ARC REVIEW: What Blooms From Dust – by James Markert @tnzfiction

Title: What Blooms From Dust
Author: James Markert
Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
First published: June 26th 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Finished reading: February 16th 2018
Pages: 352

“The land was just too strong and mean and too determined to break them. Just as they had broken it.”

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. ***

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I admit I was sold the minute I saw that beautiful cover and read the blurb. What Blooms From Dust promised magic and mystery in a historical setting, and what more can I wish for? This story is set in the United States of the 1930s, a time I’ve always been interested in but haven’t read all that much about. Both the setting in Nowhere, Oklahoma and the timeframe are interesting, although the emphasis of this story isn’t on the year (1935) everything took place in Nowhere. You get that feel of the past, but the focus of What Blooms From Dust is more on the town Nowhere itself and the main character Jeremiah. I must confess that I was feeling mighty confused in the beginning, and I wasn’t sure what to make of this story. It was definitely a slowburner for me, but once the dust that had blown in had settled down a bit, I suddenly found myself hooked. This initial feeling of being lost probably has to do with the magical realism of the story, which I always need some time with before I’m used to it, but in the case of What Blooms From Dust these magical realism elements really worked. From the coin-flipping to Jeremiah himself and the aftermath of the Black Sunday… All less than credible elements on its own, but together they create that magical and mythical atmosphere that simply makes this story work. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but please don’t let the mention of magical realism dissuade you! The writing, like the magical elements, may take some time to get used to, but once you do it is fantastic. It sets just the right tone and atmosphere for this story, and definitely helped make this story into what it is. The plot is quite interesting, but what truly stands out is the deeper message of What Blooms From Dust, a message of finding hope in the darkness and the power of kindness. Without doubt a wonderful story!

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Jeremiah is about to meet his fate in the electric chair, but a tornado tears down the prison walls and he escapes. Using his famous flip of a coin, he returns to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, where he has unfinished business with his twin brother Josiah. But a lot has changed since he went away three years ago. Nowhere has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl, and the gift he once relied on to guide him no longer seems to work properly. What will happen to Jeremiah and his home town?

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Like I said before, What Blooms From Dust was a slowburner for me, but once the dust had settled down I found myself completely and utterly hooked. This is an example of a story where magical realism simply works, and only enhances the reading experience instead of complicating it. Magical, mystical and a healthy dose of mystery around Nowhere and its inhabitants… You will want to keep reading until you reach the final page and find out all about Nowhere and its mysteries. Recommended!


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WWW Wednesdays #164 – February 21st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading The Visitor by K.L. Slater, one of my most anticipated releases this year and I story I have been looking forward to. And so far it is definitely a winner! Her books are excellent in general, and The Visitor has the same high standard I’ve become used to over time. I also picked up The Last Star by Rick Yancey, but since I’m not really looking forward to it, I will most likely end up putting it on hold temporarily and read a few upcoming NG ARCs instead.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Art Of French Kissing by Brianna R. Shrum (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
If you like fun, light, cute, slightly cheesy and entertaining YA contemporaries with a healthy dose of romance, you will be in for a treat with this one. The Art Of French Kissing incorporates the whole cooking competition theme very well and all that food talk is probably one of the reasons I loved this book the way I did. The bantering and revenge element between the main characters worked better for me than I thought it would, and definitely added it’s own spice to the plot.

2. What Blooms From Dust by James Markert (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/02
What Blooms From Dust was a slowburner for me, but once the dust had settled down I found myself completely and utterly hooked. This is an example of a story where magical realism simply works, and only enhances the reading experience instead of complicating it. Magical, mystical and a healthy dose of mystery around Nowhere and its inhabitants… You will want to keep reading until you reach the final page and find out all about Nowhere and its mysteries. Recommended!

3. Wires And Nerve by Marissa Meyer (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/02
While it was great to visit the original characters again, I do think a lot of them felt really different from the way they behaved in the original books. Take Thorne: he was one of my favorite characters, but I seriously couldn’t stand him in the graphic novel. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the graphics in general. The lack of detail, overly simply graphics and overall blue tone just didn’t manage to convince me. As a whole, I feel this graphic novel was quite a disappointment and doesn’t live up to The Lunar Chronicles.

4. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/02
I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I had never read a Karin Slaughter book before I started The Good Daughter even though her books are wildly popular and they belong to one of my favorite genres. But no longer, because now I’ve tried her work I have become an instant fan. WOW! That woman can write… It was without doubt a highly intense read with a lot of complicated, disturbing scenes and elements and trigger warnings are in place for violence, abuse, rape among other things. The school shooting scenes are also a painful reminder of what happened in Florida recently… There is no denying the story and it’s many subplots, twists and turns are brilliantly executed and I take my hat off for it. Say hello to my very first 5 star read of 2018!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have been misbehaving on NG recently, so I have three NG titles coming up next as a result. The first, Proof Of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach, is the first book of a series I need to read so I can get on track for the sequel I will be joining the blog tour of in March (due March 15th!). Next is Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe, a thriller that sounds SO good and can’t wait to dive into. I also need to read All Things Bright And Strange by James Markert. I just couldn’t resist requesting it after What Blooms From Dust… My newest TBR jar pick is still Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke.


