Review of The Hummingbird Heart by AG Howard

30331979The Hummingbird Heart
By: AG Howard
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Golden Orb Press
Format: E-ARC
Source: Author

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Set 19 years after The Architect of Song.

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions holiday resort in England born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she’s determined to escape finishing school along with everyone’s efforts to make her a proper lady. The only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life. He can’t allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family’s resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of them their lives.

My Thoughts:
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of AG Howard so when I was offered a copy to read I jumped on it. I adore Howard’s characters and they always have such great chemistry. This book takes place 19 years after The Architect of Song and once again it deals with a ghost story. I love the bits of mystery woven into the story and I have a feeling that as we read more and more in this series we’ll see how each book is interwoven more than we even think.

The characters in THH were so beautifully done. The two main characters, Willow and Julian, were well rounded and whew-they had chemistry! This book had lots of kissing (yay!!) along with a great mystery. The pacing was quick and it was a fast read. And, look at that cover. Swoon.

The side characters were wonderful too; especially little Newton. I grew very attached to him and I’m excited to think we’ll see him in the next book (I hope!). Julian’s twin brother, Nick, wasn’t in this book all that much but I’m intrigued to learn more about his storyline. I didn’t love his actions but with Julian as his brother and his parents being who they are I know there’s got to be a great side to him. I’m eager to read about it. Emilia was also intriguing and I loved the little bits of her book we get to read. Really, I could read a book about each of these characters happily.

The storyline was really creative and I didn’t predict all the outcomes which is always fun. Howard has such a skill at creating an atmosphere in her books. You can feel the magic in the air as you read and I just love her descriptions, especially her character’s clothing. Howard adds little details that paint things so clearly in your mind’s eye. Her character’s clothing choices and style really help to help you understand her character’s personalities.

Final Thoughts:
The Hummingbird Heart was yet another gorgeous book by Howard. Once again she delivers addicting writing, character chemistry and an atmosphere that keeps you enthralled. I highly recommend this romantic ghost story!

I know some of you will ask- do I have to read The Architect of Song first? I really think you could read these out of order but you will be spoiled on a bit and I think reading them in publishing order allows for the stories to build on each other.

 

 

Review of The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

thearchitectofsongThe Architect of Song
By: A.G. Howard
Release Date: August 15th 2016
Publisher: Golden Orb Press
Format: E-arc
Source: Blog Tour

My Rating:
star

Summary:
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 16+.

My Thoughts:
This book was so, so beautifully done. I’m a long time fan of Howard’s work and this did not disappoint in any way. I loved the characters, story and pacing. This novel was in essence a ghost story. I’ve not had the best of luck lately with ghost stories but this one was exactly what I’ve been looking for.

The main character, Juliet, was so easy to relate to and I found her voice wonderful. I had no problems getting into the story and her headspace. The loss of her mother was so poignant and touching- I think anyone that has lost someone they love will be able to easily relate to how Juliet felt. I felt that her inability to hear was handled very well. I can’t imagine how it would have felt to for her to lose her hearing at a young age and then hide it from the rest of society. It was easy to understand her detachment from other people and how it created loneliness for her. Because of this, the idea that she would connect so deeply with the ghost she encounters- the ghost she can hear- made perfect sense to me.

As I mentioned above, this ghost story worked for me. In a good amount of books the ghost really isn’t all that different from the living. At times, the reader might even forget that they are not of this world any longer. I didn’t have that in this book. Hawking was always apart from the living world. I felt that the way he related to Juliet- physically and emotionally- was very accurate to a ghostly encounter.

Each of the characters were enthralling and I loved the hint of mystery surrounding Hawk’s past and demise. As the reader, I was as riveted as the characters to find out more and more details about who he was and what occurred. The questions surrounding Lord Thornton were just as enticing and really helped pull me deeper in the story.

I had some suspicions on where the story was going and some of the time I was correct. I loved trying to figure things out and then seeing how all the story lines tied together. All of this kept me enthralled and eager to keep reading.

Final Thoughts:
The Architect of Song was achingly beautiful, lush with vivid descriptions and an ability to capture and communicate the emotions surrounding the characters to the reader. I thought this was wonderfully done and I look forward to future companion novels.

TAoS

Extras

 

Blog Tour- The Architect of Song Guest Post About Fashion + Giveaway

THE ARCHITECT OF SONG

I am a long time fan of A.G. Howard. Her books are always so romantic, vivid and her voice so unique. I adore each of her books and this was no exception. This book swept me away and captivated me. One aspect of Howard’s writing that has always stood out to me was her amazing fashion sense. She weaves beautiful descriptions into her books and you can see the character’s clothes and style.

