Book Review: The Cure For Dreaming

CureforDreaming_finalcover (214x324)Title: The Cure For Dreaming

Author: Cat Winters

Publisher: Amulet

Genre: YA Historical

Rating: Five Stars

Jacket Copy:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

Review:

i cannot even BEGIN to express how much this book kicked ass. i loved Olivia Mead and how determined she was to remain true to herself, despite living in a timeframe where girls and women were supposed to be quiet and content with staying at home, taking care of the menfolk.

that’s not to say it was a guy vs. girl thing. on the contrary, it was a beautiful expression of how important it is to have EQUAL rights across the board. no matter your race, creed, sex, or sexual orientation, you have the right to live your life freely and with respect.

what an empowering and positive read!

it was bittersweet in a way, too. women have come a long way, but we still have so far to go in the equality department. we need to remember that and cherish each other. being a feminist isn’t a dirty word. being a feminist means being proud of being a woman and all the wonderful layers that come with that. we can be strong and weak and emotional and rational and outspoken or shy. we can be intelligent and sexy and cute and fierce and love to be in the kitchen and STILL be feminists. we can be boy crazy one minute and fighting against discrimination the next. we are a thousand things all rolled into one and we are pretty freaking amazing. strapping guns to our hips and ninja-kicking people doesn’t always equal strength. being yourself in a world that’s constantly trying to force you into one box or another is being just as strong, and is hella brave.

i’ve got a whole new appreciation for the suffragists who’ve paved the way for us to be whoever we want to be and wear our identities proudly. we still have to fight the good fight, but we’ll get there. thank you, cat winters, for shining the light on these amazing ladies and their stories.

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Book Review: FERAL by Holly Schindler

Feral HC

Title: FERAL

Author: Holly Schindler

Imprint: Harper Teen

Rating: Five stars

Holly Schindler’s FERAL promised to be like THE LOVELY BONES meets BLACK SWAN and it did not disappoint. From the first two opening scenes, I knew this was going to be one of those true psychological thrillers, emphasis on the psychological aspect.

*pumps fists*

I was disturbed.

I was horrified.

I was cringing back from the pages, peering through my fingers, and feeling so utterly overwhelmed. I freaking LOVED it.

Schindler did a phenomenal job with making the reader FEEL like they were slowing becoming unhinged and unbalanced right along with the main character. I love books with unreliable narrators, and Claire, the MC, is absolutely convincing in this role. It’s so hard to come across a contemporary novel that really takes the reader on a psychological mind melt, and this work has definite nods towards classic masters (like Hitchcock) in this genre. I felt myself questioning my own sanity and judgment of what was real and what could be fantasy with each new page I turned.

The atmosphere in FERAL was also extremely well crafted. I could clearly picture being in this creepy, foggy town that lived up to its name of “Peculiar.” The entire cast of characters added to this haunted setting – and at times it felt like it had shades of Stephen King’s horrorlicious style. I love how King can make a small town absolutely terrifying, even by having a character simply walk to the store for some milk while you’re screaming “Look behind you!” only to realize that all is safe…for now. Schindler did that beautifully. You find yourself constantly on edge, wondering what horror is going to take place next, and questioning everyone and their motives.

Characters are not all perfect, the good ones have flaws, and blemishes and chinks in their armor. It’s what being human is all about, and FERAL is great with delving into humanity. Victims of violence go through a multitude of emotions, and not all of them are going to be pleasant. Sometimes we have to learn who we’re not before we become the person we’re meant to be. I loved Claire. She had ups and downs, and I was right there with her throughout her journey.

My mews.

My mews.

Hands down, I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of true psychological thrillers. Bella gives it two paws up as is evident in this pic.

I had a wonderful opportunity to fangirl like crazy talk to Holly Schindler after I read the book, and am happy to share some of what she said with you tomorrow on the blog!

In the meantime, Readers, who are some of your most memorable unreliable narrators?