Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wow. All I can say is Wow.

I just finished Regina Sirois’ book On Little Wings. I’ve been hearing hype on this book for a long time now and had actually purchased the ebook months ago. It moved up high enough on my to-read list. I'm SO glad.

I’ll say right now that I don’t give many five-star reviews. I love a lot of books. A three-star review means I liked the book. Four stars mean I really liked a book and would own it and read it again. Giving a book five stars means it touched me in some way.

Sometimes a story struck a chord because of real-life experiences that made me relate to the characters (such as the I Am Not a Serial Killer series by Dan Wells—and no, I’m not serial killer material).

It might be that the five-star story captured my imagination with its world building, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the fabulous places and desperately wanted to go there and meet these characters.

It could be that the weaving of words and the story haunted my sleep and followed me around even when I wasn’t reading. Like a delectable dessert whose lingering taste keeps me wanting more.

On Little Wings is one of those books for me.

So, what’s it about?

Jennifer's mother is not an only child.
Jennifer's aunt has thirty seven freckles.
And life just stopped making sense for this sixteen-year-old girl from Nebraska.
It will take one forbidden journey, an octogenarian movie star, three old pirates, and one scarred genius to put all the pieces back together.
If that is even possible.

When Jennifer finds a dog-eared photograph of a freckled girl, she never dreams the innocent picture will tear open a gaping wound to her mother's secret past.

Jennifer must leave her home, parents, and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska and travel to the rocky shores of Maine to find the aunt she never knew she had. Her search for the truth is distracted by the strange and hilarious characters in the tight-knit town of Smithport. From the 88 year old movie star who likes to show off her tattoo, to the fishermen who have a passion for rockets, to the aunt who recites poetry in the long, Maine nights, Jennifer is intrigued by the lives swirling around her.

In the midst of madness she meets Nathan, the tight-lipped, reluctant prodigy who is surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, protector, provider, and now, first love. With a restrained, mature, and uncertain voice, Jennifer shares her tale of family, love, loss, truth and beauty.

As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother's shattered story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.

Sirois uses beautiful language to paint this tale. I’m not in to too much description and will skip over a lot of flowery language. That’s not what Sirois does as she crafts this story. But she made me feel like I was there. Made me want to go to Smithport so I can meet these quirky, fun people. There's a certain showdown that we anticipate, and I loved the circumstances when it finally happened.

On Little Wings is up for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Young Adult Fiction. I’m not the least bit surprised.

You can download a sample of the first fourteen pages from Kindle here.

What do the star ratings mean to you? We often see books with extremes--5s or 1s. How come we see so few 3s?


  1. Sounds like a very interesting book, Donna. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. You wrote a nice review. I agree with the other two peeps. Sounds like a really good read.

  3. Thank you for the review, Donna! I'm really flattered. And I want to chime in on your question about star ratings because so many people have different opinions. For me 3 means I liked a book, too. Some writers see a 3 star as a 60% or a D-. I don't. 3 is good. 4 is exceptional. 5 means I will carry this book with me and wear out its pages. 2 means I regret reading it and 1 star (which I've never given) means I think humanity would be better served if this author never wrote another book. :) I am stingy with my stars, like you and give few fives. Which is why I am so touched and amazed by your opinion of my writing. Thank you!

  4. Your fabulous review makes me want to read this novel right this second! I am definitely adding this novel to my TBR pile, and I'll probably place it on top. Thanks for this!

    I really like your rating system. Mine is similar, but I'll admit that I am sometimes a bit too easy with my 5 star ratings. I should, like you, reserve these for the novels that are especially touching.

  5. 5 stars, really good. Glad you enjoyed it so much! This book was not even on my radar before I saw your blog.

  6. It's nice to see a protagonist from my neck of the woods! Looks like a great read, maybe it'll win!

  7. Haunting prose makes for a great read. I'll have to check this one out.

  8. Nice review Donna. Don't love when a book makes you feel it was way more than worthwhile to spend the time reading it? Afterall, isn't that really what you are grading...time value trade off?

  9. Thanks for the review! It sounds like a really good book. :)

    I actually give a lot of the books I read 3s. I think 4s are my most common, but 3s are probably very close behind. I view it as "I liked the book", but didn't think it shone for any particular reason.

  10. Nice review Donna and it sure sounds like it has interesting plot points. I especially like the pirates and the freckles!

  11. OK,you got me. 105 and counting.

  12. Sounds like quite the read indeed.

  13. This sounds really good. I will have to check it out!


  14. Thanks for sharing, Donna. This is the first I had heard of the book. Fingers crossed it wins the award. :)

  15. I love when a book leaves you just saying "Wow."

    I almost never use a 1 or 2. The only times I ever have was when it was required reading. I use a three when it was good enough to finish, but not great. Five means it somehow convinced me to shirk all my other responsibilities. Four is somewhere in between. :)

  16. I gave a three-star rating yesterday, LOL. Funny! I know! It's either one extreme or the other it seems like...

    And the book looks fabulous...

  17. On Little Wings. What a beautiful name for a book. And beautiful cover, too.

  18. Thanks for the review. I'm adding it to my TBR list on Goodreads!

  19. You've sold me Donna:) I've got to read it now!

  20. Hi Donna! How have you been? I haven't been by for such a long time. I hope you are well.

    Thank you for the recommendation. I will add it to my TBR list.

    I, like you, mark few books as a 5 - most are 3 and 4. I take them off the list if they are a 1 or 2 because I don't want to diss anybody. Someone else will probably like it, right?

    Have a great week. :)


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