Where the Forest Meets the Stars

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

A quirky, whimsical, feel-good read. Vanderah really captures the innocence and imagination of one young girl. She draws readers in with this story about miracles, friendship and love. I loved all 3 of the main characters and their stories. I highly recommend!
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Seeing all the glowing reviews on here it pains me to say that I really struggled with this book. I’m not exactly sure why, but it took me three starts and a near DNF before I finally got into the story and finished reading it. Perhaps it was the notion that Ursa was an alien (had I stumbled across a weird sci-fi type novel?) or the many issues each and every character dealt with (so much drama!), but it just didn’t gel with me at the time.

Now, after I finally made it through to the end of the story, I can see what endeared it to other readers. Ursa’s story is sad and sweet and did touch my heart as well. Who would not be saddened by a lost little girl in search of love and shelter? I just wanted to hug her.

I had a little bit more trouble with Jo and Gabe, who are each dealing with a multitude of problems of their own. Somehow I struggled to understand their motivations and their attraction to one another, and it was all resolved a bit too smoothly to make it believable for me. Major suspension of disbelief required throughout, and an ending that tied everything into a neat little miraculous bow. Let’s just say that it was probably not the right type of book for this reader, who normally struggles with all of the issues mentioned. As it was, Where the Forest Meets the Stars scraped in as an ok read for me, but sadly not the magical story other readers describe. But that’s reading life! 

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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The beauty of this book is that you want to believe Ursa’s alien story; and at times start to think maybe it is true. Glendy Vanderah gives our little girl, Ursa, such a strong, passionate and intelligent voice that it’s impossible not to fall in love with her. As I thought might happen by the end of the novel I was bawling my eyes out. For so many reasons and at so many levels; none of which felt cheap or convenient. 

Characters
Each character we encounter is unique and each has their own challenges. Individually these people felt like real people; who all have complex issues. From Gabe, a reclusive depressive 20 something who can’t get away as he cares for his ailing mother; to Jo, our strong lead female who has undergone a full mastectomy (before she reached 25 years of age), a recent  orphan and full-time PhD student; to Tabby who is the kind of bubbly crazy friend that always knows how to do something seemingly insane to get a smile. Even out periphery characters are given enough life to feel like I could relate them back to real people I know. 

Plot
This is a character drive story at its core. While the plot is very interesting (and gives us some tense and terrifying moments); the reality is that it’s less about a little girl who just shows up one day with no parents (and no one reporting her missing), and more about the love that grows between the child, our lead Jo and Jo’s possible love interest Gabe. Each of them struggles with their current life and each of them transforms through the book. 

Miracles 
I love how adorable Ursa’s ‘miracles’ are. I won’t spoil them for you; but it’s so heart warming and an important reminder that what may seem a miracle to one feels commonplace to another. And that we all experience miracles on a semi-regular basis; we’ve just lost the ability to see them as the miracles they are. This is a perfect book for someone who might be struggling to overcome a tough time or incident in their life. As all three characters are also doing so; but more importantly the reminder that miracles happen everyday; you just have to look for them. 

Overall 
Right from the opening line I was intrigued and ready to jump into this story. How can you not be curious when the first sentence is:
                                              ”The girl could be a changeling.”
It reminded me of the straightforward, to the point opening lines of Dickens. “The Marleys were dead to begin with”; the line is both enchanting, setting a mood and letting you know right away that something might be a bit off in this novel you’re about to encounter. 
A couple months ago I thought Miracle Creek would be the best debut novel of 2019. Where the Forest meets the Stars has blown Miracle Creek out of the water and solidly affirmed itself as one of the best debut novels I have ever read (never mind for just 2019). I hope to see a lot more from Vanderah. Although I wouldn’t mind if the next story was a little less teary near the end (it’s just so embarrassing to tear-up on the bus). 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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This is my favorite read of 2019 so far! From the moment I started this book I could not put it down. This book definitely pulled at my heartstrings. It does a fantastic job of capturing the story of three individuals that have to find a way to deal with the life that was dealt to them. A truly memorable novel, with its likeable characters and emotional roller coaster of a story that unfolds page after page. I definitely cannot wait to read more from this author.
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I really enjoyed this book about love, healing, and family.  Jo, dealing with  her cancer and her mother’s death, finds a girl by her cabin in the woods.  The girl claims to be from the stars and was sent to earth to witness five miracles.  Jo decides to recruit a local egg seller, Gabe, to help her care for Ursa, who runs away from the authorities.  Their journey together will help them learn how to love and trust again. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this advance reader copy.
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For a middle-aged woman to absolutely enjoy a book about a small child wandering out of the forest and saying she is an alien from a far-off planet that needs to witness 5 miracles before she can go back, I find, is truly something.  That is the case with this story, and when I saw the 5-star reviews mounting into the thousands, my curiosity was picked. This is a solid 5-star tale, at least for the first half, then unfortunately it starts dropping a star for me. 
The book starts out with a bang, the characters are so likeable, little Ursa is adorable, Gabe and Joanna’s banter is absolutely filled with humor and amusing, so I figured the rest of the book would continue. Not the case here, a little past half way thru we start getting into the weeds of the story, most of the humor between Jo and Gabe has turned into drama and the story begins to lack the good-natured fun it started out with. 
This was a quick easy read, I enjoyed my time with these characters but in looking back, my thoughts, smiles and remembrances came from the first of the book, the rest was “magoo”. On a bright note though, I loved the references to the bird studies and learning the nesting habits of the Indigo Buntings.
This one comes in with 4****’s. I thank Lake Union Publishing and Net Galley for allowing me the privilege of receiving this book for free, just for my honest review.
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The premise of this book was enticing to me but the pacing was a bit off. It seemed to have a good narrative at times and then drag at other times, where there were places that honestly could have been edited out altogether and made the story more readable. I still enjoyed the ideas and the characters. At times, I questioned their decision making but it was still a good story.