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WWW Wednesdays #163 – February 14th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

It is likely I’ll actually finish The Art Of French Kissing by Brianna R Shrum before this scheduled post goes up, since I don’t have all that many pages left… But as I’m typing this, I still haven’t finished it yet. 😉 I needed something light and fluffy after Lilac Girls and picked up this title on a whim after browsing the NG Read Now section. YA contemporary romance isn’t really my genre, BUT I can really enjoy them if they are done right or if I’m in the right mood. And this one was definitely a perfect match for me. Sure, it’s a bit cheesy and there are cliches, but it’s easy to read, cute and there is a LOT of food talk involved. Basically, this book makes me crave all kind of delicious food! I also read a few pages of What Blooms From Dust by James Markert, which I will pick up again today. I’m mighty confused so far though!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/02
Unfortunately, Take The Key And Lock Her Up is by far the weakest book of the trilogy and it’s sad to see a series end on this note as it started out so promising. One of the biggest problems I had was with the main character Grace. Her whole attitude, dialogue and actions seriously annoyed me and it was one of the reasons the final book didn’t work for me. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the writing either, but this is probably mostly related to Grace and her dialogue. And the whole love triangle and romance put a damper on things as well. As for the plot… If you look critically, nothing much is actually happening during this final adventure, or at least I missed the intensity and suspense.

2. Hollo by Devon Michael (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/02
If you are looking for an endearing, whimsical and magical read, Hollo is a great choice. From the writing style to the worldbuilding, characters and descriptions; you will be enchanted by Hollo and her magical world of Thedes and enjoy her journey. Hollo is perfectly suited for the younger YA fantasy fans despite the magical battles and some details, and it has another bonus in the form of a romance-free story! I can definitely recommend this one.

3. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/02
This was actually a buddyread with wonderful Nicki @ Secret Library. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read this one! I can definitely understand the love for this historical fiction read now, although I do admit it left me with a huge book hangover. Especially the WWII holocaust camp scenes are intense and gruesome! My favorite POV of the three is definitely Kasia, although I did warm up to Caroline as well after a while. Her chapters were without doubt a welcome break in between the other two POVs… I really didn’t like Herta though, although I guess that is kind of natural with her being a camp doctor and doing the things she does? Her POV does add dept to the story. More in my review…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m SO excited that after my current reads I’ll be finally picking up my very first Karin Slaughter book The Good Daughter! I know I’m more than fashionably late to the party, but I’m having high hopes of becoming an instant fan of her work. I also need to read The Visitor by K.L. Slater, a title I have been looking forward to a LOT. I also should pick up The Last Star by Rick Yancey to get rid of another unfinished series on my list… I can’t say I was a fan of the first two books, so it will probably be a bit of a struggle reading that one though. And I have a new TBR jar pick after waaaay too long! *drumroll* Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. This one does have a low rating and a lot of mixed reviews, and this was definitely a cover buy. 😉 I’m curious what I will make of it though.


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Teaser Tuesdays #165 – February 13th: What Blooms From Dust

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I was intrigued by this title as soon as I first read the blurb, so I decided to pick it up even though it’s not due until June. What Blooms From Dust by James Markert without doubt has a very interesting premise… And I will be looking forward to read more of it soon.

My teaser (2%):

“Tall prairie grass swayed alongside the speeding train. Miles of velvety blades, moving like something Wilmington couldn’t quite put a finger on.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #162 – February 7th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m so excited to be finally starting our buddy read of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly with Nicki @ Secret Library! This title was actually a TBR jar pick months ago, but somehow I never actually picked it up… But no longer! I’m so excited to be finally reading this one. Also on my currently reading list is Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter, a 2016 most-anticipated release I somehow never actually picked up either. It’s the third and final book of the series, so I’ll be able to cross off yet another series on my to-do list soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I’m definitely happy I finally gave this one a go… I went in completely blind and was pleasantly surprised with the whole dystopian angle being dropped after what seems like a contemporary beginning. The writing is enchanting and I really liked the ‘after’ storyline set twenty years after the disaster… Very intriguing. I did feel the plot felt a bit disjointed with all those different storylines, and things might get a bit confusing with all the different characters in the beginning, but that doesn’t take away I really enjoyed reading it.

2. As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/02
While I still think the first book is the strongest, As Dead As It Gets without doubt makes a comeback from what I call a ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’. The writing is engaging and reads superfast as always, making it a fun, exciting and speedy paranormal read. The plot is darker than the second book and adds a level of suspension to the story… Without doubt an interesting final adventure, although I’m still on the fence whether I like the ending or not.

