From Another Time, Another Dimension (Watcher in the Woods – A Book Review)

Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings #2)
Author: Robert Liparulo
Published: 2008

On Goodreads

Watcher in the Woods - Scholastic

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

It’s not just the house that’s keeping secrets.

After Xander’s mom is kidnapped and dragged through one of the dimensional doorways of the house, the rest of King family rallies together to get her back. Secrets about they really moved into this mysterious house is divulged and the Kings will never be the same.

A new school year begins and the townspeople of Pinedale are starting to suspect the King family of strange things, like abuse. With the mystery of the house, and a strange man stalking them, they have to stand together if they hope to get their mom back.

 

This book was better than the first one by a hair. There were many new elements and characters. Turns out, Dad has been in this house before. There’s an assassin that came through one of the dimensional doors that wants the house for himself. A bully harasses David.

I liked that the novel spread out some, going to school and that clearing where you can nearly fly. New settings really open up a book. However, the clearing (the anti-gravity clearing as I call it) was very strange and out of place feeling. There was so much I Don’t Know that it was just pointless. It didn’t bring very much to my imagination nor did it do anything for me but feel weird. The school was really cool because there was a glimpse of it in the first book. Now, school is in session and obviously, nobody wants to go.

The storytelling didn’t improve by much. I’m still a little confused because the characters aren’t making much sense of everything so neither am I, but I did like that the emotions were higher. Dude, mom is gone. Time to crank this up to eleven! And there’s an assassin! (The flashback of the assassin’s time before getting teleported into the Dreamhouse was out of place feeling, too.) I liked that the intensity was kicked up a notch. Everybody is freaking out.

What is happening

 

Overall

Still not a book that did much for me. My heart got pulled a little. I love my mom beyond words and I’d be going all terminator if somebody kidnapped her so, I can relate to Xander on that level. The storytelling felt like a jumbled mess and therefore didn’t really pull me in even though the imagery was great. A strong feeling of meh.

 

Quotables:

“He thought he could be a hero, and now he was about to get shot or blown up or…something that amounted to the same thing: dead.” (David, p. 4)

“It’s not kidnapping if I asked you to take me.” (Keal to Jesse, p. 280)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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A Door to Anywhere (House of Dark Shadows – A Book Review)

House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings #1)
Author: Robert Liparulo
Published: 2008

On Goodreads

House of Dark Shadows

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

15/25

 

Dream house…or bad dream?

When the Kings up and move from L.A. to the small town, Pinedale, Xander is more than upset. But when they happened across an old Victorian house hidden out in the woods, they think they’ve hit the jackpot. Everyone gets their own rooms. There’s woods for miles to explore.

Weird things begin to happen as they get ready to move in. There are prints of larger-than-normal feet in the dust. A special door in the linen closet. There a hallway with doors that lead to different periods in time like the Civil War. Xander begins to wonder if this is the coolest thing ever or just a dread nightmare come true.

 

This book marks 15 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I was really drawn in by the artwork and weirdness.

 

I honestly don’t know how I’m feeling about this book. It felt a little all over the place for me. I know this book is geared toward the independent reader genre, but still, I didn’t feel all that enthralled. Much of the bits were very intriguing, but I felt like they were lost in the story. Crazy things are happening in this old house, but they just didn’t work together, not in any way that made sense to me. My curiosity was piqued for sure, but unsatisfied. I did love the many TV references—Misery, Star Wars, and Supernatural to name a few. It puts the story in the real world, and lets readers relate more.

The setting of the small town and the old house was very cool. Everything was secluded, adding to the growing ominous feeling. The boys, Xander and David got a tower in their bedroom. Call me jealous, I’ve always wanted my own personal tower; a spot where I can read and have my own world. I really liked the blueprint of the house in the beginning of the book. Things like that really make me feel a little closer and involved with the story.

I struggled in following the story. There just wasn’t enough detail to make all of this click. I just couldn’t get emotionally invested either. This was written to get you on the edge of your seat with all of the wild things happening and sadly, I was just wanting it to be over.