#WhereTheForestMeetsTheStars #NetGalley
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This is one of the hardest reviews I've written. I loved this story and the characters but I couldn't believe how dumb the actions of Joanna and Gabe were. Joanna finds a little girl hiding on her property and lets her stay. I know she contacted the police who gave her bad advice and Ursa was a cute lovable child but to keep her seemed stupid. If you can get past that, the story is thrilling and captivating. Ursa is the most lovable child and has a remarkable imagination. I received a copy fo this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This book was full of wonders, it felt like a warm hug after very bad day. 

It was so pure and precious, with beautifully written characters, interesting plot line and gorgeous portrayal of nature. 

I loved the story and Ursa, our little alien so much. It was captivating and I was unable to stop reading. I think this story will stay with me for very long time.
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I feel like I am the only person who read this that didn't love it. Maybe it's because I'm going for a Ph.D. Myself and the way it was depicted in this book was so outrageous incorrect, I couldn't get passed it. I'm not a big YA fan and this book read very immaturely to me. More than that, the way Jo handled Gabe's mental illness shows me that this author is very ignorant to depression. I'm disappointed all together.
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What an amazing and special book. One which will stay with me for a long time 
I was hooked from the very first paragraph 
The characters in this book will live in my heart for a long time
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Amazing book! I loved this so much, a beautiful story that I will be thinking about for a long time to come.
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I initially glossed over this book because I wasn't sure about the description but then I read a bunch of amazing review for it from my reading buddies and I had to see what it was all about. 

This is such an example of not judging a book by its cover because it was so much more than I was expecting. I will admit, I don't read books that are sci-fi or fantasy, EVER and I totally threw this one into that category and moved right along. One of the most wonderful things about being a part of the online reading community is the ability to be inspired to try books that are out of my comfort zone. 

The gorgeous storytelling and amazing relationships in this book were the highlights of this book for me and I cannot believe this is Vanderah's debut novel!  While this book did have a paranormal aspect, that really wasn't what stood out for me as the reader. The story of friendship, connection, and healing are so powerful and I am so happy I gave this one a chance. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was amazing! I don't know where to start. It has everything, mystery, fantasy, and romance. I enjoyed this book and was captivated from the first page. You will not be dissapointed this book is beautiful. 

I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by the author, publisher, or other related entity.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah is a beautiful read. I loved the set up of the first scene and I enjoyed that the narration left me slightly confused along the way. I liked that not all of the information was delivered easily and that the reader was left to feel like Jo, trying to discover exactly what is the truth of Ursa.

The writing is comfortable and feels like normal conversation. There isn't anything that feels forced or unnatural. The development of the characters is great, though I did struggle slightly with the character of Gabe. I felt that the understanding of his mental illness could have been fleshed out a little better. In retrospect, it might be interesting to have this story written from his perspective. As for the character of Ursa, she is clearly the star here. She is written spectacularly true to the child she is explained to be. Her mannerisms, her speech, her method of thinking things through all felt right. And she feels like a child you just want to hug.

The narrative works nicely and flows well with the exception of a couple of small scenes that somewhat added to the story, but felt choppy in the mix. Again, a little extra development in these areas would have been welcome.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this read and found it quite heart-wrenching as well as heart-warming. It may not have been 100% realistic in its dealings with the wrap up at the end, but I don't care. I enjoyed Vanderah's approach all the same. 4.5 stars.
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Beautifully written contemporary with a sprinkle of crime mixed in.

This book starts out quiet similarly as it continues: quiet but with surprises. 

