The Disappearances, Emily Bain Murphy – Book Review

The Disappearances

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30971685What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

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*ARC received as a part of a blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Where do I even begin? Gosh! This book is so amazing. I love it. I adore it. I just have a lot of feels for it. Okay? So, yes, this will have a lot of flailing, because that’s what I do best!

Let’s start with the plot – so fucking genius. Like, really. It is absolutely amazing with the right amount of mystery and magic and fantasy and romance and friendship and family. This book has it all. And they all form such an important part of the story and the characters that it’s just amazing. I love how the author went about hashing everything out and how she had all these amazing characters who were so very important in their own way. And I loved that all the subplots just meshed so well with the story. Nothing felt forced or out of place or anything. It was like this was meant to happen, you know? So, of course, so many points for such an amazing plot. And then, brownie points because she took such an amazing plot and then meshed it with the brilliance of Shakespeare and literature and made it into a treasure hunt. So, yes, amazing af plot, okay?

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Okay, moving on. The writing. It was so structured. And it flowed so well. The chapters were written in alternating POVs and I never felt that it deterred me. I haven’t read fantasy with changing POVs so it was new for me, but it didn’t take anything away from the story like I was afraid it would. And, there was clear distinction in who’s side a particular chapter was, even though the author didn’t go with the traditional XYZ POV on top of each new chapter. But, there were different markers and it made it very easy for me to understand what was going on.

And then, there’s the characters. Aila is such a good MC. She’s not particularly miss goody – two – shoes, but she stays out of trouble. However, she doesn’t think twice before sneaking out of the house at night to go race. She loves her little brother, but they argue so much and there’s times that she’s so mad at him that she’ll say something and he’ll say something and the whole thing will just blow over. And she is so passionate about reading, like all of us. She is always, always, always reading something or the other and that’s nice. Then, of course, there is her need – want – to clear her mother’s name from the blame game of the Disappearances that happen in Sterling and the lengths she goes to to do that. She’s determined, yeah. All in all, she has the makings of an amazing MC who comes off as a real person with flaws and contradictions. She’s absolutely amaze. I really like her.

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The love interest, Will, is a little less likeable. He does the typical fuckboy things and pulls Aila in and then pushes her away, but he’s a nice boy overall. He gives Aila all these thoughtful presents and he makes sure to include her in stuff seeing as she’s new to town. He takes care of Aila’s brother, Miles too. He always makes them feel welcome in his home and he’s passionate about finding variants to substitute the Disappearances just like his father. He’s a good friend. And though he gets irrationally jealous at times and does stupid things (come on! He’s 17 for god’s sake, of course he’s going to be stupid!), overall, he’s a nice a guy. The romance between them is so cute and there are a few scenes that just make me want to go inside this book and hug Will because he was being so thoughtful and caring towards Aila and it melted my heart.

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I like the open endedness of the book. Aila has helped Sterling with all that she could, but now it’s time to go back home. What will happen once she does? We haven’t a clue. Will her relationship with Will survive? And her friendships with the townsfolk that were forged during her time in Sterling? We don’t know. How will she cope being in her house without her mother? What will her father think of what happened? We don’t know anything about this. I like that. Aila herself is just 17 and she has the whole world ahead of her. She could do anything, be anything and her story could end anywhere. So, I think the open ending was pretty resonating. I like that.

All in all, this was an amazing book and you should definitely read it. Go, buy it now!

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7/9 Tour Stops

Interview – The Hermit Librarian

Mystery Board – Pondering The Prose

Review – The Inkdin Book Blog

7/16 Tour Stops

Review – Bayy in Wonderland

Review – Lost in Ever After

Unique Post – Dani Reviews Things

Review – Mikayla’s Bookshelf

Review – Little Book Wyrm

7/23 Tour Stops

Interview – Blame It On The Books

Review – Reading in the Rain

Unique Post – YA and Wine

Review – Tine’s Reviews

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Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Target

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14865445Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home.

