November 6, 2019

Friends with ARCs | A Constellation of Roses + The How and the Why

A Constellation of Roses is about a teen that needs to come to terms with her past if she wants to have any hope of carving out a home and new future for herself – and it’s such a compelling read. Trix McCabe has always been focused on her own survival, using her magical gift to steal what she needs in order to live and reliant on only herself. Presented with the choice of going to jail or living with her newly discovered long-lost family in Kansas, she decides on the latter… at least until she’s of legal age and can leave to be on her own. It’s in Kansas where she is first introduced to the group of women that make up her living family – her great-aunt, her aunt Mia and her cousin Ember, who also possess special magical abilities (which run in their bloodline). While the actual plot is a solid reason to invest your time in this book, the true highlights of this story are the characters and their relationships. This is a story that is predicated on the readers coming to care deeply about Trix, to understand where she’s coming from and to root for her to figure out what she really wants. It is about the relationships that shaped her, whether they are the ones from her colorful past or the newer ones that shake up her present. I got swept up completely in this small-town story about this family of women and the people who care about them, getting so emotionally invested that I teared up at the very end. A Constellation of Roses was a lovely sophomore novel from Miranda Asebedo, and I would highly recommend checking it out. 

If you had Aunt Mia's power, what would your pie be? I do love pie (though I’ve only ever tried to bake one once and must remedy that), so this was hard to decide on! But I ultimately decided on a Calm & Comfort Chocolate Marshmallow Pie, because that combination would certainly bring me comfort and calm. 

A Constellation of Roses was released November 5, 2019 from Harper Teen.
I downloaded an e-galley from Edelweiss for review.

The How and the Why was so good, friends. The novel follows Cassandra “Cass” McMurtrey in the present day as she navigates her senior year, difficult personal circumstances and questions her identity in relation to the birth parents who gave her up. In between chapters about the present, readers will get to read letters written by Cass’ birth mother that offer insight into her personality and circumstances. While it is no easy feat to juggle two narratives with two different main characters, Cynthia Hand masterfully does it in this very much character-driven novel. I felt so keenly for Cass, who is struggling with her fears and insecurities in the light of the love she feels for the people in her life and the future she wants so badly to pursue. And I felt equally invested in her birth mother, whose personality (with its positive and negative traits) really came through in all the stories she recounted in her letters. Caring so deeply for both these young women certainly affected how I felt overall (though the plot was well-crafted too, mind you). I truly enjoyed the reading experience of The How and the Why, even though it set me off on an emotional roller coaster ride that had me going from happy to angry to sad as I devoured it in one sitting. It is a novel that should 100% be added to your TBR list, in my opinion! 

Cass (and her BFF) both love theatre/drama. Have you ever been in a play and what was your role? I performed in a lot of skits and plays when I was in high school, less so when I was in college, even though I was heavily into theater during both. I never did have an actual assigned role, but I was involved in recreations of portions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I was usually found backstage more often than not, as I was always a stage manager (and that’s also how Macky and I met)!

The How and the Why was released on November 5, 2019 by Harper Teen.
I received an ARC at BookExpo 2019 for review.


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