Yay! It's mini review time again! Two very different books up for gushing today, so let's get right to it.
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard: I have been dying for this since I read Like Mandarin as an ARC last November. Everything about that book captivated me, which might have meant my standards and hopes for this one were even higher. But let me say, Kirsten did not in any way disappoint. I fell into this book just as instantly, completely entranced by the writing and the characters and the setting. I have no clue how she does it, but Kirsten always manages to infuse so much setting and description into her books without the reader realizing she's doing it, without pulling them out because it's just description... she puts emotion into even her setting and it amazes me. But the plot of this one? Loved. It's finding yourself, and coming of age, and navigating a third world country, and romance. It's a little of everything, enough of each, and woven together so magically. Bria was a phenomenal character, and I adored every aspect of her character development. Then there's Rowan, who is endearing in all the right ways, broken in the softest but most effective ones, and the right mix of cocky and sweet to be realistic and swoonworthy. I really and truly could go on and on about this book, but I'll just say, you have to read it for yourself.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: Okay, I admit it. I've always been fascinated by serial killers and totally have a shelf full of books about them. Not just the big names like Jack the Ripper, but the lesser known but still effective ones. So when I saw this book, a modern day Jack the Ripper with a ghost kind of twist... I freaked. And I have to say, Maureen did a seriously great job with this one. There are a lot of ways it probably could have failed, but from the actual execution of the murders to the main character to the fact that Rory could see this creepy guy that her roommate right by her couldn't... it was so well put together, so well weaved, and the fear and uncertainty that surrounded the original murders was perfectly captured this time around. This one also didn't come off as just another girl in a foreign boarding school, and I really did love this Southern girl from Louisiana set amidst the Brits. Mostly, though, I just loved the plot itself of this one, with some seriously genius elements and enough predictability to lull readers into thinking they have things figured out when in fact, they do not. And maybe the ending is a little bit of a cliffhanger, but it's more of the perfect place to stop, giving readers just enough of what the next book might hold while still letting this particular plot be pretty much all wrapped up. So I absolutely recommend this one, whether you like serial killers or not.