3. A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/02
I had such high hopes for this story, especially since the blurb sounded really promising, but unfortunately the story fell completely flat for me. Between the writing style, lack of dept and development in both the plot and characters and the failed dual storyline, I had a hard time reading A Castle In Romagna. Although I keep wondering if some of its charm has been lost in translation.

4. The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I needed something fun to brighten up my day, and this was EXACTLY the read I needed in my life. I already knew I would probably like it after seeing positive reviews a while back from bloggers with a similar taste, and I will definitely add myself to that group. I was able to take to the main character straight away and the writing style is just spot on. Engaging, quirky, direct, funny, a little blunt… The right kind of tone for a story I didn’t even know I was looking for when I started reading The Lot Of A Nobody. I LOVED the Nobody quotes at the beginning of each chapter as well as the perfect balance of contemporary and fantasy elements. Maybe even magical realism? Although only in the best possible way… Definitely a winner.

5. Black Heart by Anna-Lou Weatherley (4/5 stars) REVIEW 12/02
I couldn’t resist requesting a copy after certain bloggers (hint hint) kept going on about how great this detective thriller was… And I definitely agree. It’s refreshing to follow a male detective again for a change, even though he has the ‘usual’ complicated past baggage with him… And I do have a weak spot for a serial killer thriller. The writing draws you right in and it was without doubt a lightning-speed fast thriller ride… The plot was a bit predictable though and it was quite clear early on who the killer really was. There just weren’t all that many plot twists and surprises? That doesn’t take away I had a blast reading this one and I will definitely look forward to the next book in the series.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading Hollo by Devon Michael next depending on what genre I’m in the mood for. It’s another ARC I was supposed to read ages ago… (sorry!) I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And since I don’t have any pressing NG thriller releases anymore (YAY!!!!), I’ll be finally picking up my very first Karin Slaughter book The Good Daughter. I know I’m more than fashionably late to the party, but I’m having high hopes of becoming an instant fan of her work. I also should pick up The Last Star by Rick Yancey to get rid of another unfinished series on my list… I can’t say I was a fan of the first two books, so it will probably be a bit of a struggle reading that one though.


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WWW Wednesdays #161 – January 31st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages. I didn’t get a chance to read a lot of it yet, but so far it looks really promising. I’m also about to pick up A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks, a Netgalley ARC I picked up as part of my whole ‘read more international authors/translations’ goal.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Best Friends by Carys Jones (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 01/02
If you are looking for a fast-paced and entertaining psychological thriller that focuses on both the characters and the action, you have found a good balance in Best Friends. This thriller has an interesting premise and a lot of action, but the story isn’t solely about the ‘problem’ they have to deal with. The story also focuses on their friendship and how the complicated situation they are in might affect this relationship. Especially in the second half of the story might not be all that believable, but it is still a solid read if you don’t focus that much on the credibility of it all.

2. The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One without doubt makes a statement. Not only did I instantly connect with her style of poetry and the way she expresses herself, but I could also relate to some of the topics she discusses in her poems. Powerful, enchanting, inspiring and so well represented in both the words and format of her work!

3. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. He balances these personal accounts with a lot of background information and facts about apartheid that are relevant to that particular account he was talking about. Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget.

4. The Camera Lies by AB Morgan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/02
There is no doubt that both the TV documentary angle and the murder case itself make The Camera Lies a very refreshing, intense and action-packed read. Even though I did see a mayor plot twist coming, there were other things I never would have guessed. There are some disturbing things going on for sure! The story reads superfast and you will be wondering what will happen next and how things will end until the very last page. Entertaining and thrilling for sure!

5. Halfway by Lokesh Sharma (2/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
This sci-fi story has an interesting concept, but the execution didn’t work for me. The lack of worldbuilding and plot left me feeling confused and Halfway is more of a disjointed character background story than a story set in a properly fleshed out fantasy world. I’m having a feeling I would have enjoyed it better as two completely separate stories: one with the characters and their history, and one fully about Enigma.

6. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (3/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I was in the mood for a YA contemporary, so I picked up this title on a whim. I didn’t remember this one had actually a very prominent mental health angle: the main character suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. The author was able to develop this element really well, although I do have to say it all felt a bit too similar to Everything, Everything… And I wasn’t too sure about the ending or credibility of certain parts of the plot.

7. Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/02
This is one of those cases where I should have investigated better, because I am so NOT the target group for this one… And this had a big influence on the lowish rating. This feels definitely written for macho male readers who like a lot of action, graphic scenes, swearing and adult content. AKA not my cup of tea. I did really like the whole mythology angle though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston next, mostly because I’ve had that ARC on my pile for way too long now… (sorry!) After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off another series on my list. I do hope it’s better than book two. I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And it looks like I will be finally picking up Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly soon! Thanks to the wonderful Nicki who offered to buddyread it with me. ❤


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