Friday, August 18, 2017

Title: The Hummingbird Heart
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy, book #2
Publisher: self-published
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Source: ARC received from author
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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—a 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.

This novel was, simply put, gorgeous. I loved Howard's Splintered series, but there's no doubt in my mind that I love this series best. I think it's just how sensual and mysterious each ghost story is -- or has been thus far -- coupled with the historical setting. I can't get enough of her atmospheric words.

Howard's characters are always so multi-faceted, and Willow and Julian are no exception. By all appearances, Willow is a tough, no-guts-no-glory kind of tomboy, but as the story progresses, you get to see her more vulnerable side, the one she doesn't want anyone to see. And Julian is the straight-laced, analytical type, but he comes out of his shell more than a little throughout the story. But when they come together...they are completely different people with each other. Their chemistry would blow up a lab if left unchecked. But they are also very caring, attentive, loyal and protective with each other, and I loved reading as they learned how to love each other together.

But it's not just the main characters I found so appealing because Anita's characters all have these layers and dimensions to them that you discover as you're reading. I love how the author weaves such diverse characters and situations and how seamlessly she does so. She doesn't just mention them and then brush them aside; that diversity is essential to the story. These characters facing adversity and trying to right the wrongs of the past gives me life. Howard doesn't gloss over Newt's muteness or the rumors of a fellow passenger being part of the Italian mafia simply because he is rich and has a harem of gorgeous women in his entourage. It was the same in the last book and I am on board for more of this.

My only real complaint with The Architect of Song, the previous book in this series, was that I wanted more from the ending. And I got that with this sequel. More from the previous couple AND more from the featured couple and their story, and it was everything I'd hoped for them. I adore how these stories are already connected and what that might mean for future books in this series, and I can't wait to read more!

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

A.G. Howard is the #1 NYT & International Bestselling author of several young adult retellings and spinoff novels, including her gothic Alice in Wonderland Splintered series, and RoseBlood, a Phantom of the Opera inspired adaptation.

When writing, A.G. is most at home weaving the melancholy, magical, and macabre into her settings and scenes. In her downtime, she enjoys rollerblading, gardening, and visiting 18th century graveyards or abandoned buildings to appease her muse’s darker side.

Find Anita:

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