Friday, July 10, 2020

Backlist Mini-Reviews

Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg (2018)

Gentry and her siblings are abandoned by their father, who heads to California to find fortune in the gold rush.  When strange natural phenomena begin occurring, Gentry is introduced to a world of magic by a beguiling stranger.

I really enjoyed this quiet, thoughtful book set in Utah during the 1850s (or, at least sometime during the gold rush, the book never actually specifies the date).  Holmberg did a beautiful job combining history and fantasy.  The struggles Gentry faces trying to keep her family afloat felt so real, and the magical realism added to the story.  The magic fueled by gold (and how the earth responds when too much is taken from it) was very imaginative.  There's also a sweet love story!  If you're looking for a lot of action, this probably isn't the book for you, though.  Like I said, it's a pretty quiet book, but Holmberg's writing is beautiful and the setting is not one I come across often.  4 stars

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett (2015)

I've read a couple of Jenn Bennett's books before and really enjoyed them, but this one missed the mark for me.   Beatrix wants to be a medical illustrator and Jack is a graffiti artist - their connection is strong, but each has family issues that may get in the way of their happiness.

Is it weird to say I enjoyed everything but the main characters?  I felt like Bennett was trying too hard to create these quirky, interesting characters, and to me it felt insincere.  Beatrix felt like a stereotypical "artist," and Jack alternately seemed way too old and also very immature for his age.  Their insta-love never really grabbed me.  I was more interested in the family issues that each was facing.  The way Jack dealt with his sister's mental illness was so touching.  Beatrix was dealing with the fallout from her parents' divorce, and I liked that there ended up being more to that story than initially appeared.  I even think it could have been explored more; I still had questions after the story ended.  3 stars

20 comments:

  1. I like the sound of Veins of Gold--will have to check that one out!

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    1. It was really good, especially if you like magical realism!

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  2. Veins of Gold sounds like perfection!!

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    1. I think you would enjoy the historical fiction aspects of it!

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  3. I've only read one by Jenn Bennett and really enjoyed it. Too bad this one just didn't work for you as well as some of her others.

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  4. I’ve not read a Charlie Holmberg book for ages, I think the last one I read was the paper magician. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. That's a shame about the characters in the Jenn Bennett book. I usually love her books, and especially her characters. I have this one sitting in my stack to read soon, so I'll be curious to see if I have better luck with it.

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  6. I think my love of Bennett's books come from her characters, and I found myself enjoying my time with Beatrix and Jack. I thought their quirks were interesting

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    1. Yeah, I think this was more a me thing, this book has plenty of great reviews!

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  7. I really need to try Jenn Bennett. Even if this one didn't quite hit the mark, so many of her books that I've seen look good. One of these days I'm going to try one haha!

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  8. I hadn't heard of Veins of Gold, but I'm adding it to my TBR! TASOAH wasn't my favorite Bennett book, but I remember enjoying it? It's been awhile!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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  9. I have heard great things about Jenn Bennett, but I am not a fan of insincere characters either.

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    1. Yeah, I usually enjoy her characters, this one was just a miss for me!

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  10. I think it's more a problem with the characters if you aren't able to relate to them or like them. It's good that there was something to keep you going to the end though and you found something to like.

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    1. Exactly! Having to live the story with characters who I don't like can be hard.

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!