About the Book

29631300

Title: THE ARCHITECT OF SONG
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: August 15, 2016
Publisher: A.G. Howard
Pages: 425
Formats: Paperback, eBook

Find it: Amazon, Goodreads

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+
Available for preorder in June!

About the Author

AG HowardA.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

Guest Post- On Fashion

Hi! On this leg of the tour, I’m going to share the book trailer for those who haven’t seen it, and talk about fashion.

Anyone who’s read the Splintered Series knows to expect a representation of fashion in my books. I’m a visual writer, so when I’m building my characters, that includes what their style would be. This decision not only has to fit the character as an individual, but also compliment the atmosphere of the book.

For example, Splintered, as a young adult Alice in Wonderland spinoff, is funky, goth, and Victorian-esque, so this influenced Alyssa’s (my MC’s) wardrobe—but her clothes were also influenced by who she was internally. The Gothic Lolita fashion subculture (pictured below) personifies Alyssa’s style. The tone fits her perfectly: underneath her quiet sweetness is a melancholy soul and a dark side she has yet to tap into.

Pic 1

My new adult novel, The Architect of Song, is set in Victorian England, so Juliet (my heroine) is pigeonholed by the fashion strictures of that era. Again, gothic tones darken this novel, but it’s a heavier, old-world-atmospheric aura. Since she’s mourning her mother’s death, she’s most often seen in the sort of ensemble below:

Pic 2

Pic 3

However, Juliet’s independent nature—magnified by the fact that she’s deaf and already feels constrained so she’s not willing to let society constrain her further with crinoline cages or suffocating corsets—also plays a role, as you’ll see in the story.

Another fashion fact about The Architect of Song . . . the living hero/anti-hero (the man who isn’t a ghost), is a viscount / architect who’s drawn to bright flashy colors that rarely match—symbolic for what he brings into Juliet’s life: vibrant chaos.

Pic 4

Now, here’s the trailer for The Architect of Song where you can see some visual references to the fashion of the era:

The lush red dress worn by my heroine at the end of the trailer (on the book cover) makes a cameo in the book, but due to Juliet being in mourning, she only gets to hold it up to her. Still, I decided to keep it on the cover because it’s vivid like the viscount’s eccentric color palates, and it sets the perfect gothic tone for the underlying mystery and danger Juliet must confront to first find herself, and in the end, find truth and lasting love.

Every author has a particular style they weave into their books . . . something that is individual to them. It’s part of their voice. In time, their readers come to look forward to those subtle ingredients. When they see one of that author’s titles on the shelf, they start to crave that flavor again—hungry to sample the new story—expecting that despite the different plot and setting, they’ll be satisfied like they were in the past. And it’s the author’s responsibility to assure they are, down to the last savory word.

I promise my readers—be they new or returning—to stay true to the visual aspects of rich setting and fashion, as well as the emotional and sensual, romantic nuances, even when branching out into new genres.

I hope you’ll read The Architect of Song, and find some of the same flavors you’re either looking for in a new series, or that you may have already savored in the Splintered books. ;)

The prize spotlight today is Juliet’s fashionable heart locket—which plays a magical and profound role in this gothic love story.

Pic 5Be sure to enter for a chance to win it!

Giveaway

All tour prizes (INTL) 13 separate winners :

Giveaway

Lit Cube

2 – signed The Architect of Song paperbacks
3 – The Architect of Song e-books
1 – heart locket necklace
1 – Architect of Song poster
1 – faux leather journal
1 – 5X7 musical print
3 – The Architect of Song swag packs
1- LitCube Surprise Box

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One:

7/25/2016- Dark Faerie TalesGuest Post-Hybrid Author
7/25/2016- a GREAT readReview

7/26/2016- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
7/26/2016- BookfeverReview

7/27/2016- FiktshunCharacter Interview
7/27/2016- The Cover ContessaReview

7/28/2016- The Reading CaféReview
7/28/2016- Adventures of a Book JunkieReview

7/29/2016- Please Feed the bookwormReview
7/29/2016- 21st Century Once Upon A TimesReview

Week Two:

8/1/2016- Once Upon a Twilight – Exclusive Excerpt
8/1/2016- Ramblings of a DaydreamerReview

8/2/2016- My Friends Are FictionGuest Post- Fashion
8/2/2016- Sarcasm & LemonsReview

8/3/2016- CornerfoldsReview
8/3/2016- BookHounds YAReview

8/4/2016- BookiemojiExclusive Excerpt
8/4/2016- Owl Always Be ReadingReview

8/5/2016- Mundie MomsReview
8/5/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post- Playlist

Interview with A.G. Howard Author of Splintered (and giveaway)

Today I have the ever fashionable and creative A.G. Howard visiting the blog to talk to us about her books, Splintered and upcoming Unhinged. In this series she takes Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and adds her own unique and dark twists.

