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:

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:

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.




Review of Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous BeautyMonstrous Beauty
By: Elizabeth Fama
Release Date: September 4th 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: Purchased

My Rating:

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

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What I’m reading now

Brenna YovanoffI have just started Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Summary (via jacket copy):
I am not the kind of person who gets haunted by anything

Hannah’s best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. ut how can it when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders linked only by a paper valentine? Hannah can hardly begin to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian ins’t there to save her a place among  the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able to move on with her life–and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Brenna Yovanoff also wrote The Replacement and The Space Between. This is the first novel I’ve read of hers.