ITBT

The closeness between Xander and his siblings was so special. At such a young age, most siblings fight and bicker and that wasn’t the case at all. They were there for each other and protecting one another. However, the parents were very odd. There wasn’t much of a difference between them and the kids. They talked and acted like them. Any real parental authority was overshadowed by them wanting to relate to the kids and be their friend. It really threw me off.

 

Overall: this book wasn’t what I imagined. I knew it wouldn’t be gory or utterly spine-tingling, but I do feel like this should’ve been more to help make the story more vivid and enthralling. Connect the dots. With tigers in the jungle and a creepy man wandering the property and other unexplainable things, I hoped for something more.

 

Quotables:

“What was embarrassing or personal, dreams and fears—it was all fair game in the King household.” (Xander, p. 107)

“We’re humans, not robots.” (Mom to Xander, p. 107)

“Loved ones die. Fact of life.” (Xander, p. 271)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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Rise Up (Children of Blood and Bone – A Book Review)

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Children of Blood and Bone

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

They killed my mother.

They took our magic.

They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Across Orisha, the maji used their magic, granted from the gods, to bring peace and balance. Orisha thrummed with life with that magic. Burners awakened flames. Tiders beckoned waves. Zelie hopes one day to be like her mother, a reaper that can summon souls.

Then suddenly, the gods disappear and the ruthless tyrant king destroys maji across the land, destroying Orisha along with it.

Years later, magic reappears and Zelie grasps at the chance to bring it back in full and rise against those that destroyed it and her mother. With her brother and a runaway, they begin a quest to save Orisha. Will they be able to do so before the crowned prince catches up in hopes of stopping them?

 

Not going to lie, this premise actually reminded me of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s also partially the reason I picked it up. It wasn’t the whole reason! I’d heard many a great things about this book before it was released and wanted to hop into something fresh, so I plucked it off the shelf at Walmart. Wasn’t let down at all. This book was SO FREAKING, PHENOMENALLY, WONDERFULLY written. Yes, the caps were necessary.

 

The book itself is a work of art. The cover and the map of Orisha on the inside. Left me breathless. It’s truly worth owning the hardback version.

Children of Blood and Bone

The world Tomi built left me in a state of complete and utter awe. It was strong and you could perfectly see the stunning imagery. Such a beautiful, yet tragic landscape with tragic loss and overwhelming fear looming over it. From the scarred towns, filled with treacherous guards that take what they please to wounded temples with the ghosts of its inhabitants still lingering in its stone hallways. I was just blown away.

The characters just blew me away. This story is told from three POVs: Zelie, Amari, and Inan. Each of their strengths and struggles and heartaches plucked at my heart and really pulled me in. Zelie has such a heavy weight in her heart, carrying the past. When she meets Amari, they’re thrust onto a path that changes them forever. It changes Inan forever, too, as he it storn between following his duty to his father and king, and helping his sister. Soon enough, the affairs of the heart complicate these quests even more. The complexity of their emotions twist and twist and there were so many times I forgot to breathe. When Zelie felt her anger melt away into the possibility of love and even a possibility of moving forward with her life, I was spellbound. My heart broke open.

 

And the magic!! Oh, it was incredible! It’s interwoven into a maji’s life, called ashê. I fell in love with just how much a part of life it was. It wasn’t something that was out of the ordinary. It was cherished, and in my opinion wrongfully feared in some instances. This magic, made of elements I’m pretty familiar with already like: time, light, death, fire, water…it’s connected to everything because it comes from so much more than just thin air. It’s from higher beings and not just ones that we guess or hope are there. They’re very present beings. This was one of my favorite parts of the story. It’s beautifully complex, yet not at all because it’s so well written into these characters’ lives and all of Orisha.

