Thursday, September 13, 2018

Touch of Gold

"Once upon a time..."

Any story that starts this way with those four little words, it is guaranteed that I'll love it or at least like it a lot. I grew up watching Disney movies and reading out of all of our fairy-tale books over and over again till the pages started falling out. I don't know what it is about them, but I love them. I love the adventure, the princesses and princes and frogs, and pirates and treasures and all of it. So when I picked up this book and it started with those four little words I love so much, I knew I had to keep reading to see if it was actually any good.......it was!

If you know anything about King Midas then you're good to go in reading this story. If you don't, then basically its a myth about a king who wishes that he could turn anything he wants to gold. But Dionysus, the god who gave him this "gift", or curse, tricked him: literally everything he touches turns to gold. That's the gist.

Our story begins right before that curse is lifted, when King Midas accidentally turns his daughter, Kora, into gold. After searching out Dionysus to save his daughter from her dreadful fate, the god tells Midas to bring everything he's touched, including his daughter, and go to the mouth of the nearby river before the sun sets that day and submerge everything. And his daughter would be saved. So Midas does this, but in his hurry he forgets everything except his daughter. When the sun sets, Kora is alive but her skin is still a shimmering gold.

And that is only the prologue!

Flash forward ten years and Kora feels like she's never going to find a man to marry her who won't shudder when he looks at her and that she's never going to escape the walls of the palace where her Uncle Pheus and her father keep her locked up. But when a suitor shows up and doesn't recoil when he looks at her, Kora finally begins to have hope that her life won't always be in hiding.

When the palace is robbed of the cursed gold that Midas touched, and needs for survival, Kora sets out with her suitor, to bring back the gold to save her father and the kingdom. As they slowly begin to get to know each other, Kora finds out that people aren't always as they seem.

This book was exactly what I needed after reading several books about WWII and the Holocaust. It was an easy read and swept me away into a fanciful land of pirates and curses and a damsel who starts out in distress but finds her own strength and it's all great. This is Annie Sullivan's debut novel and I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!

--Elise F.--

For more information on A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan,come in and see us or visit our website here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys was truly a heart-breaker. I keep telling myself that I need to take a break from the historical fiction and read a simple light fiction or fantasy book; read something that can't possibly be real, because my heart can't handle what the last few books I've read have made me feel. But I'm addicted. So, oh well

Salt to the Sea takes place in winter 1945 and follows four characters whose lives are crossed in the desperate attempt to flee to the coast from Stalin and his soldiers: Joana from Lithuania, Florian from Prussia, Emilia from Poland, and Alfred from Germany. All four fight for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that will transport them to safety and freedom...maybe.

And that's all I'm telling you because I don't want to give anything away.

Most WWII books I've read have been about people running or hiding or fighting the Germans and from Hitler. This is the first book I've read that has been about people running from Stalin to Germany. Getting more info from the Eastern European countries was a welcome change. The war happened to them too but on both sides, each having horrible dictators. This was also the first time learning of the ship Wilhelm Gustloff, which was a tragedy that was six times deadlier than the Titanic, and I couldn't believe this was the first I've heard about it. 

Ruta Sepetys writes amazingly well. The book is broken up into the perspectives of each of the main characters, each chapter being a new perspective on what's happening and why that character is running. And it's so SO good. I did not want this book to end, but at the same time, it took everything in me to NOT skip ahead to make sure that nothing bad happened to the characters I immediately fell in love with. It can't be easy writing a book with four different perspectives to keep track of, and she blew it out of the water. 

When you pick this book up, make sure you have tissues handy because it's a doozy.

--Elise F--

For more information on Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, come in and see us or visit our website here