prove yourself in a court as a capable nurse; these are every nurses’ greatest fears and for Ruth, it was even worse know the color of skin was the reasoning behind many of the decisions made.

My biggest issue with the book was the ending. On the one hand, I appreciated what Picoult was attempting to accomplish by giving Turk that closure: in a perfect world, people would learn and grow from their racism. However, this isn’t a perfect world and I found it almost unbelievable to find a member of a white supremacist group have a change of heart in that matter. While I would love to believe that people are capable of that degree of change, in my experience it’s unlikely.

Small Great Things is another engaging, thought-provoking book by Jodi Picoult that will leaving a lasting impact on me and my actions. The book centers around the incredibly important and relevant topics of racism and privilege in our country in a page-turning story sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Colors in the Title

Hello everyone! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme for this week is colors in book titles, and honestly, I was surprised by how little books I’ve read with colors! I found for the most part a lot of metals (which technically double as colors) such as gold, brass, and silver. But as for actual colors of the rainbow: not so many!

What books have you read with colors in the title? Have your read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

ARC REVIEW: The Orphan Collector – Ellen Marie Wiseman ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: The Orphan Collector
Author: Ellen Marie Wiseman
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst.

The Orphan Collector is a captivating story about the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, and eerily timely giving the events of today. The author weaves together a story that is poignant, heartbreaking, and thrilling. I was absolutely glued to the pages and found it difficult to put the book down.

“A hollow draft of fear swept through her. It felt like the end of the world.”

Many of the events that occur during this time period are, unfortunately, relevant to the events going on around the world regarding COVID-19. When I first read the excerpt of The Orphan Collector on BookishFirst back in March, it felt like some of the passages could have been pulled from current headlines, and it sent chills down my spine.

“The churches and schools are to be closed. All places for gathering, even the factories and moving picture houses, will not be open. No funerals are to be allowed either. Many people are getting sick, so everyone is to stay home.”

It was impossible not to feel for Pia. The poor girl knows nothing but hardship and heartbreak from the first chapter of this book. Just when you think things are about to get better, another wrench is thrown into her search for her twin brothers. I wanted nothing more to than to have her happy and reunited with her loved ones by the end of the book, and while it wasn’t all sunshines and daisies, I do believe she is give the (mostly) happy ending that she deserved.

The book is also told through the point of view of Bernice, a grieving mother. As a reader, we start out feeling sorry for her situation, but very quickly those feelings change. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve hated a character as much as I hated Bernice. I must give kudos to the author for writing such a well-written villain.

The Orphan Collector is an extremely poignant and vivid recollection of one the worst periods of time. Ellen Marie Wiseman excelled at writing the story in a way that the fear and confusion were palpable to the reader. I highly recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction. You will not be disappointed by Pia Lange’s journey.

ARC REVIEW: The Prisoner’s Wife – Maggie Brookes ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Untitled-1Title: The Prisoner’s Wife
Author: Maggie Brookes
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley. 

The Prisoner’s Wife was inspired by a true story–and a shocking one at that. The story centers around Izzy, a Czech farmgirl, and Bill, a British prisoner of war. After falling in love and secretly marrying, Izzy dresses as a boy and the two run away together, full of desperation and hope, but are found by the Germans and sent back to Lamsdorf, a German POW camp. Now they face an even greater ordeal as they struggle to keep Izzy’s identity hidden in order to save her from being discovered and shot.

The writing captivated me from the beginning. It’s hard not to become invested in Izzy and Bill’s story. I really loved the transformation of their characters; at the start of the book they are naive, blindly in love, and make the brash decision to run away, however, this changes as they two face more and more difficulty. Maggie Brookes is an incredible writer and the desperation and bleakness felt by the character bleeds through the pages and into the reader. It’s not an easy book to read; this is a book about survival during one of the darkest times in history.

My only complaint is that I was looking for more from the epilogue. After everything the characters (and readers) are put through it would have been nice to have had a glimpse at some sort of happiness for them in the future.

The Prisoner’s Wife is an remarkable debut inspired by a true story. It’s a harrowing tale about maintaining love, hope, friendship, and perseverance during incredible hardships. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a breathtaking, poignant story.