It's so beautiful

To get real for a minute, when I read the book I could see some serious parallels to our own world. Yes, I said our, because we all live in it together. The biggest thing I noticed was the relation between the guards in this book that are vile and treacherous and police that have used brutal and unnecessary force and violence on people. I’ve seen the firsthand videos of people being wrongfully abused. This power that police have and even farther up, the government as well, is scary. This country, the U.S., has become a scary place. Tomi wrote about this parallel in her Author’s Note and I was stunned. She did a stunning job in presenting one of the biggest issues in this country in a well-put-together way that not only swept the reader away, but plunged them into a beautiful story. It sends a powerful message.

 

Obviously, I recommend this book. It’s powerful and rich and emotionally rendering. This book is eye-opening and a work of art that’ll move you, like splitting open the earth to see its heart. You’ll want more. Hell, I want more!

 

Quotables:

“Deep down, I know the truth. I knew it the moment I saw the maji of Ibadan in chains. The gods died with our magic. They’re never coming back.” (Zelie, p. 15)

“The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known. No matter what I do, I will always be afraid.” (Zelie, p. 313)

“I hate my magic. I despise the way it poisons me. But more than anything, I hate the way it makes me hate myself.” (Inan, p. 323)

“We don’t need to fear magic. We only need each other.” (Inan, p. 387)

“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back.” (Zelie to King Saran, p. 416)

 

More to come…

-K.

 

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P.S. Song today? Rise Up by Imagine Dragons.

 

Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

Hanging Out at the Walgreens – (How to Hang a Witch – A Book Review)

How to Hang a Witch (How to Hang a Witch #1)
Author: Adriana Mather
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

How to Hang A Witch

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Being the new girl is tough. Being the new girl in Salem could be deadly.

Sam Mather is moved to Salem, Massachusetts—the home of the infamous Witch Trials. Being the new girl sucks, and it sucks worse when weird things start happening, all of them coming back to Sam. The Descendants—ancestors to witches—mark Sam like a leper because of her descendant to one of the Witch Trials’ major persecutors. As if her own checkered past wasn’t enough.

Eventually, they all must work together to break a centuries-old curse or else history may repeat itself.

As many have said, this is like Mean Girls meets history class, and they aren’t wrong. Emotions were high. While this book started bumpy at first, I got into it pretty quickly. Sam is such a spunky character on the outside and in, but also deeply caring. Her concern for her dad was incredibly heartwarming. I really loved all the memories she looked back on involving him. Though he wasn’t physically in the book, he has such a strong presence.

The use of the actual history was awesome! The Salem Witch Trials is one of my favorite subjects aside from Stonehenge, the pyramids, and everything strange. The way that this was so interwoven with the Trials really made me geek out. I really liked the way the story unraveled as a curse. Made more dark. The Descendants were more emo than I expected and came off a little cliché, but it was funny. I really found them to be entertaining. I feel the same about Elijah, the ghost of this witchy story. Rules were for ghosts really shocked me. While they can go through solid surfaces, they can also be touched and teleport? Very odd, but completely refreshing. I loved the dynamic between him and Sam. Him being formal and her being her awkward self.

awkard

Now, I know this has a sequel attached to it, but I feel like it could be a full-blown series. I just feel like there are so many possibilities, especially after reading the mini-bio of Adriana at the back. I really do hope that Haunting in the Deep isn’t the only book in this series.

This started out a bit rough for me. It was super awkward! Buuuut, then I remembered, I’m really freaking awkward, so my many grimacing, and cringing, moments aren’t because the book is terrible, because I enjoyed it immensely, but because I get it. Granted there were some rather silly moments that were odd, but nothing I couldn’t skip past, though it is part of the reason I can’t give it a full 5 bolts. Great and quick read.

Quotables:

“They really love their witches here.” (Sam to Vivian, p. 2)

“You never know in life when something unpredictable will happen.” (Elijah to Sam, p. 208)

“I can’t make friends at school, but I can with the dead. So at least I’ve got that.” (Sam, p. 254)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

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Destiny Strikes More Than Once ( Lightning – A Book Review)

Lightning
Author: Dean R. Koontz
Published: 1988

On Goodreads

Lightning

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

11/25

Destiny struggles to reassert the pattern that was meant to be.

