The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Publisher/Year: Orbit, 2019
Format: E-galley (Kindle)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Every story opens a door…

In a sprawling mansion filled with exotic treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. As each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, January discovers a story that might just be the key to unlocking the secrets of her past.

What I thought

Thank you to NetGalley & Orbit/Red Hook Books for the free e-galley of this book! This does not affect my opinion presented here in this review.

If you have ever searched the back of your closet to try to find your way to Narnia, or if you’ve ever found yourself leaning on the wall at the train station in a last ditch effort to make it to Hogwarts–THIS IS A BOOK YOU NEED TO READ. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but, simply put, my writing isn’t the writing you’re going to fall in love with–Harrow’s is. It’s eloquent and breathtaking and will leave you in awe as to how she so perfectly describes the smallest detail. This is the book for lovers of books, lovers of books-within-books, lovers of language and words, lovers of strong, relatable, imperfect characters, lovers of fiercely loyal dogs, lovers of true love, lovers of adventure, and lovers of the type of wanderlust that keeps you incessantly searching for the next doorway to change. Honestly, this is one of those rare few cases when you absolutely should judge a book by its cover because this book is just as (if not more so) beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Take my word for it and indulge your fairytale-loving, adventure-seeking inner child–read this book!

Inland by Téa Obreht

Inland by Téa Obreht
Publisher/Year: Random House, 2019
Format: Hardcover, B&N Edition
Pages: 390
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


The New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger‘s Wife returns with a stunning tale of perseverance–an epic journey across an unforgettable landscape of magic and myth.

In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives collide. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life–her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home.

Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. The way in which Nora’s and Lurie’s stories intertwine is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel.

Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, Inland is grounded in true but little-known history. It showcases all of Téa Obreht’s talents as a writer, as she subverts and reimagines the myths of the American West, making them entirely–and unforgettably–her own.

What I thought

Unlike many readers, I have not read Téa Obreht’s debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife. After having finished this, her sophomore novel, however, I am eagerly looking forward to diving into that one.

Inland was a struggle for me, I won’t lie. I’m already a slow reader to begin with, but I inched along at a snail’s pace with this book. I don’t know that I’d say that’s a bad thing, though. Admittedly, it took me a while to get into her writing style, particularly due to the fact that Lurie’s and Nora’s storylines were written so stylistically different. But as I settled into this story, I became utterly entranced. It was still slow-going, don’t get me wrong, but Obreht has such a beautiful, lyrical way of writing that certain passages took my breath away and all but begged to be re-read and pored over.

I also couldn’t help but fall in love with Lurie and Nora. Call them “unlikeable” all you want, but I found Lurie oftentimes hilarious and Nora was so relatable that she became almost dear to me. Both of them, but especially Nora, were the types of characters that will travel with me, even though I ended this book days ago. I knew, at some point, that their stories would connect, which, besides the gorgeous writing and the character themselves, was what kept driving me to turn the pages. And when they did, my goodness, let me tell you–that ending was stunning. I think I held my breath for the final three pages.

Inland is very much a love-it-or-hate-it book (as evidenced during my local B&N book club meeting last night). For some, the magical realism and the open (or is it?) ending work. For others, they don’t. I’m not often a fan of endings that lack definitive answers. Here? I loved it. I feel like I could go on and on and ruminate about this book forever. My thoughts are still constantly churning about this one. (Have I talked about memory as a driving force for Lurie and Nora? No? I’ll shut up now. But seriously, if you’ve read this, message me.)

All I’m trying to say is that this is literature, at its finest. Books such as this one are why I love to read–I want to think and I want to discuss my thoughts. Reading doesn’t always look like this for me, but when it does, I know that that book is special. Inland is one of the special ones. All I can say (read: highly recommend) is to try it.

My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder

My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder
Publisher/Year: Walden Pond Press (HarperCollins), 2019
Format: ARC (paperback)
Pages: 291
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The author of Orphan Island returns with an unforgettable story about the friendships that show us what we can be.

The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels…lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.

Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers is also lost. Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships. A place only they can find, where no one else even exists.

But as the days of this magical June draw to a close and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.

What I thought

Thank you to Walden Pond Press for the free ARC of this book! This does not affect my opinion presented here in this review.

The best way I can think to describe this book is to say that if you’ve been searching for a kindred spirit ever since Anne of Green Gables, look no further than My Jasper June. This was one of the most moving books I’ve read this summer and perfectly exemplifies why middle grade is a genre worth the read for both children and adults alike. I simply did not want to put this lovely read down. My heart alternately ached and soared for these characters–Leah, Leah’s parents, and Jasper. I feel like Snyder truly brought them to life–they feel so real to me. She perfectly nailed the inner workings and thought processes of a teenager–I felt so nostalgic reading this. And it was just so special to watch Leah and Jasper’s friendship bloom. We have all been there at some point–finding that bosom friend who fills in our gaps. I can’t reiterate enough–Jasper is like a modern-day Anne. If you are looking for a heartfelt, touching read, I highly recommend My Jasper June. It is, without a doubt, one of the best middle grade releases of 2019.

Theft by BK Loren

Theft by BK Loren
Publisher/Year: Counterpoint Pres, 2012
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 186
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Willa Robbins is a master tracker working to reintroduce the Mexican wolf, North America’s most endangered mammal, to the American Southwest. But when Colorado police recruit her to find her own brother, Zeb, a confessed murderer, she knows skill alone will not sustain her. Willa is thrown back into the past, surfacing memories of a childhood full of intense love, desperate mistakes, and gentle remorse. Trekking through exquisite New Mexico and Colorado landscapes, with Zeb two steps ahead and the police two steps behind, Willa must wrangle her desire to reunite with her brother and her own guilt about their violent past.

Winner of both the Willa Award and Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Award, this debut novel’s lyrical prose gives voice to the wildlife and land surrounding these beautifully flawed characters, breathing life into the southwestern terrain. Within this treacherous and mesmerizing landscape, Theft illustrates the struggle to piece together the fragile traces of what has been left behind, allowing for new choices to take shape. This is a story about family, about loss, and about a search for answers.

What I thought

I love those books that surprise you, and this one was certainly a pleasant surprise. Theft was a quiet read with a depth that I wasn’t expecting. I wish I would have read this one while camping–both because the atmosphere would have been just right for reading this, but also because the quiet and solitude I usually find while camping would have lent itself to truly contemplating everything found in this novel’s relatively few pages. Theft is a deceptively complex title that refers to the multiple instances of theft, literal and figurative, that occur throughout the novel. I mean, when I say this story is thought-provoking and poignant, that is no exaggeration. You’ll want to give yourself time to ruminate on this one. Loren’s love of nature shines through, and her handle on the complexities of human relationships and of life itself is impressive, to say the least. I don’t want to say too much more here–this is a novel best experienced first hand. I really, really enjoyed this book. If you find yourself in a contemplative, thoughtful mood, I absolutely recommend Theft.