Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: All Our Hidden Gifts

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I don’t usually read seasonally (unless it’s Spooky Season, of course), and that wasn’t the reason that I requested this eARC, but I’m happy to say that All Our Hidden Gifts was a delightful read that’s perfect for this time of year! Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was a sweet mix of paranormal fantasy, horror, and contemporary fiction.

Enjoy this eARC review!

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue

All Our Hidden Gifts–Caroline O’Donoghue

Maeve’s sentenced to cleaning out the closet for her in-school suspension, but she soon learns that the job might not be as boring as she thought it was.

When mysterious tarot deck turns up the closet, Maeve pockets it, learning everything she can about it so that she can put her cards to good use. Her readings soon become the talk of her Catholic school, and soon, she has customers lining up outside of the closet. But after Lily, her former best friend, draws an unknown card, she disappears days later, causing a commotion in their tight-knit community. With the help of Lily’s sibling Roe, Maeve must find the secret of this mysterious Housekeeper card before its repercussions spread beyond Lily’s disappearance.

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Walker Book US/Candlewick Press for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

All Our Hidden Gifts had the feel of an 2000’s horror movie for a teen audience, but in the best way possible. There’s paranormal and high school drama in equal amounts, but O’Donoghue balances out both genres for a paranormal tale that teens are sure to love.

Let’s start off with my biggest complaint. I found the pacing to be rather inconsistent, especially when compared to the synopsis on Goodreads and elsewhere. The storyline with the tarot cards turned out to have less of the spotlight than I thought, and it seemed to go far too quickly–most of it was over by the time that I’d gotten a third of the way through the novel. However, the other story elements were enough to keep the novel afloat for the remainder, so it didn’t bog down the story as much as I thought it would.

Other than that, I don’t have too many complaints. O’Donoghue’s writing was fresh and cinematic, with all manner of fascinating twists and tense scenes. Even if you’re not familiar with the tarot, the story is gripping and the perfect kind of spooky, paranormal fun that you’d want to channel right around Halloween.

I didn’t get attached to most of the characters, but they were absolutely authentic; weirdly enough, I connected a lot with Lily, even though she wasn’t present for most of the novel. There’s also a lot of LGBTQ+/POC-friendly elements to the novel, most notably in Roe, who is genderfluid. So kudos for O’Donoghue for that! There’s also a prominent Filipina character as well.

All in all, All Our Hidden Gifts lacked a bit in pacing and lovable characters, but made up for some of it with a timeless blend of paranormal fun. 3.5 stars!

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Expected release date: March 30, 2021

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews

eARC Review: The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I recently signed up for Edelweiss, and I’ve gotten a few eARCs from them since. (Other than this one, I’ve been approved for 2 and declined 1.) So, this is my very first eARC review!

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After reading and enjoying The Great Gatsby in my English class last year, I was so interested to see what a graphic novel adaptation would hold. Though it didn’t quite live up to the source material, it was certainly an enjoyable and colorful interpretation of the graphic novel.

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by F. Scott ...

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation–F. Scott Fitzgerald and K. Woodman-Maynard

Blurb from Goodreads:

From the green light across the bay to the billboard with spectacled eyes, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 American masterpiece roars to life in Katharine Woodman-Maynard’s exquisite graphic novel–among the first adaptations of the book in this genre. Painted in lush watercolors, the inventive interpretation emphasizes both the extravagance and mystery of the characters, as well as the fluidity of Nick Carraway’s unreliable narration. Excerpts from the original text wend through the illustrations, and imagery and metaphors are taken to literal, and often whimsical, extremes, such as when a beautiful partygoer blooms into an orchid and Daisy Buchanan pushes Gatsby across the sky on a cloud.

This faithful yet modern adaptation will appeal to fans with deep knowledge of the classic, while the graphic novel format makes it an ideal teaching tool to engage students. With its timeless critique of class, power, and obsession, The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel captures the energy of an era and the enduring resonance of one of the world’s most beloved books.

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⭐︎Thank you to Edelweiss and Candlewick Press for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!⭐︎

This was an interesting adaptation of the classic novel! Personally, something about it didn’t quite live up to the glory of the source material, but it certainly came close.

The art style was cute, simple and stylized, but not overtly so. The interpretations of the characters and their thoughts were certainly faithful. I especially liked how Daisy and Tom were drawn; Daisy was as dollish as she appears in the novel, and Tom is especially imposing and stubborn. Daisy even has her own style of speech balloons that curve out at the edges when she spoke, which was a detail I loved.

I loved the watercolors that were used to color the graphic novel. The shifting color schemes were especially deft when it came to conveying the different moods of the scenes.

However, with that being said, I don’t completely feel like it was the right art style to adapt The Great Gatsby. Although I loved the watercolor and simple style, it failed to depict some of the lavish imagery (ex. with Gatsby’s parties) as well as the novel did. A bit more coloring and definition might have done the trick.

All in all, this was an inventive adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was certainly enjoyable to read and explore. 3.5 stars! (I rated the original novel 4 stars.)

EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 5, 2021

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!