A storm struck and lightning streaked the sky the nigh that Laura Shane was born. There was something strange about it that people would remember for a long time. The blond-haired stranger that came out of nowhere and saved her from a fatal delivery was even more mysterious. He shows again years later, and again later, saving her over and over.

Laura believes she has a guardian angel that watches over her. But as tragedies strike, she begins to questions whether this blond-haired stranger is a guardian, but rather a devil? Why is he watching out for her? Why mess with her life, her fate?

This book marks 11 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. Over and over, I’ve been told how great Dean Koontz is so I was amped to put him on the list and finally start reading some of his works.

Laura led a complex life, but with her guardian angel that’s protected her since birth it’s a little better, a little more hopeful. When she finally gets a moment to talk to him and ask him why he’s chosen her to watch over the answer stuns her, changing her life forever. He’s in love with her.

My mom recommended this book to me and as my first Dean Koontz book, I liked it. This is her favorite by him. She does nothing but gush about it. I also have an obsession with lightning so I was excited to read this book on just those two principles. LOL.

The characters were so beautiful. I was really taken with them. My heart went out to Laura who went through some really tough and dark times as she grew up, and survived them. My heart just dropped right out my chest and into La La Land for Stefan (that blond hair and blue eyes *sigh*). I couldn’t stop laughing at Laura’s best friend, Thelma, and Laura’s son, Chris because they were just too damn funny. What each of these characters brought to the book really rounded it all out.

The element of time travel was so eloquently done with how Stefan shows up periodically throughout Laura’s life. Very creative with the lightning; using it to travel was really unique and breathtaking. Lightning is such a powerful source. It can kill a person and bring them back to life. It’s impossible to control and one of nature’s most splendid forces. I was super intrigued by it!

Lighting

The writing really just pulled me along. It was done in two parts, which basically follow Laura as she grows up and then goes on to follow her and Stefan when they finally come together. Filled with romance, action, and suspense, this book was filled with entertainment from beginning to the end. Definitely one of those ones that’ll have you going, “Well, that escalated.” as well as have you feeling moved beyond words.

I may not have loved this book as much as my mom, but I certainly enjoyed it. This book left me with that sweet long feeling that leaves your heart feeling heavy and full. The ending was sweet and tender. Laura and Stefan were such amazing characters that swept me away. Both of them are strong with such big hearts.

Just a side question: Why hasn’t a movie been made based on this book?

Quotables:

“Eliot wrote: ‘Saints and martyrs rule from the tombs.’” (Stefan to Viktor, p. 29)

“Life is serious and a joke at the same time.” (Laura, p. 81)

“Adversity breeds toughness, and the tough succeed. And survive.” (Laura, p. 148)

More to come soon…

–K.

P.S. Song today? Sick Cycle Carousel by Lifehouse.

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Is A Life Worth More Than a Book? (Smoke and Iron – A book Review)

Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4)
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: July, 2018 (ARC)

On Goodreads

Smoke and Iron

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Knowledge is all!

Jess Brightwell and his friends are spread out across land and sea and must play a deadly game of spies and espionage. Shaky allies and betrayal threaten their rebellion against The Great Library. Each will have to be strong and take care not to take a step in the wrong direction or it could cost them their life.

The resistance continues to grow as Archivist of The Great Library begins to lose his grip. In his panic, he unleashes a weapon that can destroy cities. Something that Jess has seen before. With his friends, they will fight to take it down and finally save The Great Library.

THIS IS A REPOST. In honor of the release tomorrow, I wanted to repost this review. I truly adore this series and Rachel Caine. 

I won this ARC on Goodreads. I received is a proofread copy, so the quotes that I supply could change. My feelings on the book, not at all. Onward, booknerd.

You can find the reviews for the previous books in the series here:

Ink and Bone

Ink and Bonehere

Paper and Fire

Paper and Ashhere

Ash and Quill - Goodreads

Ash and Quillhere

 

This series just gets better with each book. I’m serious! I’ve said it more than once and I’ll say it again. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s smart, strategic, and fantastically worded. Every bit is so thought out and you don’t find that very often. It’s not unheard, but this take is to new lengths.