SplinteredAnita HowardUnhinged

The most obvious question is what drew you to Wonderland?
I’m a huge fan of Lewis Carroll’s genius. The actual idea came to me when I went to see the Tim Burton & Disney Alice adaptation. The cinematography was so vivid, techno-colored, and evocative that I didn’t want to leave the setting when it was over. So I started playing out Wonderland continuations and scenarios in my mind. I decided to write a follow-up story about the world, making things a little darker and a little funkier, but I needed it to be contemporary and different than it had ever been done. Then I saw the book Alice I Have Been and everything clicked into place. I could have my contemporary heroine be a descendant of Alice Liddell, the girl who actually inspired Carroll to write his story to begin with! Once that fell into my lap, I started the process of writing.

Alyssa, your main character, has an interest in insects because they speak to her. I personally have a fascination with Entomology and was impressed with your knowledge and descriptions. Where did your idea of her artwork and incorporating our smaller, less understood companions in your novel?
I wanted her to be able to converse with bugs and flowers, because the talking flower scenes in Carroll’s two books, the Disney cartoon, and the Tim Burton/Disney rendition, were some of my favorites. Also, I always remembered the scene from Through the Looking Glass when Alice is riding a train through the countryside and has a conversation with a gnat. Those were such quirky and indelible images, that I just had to incorporate them somehow. For Alyssa, it’s more survival tactic than inspiration that leads her to kill and preserve bugs and flowers. It’s the only way she can keep their whispers from clouding her thoughts. She feels guilty for cutting their lives short, so tries to do something constructive with their bodies … something that brings other people happiness.

Your character descriptions (along with their attire) are described in exquisite detail. As I read I couldn’t help but imagine you sketching characters as they came to you because art has such a presence in your work. Do you sketch your characters, their attire or do you do a written description or both?
I used to try to draw some when I was younger, but I didn’t stick with it. Maybe someday I’ll give it a shot again. But right now I’m too busy painting pictures with my mind. ;) In my teen years, I dreamed of being a fashion designer, so that’s why fashion plays a huge role in my books. A mix between my daughter’s closet and mine actually contributed to Alyssa’s outfits. I love anything lacy and Victorian, and my daughter is all about the gothic and punk.

Morpheus is such an enigmatic character, is there anything you could tell us about him that we might not know (that wouldn’t be spoiler-ish)?
He doesn’t like not being in control. And once you read Unhinged, you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. ;)

I was ecstatic to see him on the cover of the next book, Unhinged, do you think you’ll ever write from his view point?
I might do a short story one day in his and Jeb’s POVs. It’s still in the brainstorming phases, but it’s something I’m considering.

Do you create your characters or their setting first?
Every book I write starts with the character(s). Then I build their world around them.

I imagine after spending so much time creating characters that they take on a life of their own. Do your characters ever do things that surprise you?
Absolutely. In Splintered, all the characters had a few surprises for me along the way, but especially Morpheus. And especially at the end…

After Unhinged what’s next for you?
With the genre “New Adult” becoming popular, my agent and I are hoping to submit one of my other finished MSS to some publishers. It’d be nice to have books in both YA and NA.

Now to some random questions:
What are you presently reading?
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. It’s WONDERFUL.

Is there a character or story you wish you had written?
Jane, from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. She had so much quiet strength and intelligence. She didn’t need a man to complete her, but it didn’t keep her from opening her heart to love. She was a kick-butt heroine before her time.

Now for a teaser from Unhinged:

“Alyssa,” Morpheus murmurs. “We were children together. I’ve waited for your return more years than your mortal knight has even known you existed.”

Check out what Morpheus would look like as a Lego

I got to meet A.G. Howard at the Teen Book Con and had her sign a hardcover copy of Splintered for one of you to win. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday #5


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are highly anticipating. This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait to-read” selection is: Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Unhinged (Splintered, #2)Summary (via Goodreads):
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Why am I waiting on Unhinged?
This week the nominations for the YA Crush Tourney are in full swing. Morpheus is one of the top ten boys so far! If you love Splintered go vote. This got me thinking about the beautiful cover of Unhinged and making it torture that this book isn’t coming out for months.

Haven’t read Splintered yet? Go check out my review.

What are you waiting on? Link up to your post or leave you WOW in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.