Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

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House of Ivy & Sorrow
     by: Natalie Whipple

Publication Date: Apr. 15, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 352 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

I really enjoyed Natalie's Transparent last year, so when I saw her release was about witchcraft and curses I had to pick it up! I'm glad I did because I thought this was a fun read.
Pacing:  I thought this was pretty well-paced. I was engaged and curious about the witchcraft, lore, and history that Whipple has created. I do feel the climax was a bit... anticlimactic and wish we had gotten a little bit more.
Storyline: I enjoyed the premise of this one. It was pretty linear and even though it didn't have a ton of twists and turns, there were a few thrown in I didn't see coming. I enjoyed the characters, even when they were acting a bit unrealistic, and while this wasn't an overly unique storyline, I did still like how Whipple incorporated witchcraft, the Curse, and the different bloodlines of witches. I did feel some of the characters' reactions to Jo's being a witch were a little understated. They were pretty accepting and it didn't even phase them as to some of the things they had to do to ensure their loyalty. There were a few points I felt overwhelmed by all of the information we were receiving particularly when it came to the histories. 
Characters: I have to admit, while I liked the characters, I did feel they came across as a bit juvenile.
I enjoyed Jo overall. I thought she was sweet and I loved the lengths she would go to protect the ones she loved from the Curse. She is completely head over heels for Winn, who has recently broken up with his girlfriend. Their relationship starts off a bit humorous as they can never seem to quite get it together. Jo is constantly interrupted by her grandmother or having to run off to ensure her safety because of the Curse. They do finally get it together, but Winn knows more than he lets on about Jo's world- but to what extent, Jo does not know.
Winn was a pretty good love interest. I did think he was a bit possessive of Jo, for only having dated for a short amount of time, but I think he genuinely cares about her and wants to protect her from harm. That made him more endearing to me.
Jo's best friends Kat and Gwen were also important characters, due to the unfolding events in Jo's life. They are good friends to her and more than prove their worth to Jo and her family. Levi is one of those characters that I didn't know what to do with. You think about him one way, but then realize there's more there than what's at face value. He was definitely mysterious. While I feel like his character played an important role, I do think some of his feelings towards Jo felt a bit unnatural and forced to me.
There's not a whole lot to say about the characters, but I feel that is because of my lack of attachment to them. This is more of a plot-driven story, so I did feel the relationships between characters could have been more developed.
Final Thoughts: There's not a lot I can say without spoiling this book. At face value, it's a cute read. If you're looking for a darker spin on witchcraft you won't get that here. The plot, while predictable, didn't really offer very much depth, but again- I still enjoyed it for what it was. While I wasn't wowed by this one, I still felt it was an engaging read and I'm glad I picked it up.

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  1. I am so picky with witchcraft books and I really don't know why, I either love them or I want to chuck them across the room- so I'm not too sure this is one for me. Glad you enjoyed though and it does sound like it could be cute. Great review!

    1. Right? I feel the same way! It is a cute read, but didn't really have that 'witchy' feel I was looking for I guess.

  2. I love Witch stories but like Teresa, I am really picky. I like darker ones too, so I might skip this. Great review lady :)

    1. Thanks chica. It was a hard one to review, because I didn't really have anything to say about it. LOL.

  3. Hmm, interesting. I do have this for review, but was debating if I really wanted to read it. Doesn't sound too enticing, lol, but glad you still enjoyed it.

    1. LOL. Yeah. This wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. I kind of wanted more from it. And less juvenile behavior.

  4. I'm very picky when it comes to witch stories and the such. I do like the more darker ones... I don't know why... hahaha :D Great review! :D

    1. LOL. Me too girl! Some of the aspects here were really gruesome and I appreciated that because witchcraft is crazy, but... the juvenile nature of it kind of distracted from that.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jessica, even if it was lacking in a few areas. Winn's possessiveness would probably bother me as well. And I hate it when a climax is anticlimactic. :( Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thanks Brandee. Yeah, I want epic buildup in my fantasies. And more drawn out! I would have been okay with his possessiveness had they been dating say longer than 2 seconds. LOL.


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