We follow along a woman that rented a house in the forest basically in the middle of nowhere from a professor to do her graduate study project. 
And while she is out there, watching bird nests, taking notes and doing what she is there for to do, a little girl appears one night and does not leave. 
Her story is a strange one, saying that she is an alien having come from a star to study earth and witness five miracles before having to go back. 
Of course our main carjacker Joanna doesn't believe the girl that clearly shows signs of abuse or at least some violence. And with that the story evolves... 

It moves from lovely nature talk, to discussions of health, in my eyes gives a good overview of what american child care systems are like and what even the people inside that system think of it!, dabbles a bit in loss and love and the overarching connections between it at: what family means and what family makes. 

This is not a book for everyone and i know already, thought i loved it, quiet a few people will "complain" that its too slow, too unfocused on the important part of "What happened to the girl?"

And i can understand that. But i honestly don't feel that this book lacks in those departments. 

I loved how it took it time with the girls story, because it give us the view not the adults lives... gave us an understanding on why Joanna and the "egg stand guy" would react as they do to the girl. 

I loved how the author included illnesses both physical and mental into the story and how she didn't make one seem less real or important as the other, but just tried to show that both can find positive or negative endings. 

The writing -yes again!- was lovely. It sucked me into the story and it felt as if it carried me through the entire story in such a cozy, quiet but warm and safe way that makes absolutely no sense for a lot of the things that are happening in the book... but that is how it felt to me!

So really the only reason that i can't give the book 5 stars and push it on everyone are those two things: 
Its writing is not for everyone -as already mentioned. 

And for me the ending was not as good as the rest of the book. 
To me the last 50 or so pages felt incredibly rushed, and while it is clear that the entire book does build up to those moments that those last 50+ pages cover, for me it felt a bit too extreme in all things. 
I also didn't appreciate the epilogue. I understand why the author did it how she did it but to me, especially with the just mentioned last 50+ pages it made next to no sense to me. And if i hate one thing in books that up until a specific point where pretty realistic and logical in most aspects? I hate it if they just end on this completely unrealistic note that make me question if the entire book wasn't as logical and real as it felt to me up until then. 

Overall that doesn't take a huge amount away from this book. Its just those little things that i wish the author could have done as beautifully as the did the rest of the book. 

Overall? I loved it
and i highly recommend it if you want a beautiful read, with a different family-type story that has a bit of a crime element but is not overly heavy on it and clearly not an actual crime/thriller/mystery type of book. 

It certainly is one of those books that is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, i mean look at that cover and title! How can you not want to pick it up!
And i would defiantly recommend you doing so as soon as you can!
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At first I was hooked by the title, and the cover I admit it ... those things do sometimes matter. But then it was the reference to Egg Man; that is absolutely a label that I can relate to. It’s something I would say and think and it put me in touch with the main character on a more personal level. I thought about what I might say further about this novel, and wonder if part of the magic  is reading it this time of year when the birds are nesting and I’m dreaming about campfires and more time outside. Whatever the reason, and  I don’t want to spoil it, let’s just say I dove into this book and didn’t really surface until it was over.  Well painted scenes and overall a thoroughly enjoyable book.
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At first I wasn’t sure if this would be a fantasy or literary fiction but in the end, the story was told well and made me both laugh and cry, which to me is the marker Of a well written novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will recommend to all my book loving friends. Bravo to the author 👏.
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The first few pages had me questioning if maybe this wasn’t a book for me, anything paranormal or fantasy turns me off. Little alien Ursa from the stars convinced me otherwise, and I just needed to keep going to find out what the real deal was with this sweet girl. What I first thought was a possible fantasy story, is actually a story about friendship, family and love.

The characters won me over with their first introductions. Every one of them has a story of hardships and makes you feel something for them immediately. The writing was beautiful, and told the story quickly. Every word in the book is important and meaningful. 

Where the Forest Meets the Stars touched my heart and my soul. I laughed at the quirky Ursa, I had tears in my eyes in other parts. Such a unique story, about the people who randomly come into your life and have an impact on you forever.
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[synopsis] When Jo's mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, it's discovered that they both are carriers of the BRCA gene mutation, meaning Jo's chances of breast and ovarian cancer are imminent. She undergoes testing and does in fact have breast cancer. During the recovery process after double mastectomy and ovary removal, Jo's mother dies. 

After she is cleared for work, Jo returns to her post-graduate studies in ornithology, examining the nesting habits of birds in rural Illinois. One night, an eight year-old girl shows up in her yard; dirty, bruised, in her pajamas, and barefoot. Although Jo tries to understand where this girl has come from, Ursa determinedly claims to be an alien, sent to Earth to witness five miracles. What follows is a heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, and redemption. 

[thoughts] This beautiful story hooked me right away. I couldn't stop asking myself, "What is going on here?!" It was a relatively quick read and I really enjoyed it.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced copy! 

Full review at http://tinyw.in/MO2s
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