The rebellion is on! I’ve been WAITING for this! Wooo! This whole journey has led up to this and I was on the edge. When I read, most of the time I’ll pace. People ask me how I do it, but it’s just about the only way I get some serious focus. This time around, I was burning a trail into the floor from pacing so much. Haven’t done that since February when I read The Dark Calling (Book 5 of The Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole. This was amazing!

There was a return of many incredible characters. The ballsy soldier, Troll, fearless smuggler Anit, and the tender-hearted assistant Neksa. Seeing these characters again is one of the most exciting things, especially since this war for The Library has officially begun. Everybody is picking their sides and all hell breaks loose.

Smoke and Iron

Emotions were bouncing everywhere. With the characters apart for a while during the book I was really nervous. Everything was balancing on a pin and one slip and it could all fall apart. Now, more than ever, you’re taken deep into their thoughts and emotions. I was crumbling apart right along with them. Pretty powerful writing and overwhelmingly captivating.

As far as surprises and heart wrenching shockers, this book surpassed all of them. There were losses and revelations that I wasn’t expecting. Some regarding the relationships of these characters I’ve grown WAY too attached to and am not willing to give up. Dario and Khalila’s relationship takes a sharp turn as does Jess and Morgan’s relationship. For one, I squeeed with complete joy, but for the other I whimpered. To find out more definitely read the book because that’s all your getting from that. LOL.

So, I weeped and squealed and gasped. A lot of noises.

Buffy - Once More with Extreme Prejudice

One of the biggest differences form the previous books was that this one split up into parts, following the characters while they were on their separate journeys. It was actually pretty great. This wasn’t just from Jess’s POV, but from Khalila’s, Wolfe’s, and Morgan’s. Each of their perspectives was incredible.

If you’ve kept up with my previous reviews, you know that there hasn’t been much I could say about each. The insight to how they saw this rebellion and their feelings toward their friends was just phenomenal because I’ve always wondered. Khalila is strong and brave, never letting anyone challenge her beliefs or ability to fight for them. Wolfe comes across as cold and unfeeling, but that’s not the case at all. It’s just about the opposite. Morgan’s precisely as Jess views her. Determined and will sacrifice everything for those she cares about. This was one of my favorite things about the book. I loved the insight. It was powerful and truly made the story that much better.

So, I’ve gabbed on longer than I planned. My bad, but not really, I could talk forever, though eventually I’d be spoilery. Don’t want that.

Now, as you noticed the book doesn’t get released until July. I’m so grateful to be able to read this advanced copy. As you know—well at this point I’d hope you’d know after the last few reviews—Rachel is one one my favorite series authors. She can really create a world beyond belief. I am always sucked into her books. This series hasn’t disappointed me once.

Quotables:

“We are in this to the end now.” (Khalila, p. 68)

“We’ve opened the gates of hell, you know. And what comes out now is our fault.” (Glain to Khalila, p. 195)

“There is a rot at the heart of what we love. It is not the knowledge or the preservation of it. It is the notion that only we can decide what is worthy, what is not, what is progress, and whether or not it should proceed.” (Khalila, p. 203)

More to come soon…

-K.

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P.S. Song today? Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World

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New Dolls to Play With (Seeds of Yesterday – A Book Review)

Seeds of Yesterday
Author: V.C. Andrews
Published: 1984

On Goodreads

SOY

 

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

They escaped their mother’s hellish trap years ago, but a cruel history of lies and deceit has come full circle…

The secrets of the attic are brought forth to the next generation of Dollangangers. Bart invites his parents, Cathy and Chris, to stay at his home to which he’s had renovated to look nearly identical to the original Foxworth Hall the kept them captive for years, to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. Even though all of the children are fully grown and Cathy and Chris have taken on brand new last names, the beautiful and spacious place plays with Cathy’s nightmarish memories. With Bart turning viler towards his family, the dark secrets of Foxworth come full circle as the Dollangangers try to get past them and the tragedies that keep them imprisoned.

