The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe
Recommended audience - teens or young adults (a bit of language and one or two sexual references that are quite mild)
My 'grade' - 3/5 stars
Reasoning - It was a good, quick read, but I figured out the basic plot probably 1/3 of the way into the book. I liked that the male narrator seemed real/authentic, and I appreciated the raw descriptions of him both physically and emotionally. The female narrator wasn't as believable, but I still enjoyed reading from her perspective. My biggest problem with the book was in the formulaic nature of it. I figured it out too quickly. I also wasn't a fan of what I felt was a rather rushed ending.
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
Recommended audience - adults (primarily because the book's subtext, though often subtle, calls for a more mature reader; references to drug use, spousal/date abuse, alcoholism, and sex are included frequently but are rarely vulgar)
My 'grade' - 4.5/5 stars
Reasoning - I really, really enjoyed this book and devoured it in just a few days even though I had a lot going on at work and in my personal life. My favorite aspect of this book is that I didn't know quite what to expect for a good part of the text. I had suspicions, of course, but I wasn't sure. I also liked the intertwining of real, historical events into the backdrop of the story itself. It certainly made the characters and their circumstances much more plausible.There are heroes; there is a villain; there is a quest - it has all the elements of a great piece of writing. My only complaint would be the ending. Things turned out a little bit too neatly for my taste; I might've liked to be a bit more surprised by the ending.