Book Reviews

Review: The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

Winter is approaching quickly! The last part of 2020 seems to be flying by and the holiday season is almost upon us.

The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork is a perfect addition to this winter’s TBR.

It’s a music-laden and intriguing twist on the nutcracker story. I was going to wait until December to read it – but I couldn’t help myself! Once I started, I didn’t want to stop.

This magical tale follows young pianist Clara as she experiences not only the bewitchment of her first crush on another piano protégé, but also the enchantments of Prince Nikolai Volkonsky’s kingdom of Imperia.

In an article on NPR, we learn that the original author of The Nutcracker was E. T. A. Hoffman, and at the time he titled it Nutcracker and Mouse King. At one time, Hoffman also wrote that music “reveals an unknown kingdom to mankind: a world that has nothing in common with the outward, material world that surrounds it, and in which we leave behind all predetermined conceptual feelings in order to give ourselves up to the inexpressible.”

In The Enchanted Sonata, music literally reveals an unknown kingdom. Music plays a very special role in the story so I won’t give away everything. Just know you’re in for a treat. 🙂

(There are a couple grisly moments that I would be hesitant to share with very young readers but all-in-all The Enchanted Sonata is a family-friendly story.)

What are your favorite holiday and winter reads? Let me know in the comments!

Learn more about Heather Dixon Wallwork at her website and view her adorable artwork on Instagram.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Kya lives alone in a shack by the marsh, cared for from a distance by a handful of people, all the while earning the title of Marsh Girl – although not earning the harsh treatment that comes with it. Her path crosses with Tate, her first love, and Chase, former high school athlete. They feel drawn to her the way some people feel drawn to the marsh – one as someone who loves it and one as someone who wants to conquer it. Among the gulls and the grasses of the marsh, Kya has learned humanity through the wild things. Can it save her when it matters most?

Written by zoologist Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing is bittersweet and beautiful – my favorite combination in a book.

The story of Kya, left by her mother and siblings to live alone first with her alcoholic father and then by herself, is sad and earnest.

The pace in the beginning of the book is slow, and I think some readers take issue with that. It’s not fast-action thriller but there is enough suspense to draw you in and make your heart pound.

The slow pace in the beginning set the tone for the turbulence of the second half of the book – where the timelines draw closer and closer and everything comes together

Where the Crawdads Sing is Delia Owens’ first novel and I haven’t read any of her other published works, but I feel from this story and based on her career that she is a master at setting the scene and bringing us closer to nature through patience while sharing the beauty of even the smallest creatures.

One cannot be in a rush amongst the wild things.

I also love the poetry that is shared throughout the book, such as this excerpt:

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? Did you love it or do you think it doesn’t live up to the hype? Let me know!

Stay tuned for my next Nature in the Novel post, featuring Where the Crawdads Sing!

Happy reading, friends 🙂

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Space Between Worlds

Cara is a traverser – jumping between worlds by both the mercy of Goddess Nyame and the intentional hands of science. She spends every day with a woman she loves from afar while trying to reconcile the present with the past… That is, until a powerful announcement is made and Cara begins to believe that while she can’t alter destiny, she can still exercise her free will to choose between what’s right right now and what’s right for all.

When I hear “sci-fi” my brain automatically goes to things like The Twilight Zone or intergalactic travel (I grew up in a Star Trek household). The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is sci-fi that feels…. accessible. While not caught up in the technical aspects I usually lose interest in, there’s just enough for it to set the scene without rubbing it in your face. The emotions of the characters also create the drama that keeps me (and hopefully you!) coming. back. for. more.

The Space Between Worlds is also visually enticing. The juxtaposition of the technologically-advanced Wiley City and the left-behind-in-the-dust (literally) Rurals and Ashtown are something I would love to see on the big screen.

The Wiley City skyscrapers complete with gardens and courtyards are probably not far off from what our future holds. A quick Google image search of skyscraper vertical gardening gives you an idea.

It has the futuristic, post-apocalyptic thing going on which I think will never go out of style as long as we are pre-apocalyptic. Think The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent, etc. Why are we so drawn to these books? A post-apocalyptic world seems so – forgive me – out of this world but is so full of heroes it’s hard not to be drawn to it.

Other than having a good plot and excellent character development, The Space Between Worlds is DIVERSE. The plot does not center around a cisgender, white protagonist with a few diverse characters sprinkled in to the edges for good measure. The story is about humanity, all of it, pulling back its layers and exposing its deep truths.

With appropriately-timed revelations and the continuous theme of the relationship between science and religion, there is plenty in The Space Between Worlds to spark conversation. It would be a great book club selection.

Have you read The Space Between Worlds? Would you want to world-travel? I would honestly much rather be the world-traveler than the person who is visited by a traveler because I would be INSANELY jealous!

Happy reading, friends!

Beliefs and opinions reflected in this post are mine alone and do not reflect the beliefs and opinions of the author and/or publisher.