 

Real quick, I’m so sorry with how late this review is. I usually always try to get one up every one to two days, but work has been an energy sucker. Love you, booknerds. You’re truly awesome. I’m happy you’re here. Now on with the review!

 

This is the fourth book to The Dollangangers and V.C. Andrews is still keeping me twisted up. This series has really flung me around. I’ve never been more disturbed, though I must say, this one was much less twisted compared to the previous books. The focus during this book is for The Dolls to heal and the journey to finally achieve that after everything they’ve been through: getting locked up in an attic for their childhood and get abused by their grandmother, seeking revenge for that loss of innocence, The Dolls nearly losing their children to their mother and a psychotic butler. And that’s just the shortened bits. Trust me, if you haven’t read the books, I haven’t really given any spoilers away.

Reviews of the other Dollanganger books:

Flowers in the Attic

Petals on the Wind

If There Be Thorns

 The next generation of the Dolls are grown up. Jory is a famous ballet dancer, just like his mother once was. Cindy is in private school and well on her way to being an actress. Bart is just waiting impatiently to inherit what is rightfully his, the fortune left to him by his grandmother.

One of my favorite things about this is that I’m a big fan of going into a new generation. It’s so fun to watch characters grow up and see where they go. It’s one of my favorite ways to see a story pushed forward. In this case, it was more nerve-wracking because this isn’t your typical book. Happiness is always short-lived and the secrets creep and slither like vines or snakes, leaving me really uneasy because I’m never sure when more nastiness is about to happen. The whole point, making this another great entry to the series.

Thumbs Up

The suffering of each Doll child is greatly expressed and really broke my heart. Granted, after reading If There Be Thorns, I expected the damage to be more apparent. The development of the psychological damage within Jory, Bart, and Cindy, and how it shaped them later on was spectacular. What a way to reach out to some real human issues like manipulation and self-esteem and bullying. Long term consequences, people.

The imagery is still wonderful, always capturing my brain. Seeing Foxworth Hall all over again was chilling! I was half expecting the ghost of the grandmother (Freaking evil Olivia.) to be floating around. Cathy once again takes the story by the wheel, steering me with her trembling fears. Seeing her more in touch with her emotions than ever before was gutting me. At this point, she’s barely hanging on. She’s not bent on revenge anymore, but desperate to help her family. And with all of that I’m just like,

SOY

But then there’s, her beyond disturbed son, Bart and he is just…well…the guy is a jerk! WORSE THAN THAT! And well, grrrr. A devil in human skin. Some of the things he said were just downright evil and disgusting, especially about women, leaving me like this after every single time he opened his mouth.

BS

I will say this. Bart is not the antagonist. Not really. Like the rest of the Dolls, he too is tied up in the dark secrets of Foxworth, and possibly is the worst effected. I still don’t like him.

I’m still drawn in and hypnotized by the language. It’s beautiful and makes the characters truly stand out as individuals. The story is vivid and strong. I can’t say often that language stands out to me the most in a book, but it really did for me this time. Very beautiful in a haunting story.

 

Do I recommend this book? Of course! The whole series is a great read. It’s filled with toil and darkness and some seriously effed up shit. It’s nothing you’d expect. Having known a lot about the series before reading it, I was still shocked. I can’t wait to read more of Andrews’s works, though not so much the stuff after her passing. I read The Mirror Sisters trilogy and while it wasn’t terrible, it didn’t really compare to this.

 

Quotables:

“I no longer believed in fairytales.” (Cathy, p.3)

“If I am so unlucky as to lose you first, I’ll sit day by day before a window staring out and remembering how it used to be with you.” (Cathy to Chris, p. 84)

“Foxworth Hall had trapped us again.” (Cathy, p. 135)

“Don’t you feel it? Can’t you hear it? Do you sense this house is breathing, like it has a life of its own?” (Melodie to Cathy, p. 158)

“Hope…in this house of dark misery we were always clinging to hope we colored yellow—like the sun we seldom seen.” (Cathy, p. 203)

“To have blind faith in anyone but God is idiotic.” (Bart to Cathy, p. 334)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers.

 

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