She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.

Murphy currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

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Borrowed Magic, Shari Lambert – Book Review

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28146512After a three-year siege, Lord Kern, the dark mage, is dead. Magic has left Tredare, and life is almost back to normal.

For everyone except Maren, that is.

Before the siege, an attack by Lord Kern left Maren near death and with a sliver of magic buried deep inside her. Now, for reasons Maren doesn’t understand, that magic has been triggered, giving her the ability to “see” the truth: that her world is nothing more than a magical façade; and that the kingdom’s hero may not be a hero at all.

But this gift of sight comes at a high cost. Maren is in constant pain, and fears her own death is imminent. Plus, no one believes her suspicions that another Dark Mage has risen, and that Tredare may be in just as much danger as it was when Kern was alive.

With the country’s future in the hands of a man who’s vowed revenge on its king, Maren must convince someone else of the truth. Unfortunately, the only person powerful enough to help is also the one man she can’t trust; the man she almost married; the man who abandoned her and disappeared for three years: Kern’s son.

As Tredare crumbles around them, Maren must persuade him to help – before the king is murdered by the very hero he reveres; and before the same magic that gives Maren the gift of sight also takes her life.

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Let me start by saying that this is absolute, sheer genius. I love this book. It’s so amazingly, phenomenally well written, you have no idea. You’re seriously missing out if you haven’t read this. For real.

The plot is amazing. It’s well thought out. The story flows amazingly and keeps you on edge. The words flow freely and make for an amazing story on paper. The language is easy to understand and the characters are amazingly intricate. The way she’s thought the story out is absolutely phenomenal.

Maren, the heroine, is absolutely effing amazing. I love her. I adore her. I respect her. She’s going through so much and tries to fight everything on her own. She maybe afraid of what’s happening to her, but she’s extremely strong in her fall. She doesn’t let others see her pain and bears it all so beautifully that you just have to applaud this one lady for the sheer amount of courage and strength she possesses. She’s sweet and kind and loving. She’s amazingly smart and intelligent. She’s one of the king’s most trusted counsil. She’s also not above begging if it means saving her kingdom. She’s seen a lot of things in her life that have moulded her into what she is. She’s been there with her people at every step of the way as the war raged between the kingdom and the evil mage, Kern. She’s one person from whom we have a lot to learn. I love her. I really, really love her and respect her.

Phillip, the hero, is equally amazing. He’s been instrumental in winning the war against the mage, Kern, who just so happens to be his father. He was the one to kill him. He’s been in love with Maren her entire life and the two of them grew up together. They’ve been close friends since childhood and their friendship turns into something more as they grow up. But, Phillip leaves when he finds out something that he believes Maren was hiding from him, when in truth she wasn’t. Maren in understandably upset about being accused of something she didn’t do and this leads to a few of their encounters ending pretty awkwardly. But, however indifferent Phillip might appear to the world, he’s still in love with that one girl even after all these years and wants her back.

These two have come a long way from the beginning of their story till the end. Their love story is so beautiful it melts my heart. But, there’s so much sadness, pain and tears before they can get together. It just makes me all the more happy that they found each other in the end. They’re truly meant to be. I love their relationship. It’s amazing.

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LINKS –

Goodreads | Amazon

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14751141Shari has always loved to read. “Bookworm” may even be an understatement. But when she discovered Georgette Heyer in high school, her love of reading exploded. Ms. Heyer’s books were not only entertaining, witty, and smart, but they saved Shari from the awkward, unromantic teenage years. To this day, Shari’s favorite books all have romance in them.

Although Shari spent a good deal of her time at Brigham Young University on the ballroom dance team, she did manage to get a BA in History and English before going on to get a Juris Doctorate. After graduation, she decided her first priority was to be a mom — a career she’s stuck with and loved.

In between cleaning, laundry, and homework, Shari writes. Just like with reading, she wants to get lost in a world, whether imaginary or historical.

She lives just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and four children.