Blog, book review

Book Review: The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent
Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent was published on May 27th, 2016.

I decided to stop reading this book halfway through for reasons I’ve discussed in my review. If you enjoyed this book, great, I’m so glad it worked for you! I will not be persuaded to finish it, however; my mind has been made up. 

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Book Review: Georgiana Darcy

Georgiana Darcy: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Alice Isakova

Georgiana Darcy: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was published on July 16th, 2018. The author provided me with a copy of the book, but all thoughts are my own. 

SYNOPSIS:

With her temptingly large dowry, the beautiful and talented Georgiana Darcy catches the eye of numerous suitors, not all of whom wish to marry purely for love. As Georgiana navigates the treacherous waters of courtship, her story becomes intertwined with that of Anne de Bourgh, her wealthy but painfully awkward cousin, who stirs up trouble when she sets her sights on a young gentleman with a rank far below her own. In so doing, Anne encounters the opposition of her proud and domineering mother, the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and sets in motion a chain of events that brings a damaging secret to light and threatens to destroy Georgiana’s dreams of happiness. Intrigues, gossip, and elopements further complicate Georgiana’s efforts to find love and avoid the snares of fortune-hunters. 

Written in a sparkling, witty, humorous style on par with Jane Austen’s own in Pride and Prejudice, Alice Isakova’s Georgiana Darcy continues the tale that has delighted readers for over two centuries.

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Book Review: The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves
Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves is set to be published on January 15th, 2019. Although NetGalley provided me with an e-book copy, all thoughts are my own. Additionally, my review does not have explicit spoilers, but I do analyze the characters, so if you prefer to go into a book knowing as little as possible, I would recommend not reading my review. 

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Book Review: A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows
A. Kirke

A Murder of Crows was published on January 11th, 2018. The publisher provided me with a copy of the book, but all thoughts are my own. 

SYNOPSIS:

A dead father. A missing Spirit. An ancient manor with way too many locked doors.

Abigail Crowe is willing to accept that no amount of illegal magic will be able to bring her father back from the dead. She’s willing to appear proper at the funeral (or at least try). She’s even willing to put up with her little brother, William, and his questions about death. But when their mother whisks Abby and her brother south to stay with their estranged uncle, Dr. Edward Crowe, Abby decides she is not willing to ignore the eeriness of ancient Ravenscourt Manor. Screams in the night, an insane gardener, and a murder blamed on her late father are only the beginning.

As Abby breaks the rules to dig deeper into the mysteries surrounding her family’s history, she finds that, where magic is involved, things are rarely as simple as they appear.

A Murder of Crows is a Victorian fantasy, murder-mystery that is the first in a five-book series – The Ravenscourt Tragedies. With undertones of Coraline and the Murder Most Unladylike series, A Murder of Crows is a gothic adventure of magic, murder and family secrets.


A Murder of Crows | A. Kirke | Book CoverCoraline is not the only story I saw in A Murder of Crows. Images of The Secret GardenA Series of Unfortunate EventsRuby Holler, and perhaps a classic young or new adult story involving the fey realm (I had previously never read one) were also conjured up throughout the book. Thus, A Murder of Crows is not only a recent addition to the ranks of whimsical mysteries in which children take center stage, but it’s an effective, spellbinding, and satisfactory combination of all the above.

From the beginning, it is clear that Abigail and William have an admirable sibling relationship, and throughout the book they work quite well together to uncover secrets, investigate mysterious events and details, and always have each other in mind. This isn’t to say they agree on everything, but their conversations are productive, respectful, and yet feel totally appropriate of children of their ages. It’s important that they have each other, because the adults in their life prove to be less than dependable, at least from their child points of view. As an adult reader, it is easy to see the adult logic in punishing inappropriate or line-crossing childhood curiosities, but A. Kirke – like Neil Gaiman, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Lemony Snicket, and Sharon Creech – has such a way with words that will make a reader of any age remember and/or indulge in their childlike curiosity, sense of adventure, and finding answers no matter the obstacle – even adult obstacles.

A Murder of Crows is a book that gives the impression of always being in place. Its timeline is fluid and anticipatory, and the twists, turns, surprises, and realizations come unexpectedly, and yet also at the right moment. It’s also a bit reminiscent of many Agatha Christie novels: the answer to the mystery(ies) seems to be obvious, but then everything turns on its head and the author carries you through your state of adoring shock to an ending that both satisfies and has you seeking out more.

Although I am making many comparisons to other novels and authors, this book truly holds its own. Standing on the edge of our world and a magical realm, the book presents conflicting arguments of magic. There are connections to the spirit world, and magical objects have such convincing connections the physical, “real” world that it is impossible not to be placed into a position alongside Abigail and William, and buy into their beliefs while also challenging them. The gardener, Beatrice, is one of the most mysterious, yet enjoyable characters (which is not to deplete the enjoyment factor of the other characters), as she challenges the children to ask the right questions, take guidance, and be brave enough to stand on their own.

A Murder of Crows will have you triple-guessing, doubling back, and realizing that this is what storytelling is all about. Childlike wonder, believable characters, and being fully immersed by a storyteller (author) until the very end. 

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Book Review + Audiobook Review: Bricked In

Bricked In (Audiobook)
Max Wannow

I did not finish this book, for reasons I’ve laid out below. This is a non-spoiler book review, so if you are interested in checking out the book yourself, you can read my thoughts without worry. 

Synopsis:

Bricked In is a disgusting glimmer of self-recognition.

For many, happiness is found in freedom. After winning the lottery, a former gypsy becomes the queen of a dystopia. Newlyweds Bethany and Neil join this isolated society, which is devoid of common American laws. With no holds barred, experimental science takes place.

Neoba is a brick building with a population of 10,000. Within the walls is chaos and weirdness. Social norms is a foreign concept in Neoba, as freedom is held at the highest regard. This includes freedom of choice, freedom of expression, and freedom of science. The only laws at Neoba are to respect royalty, the leaders of this wild, cult-like society.

The story follows the lives of Neoba’s royalty, a newlywed couple new to the society, and the scientists within Neoba who are free to create without the limitations of morality.

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Book Review: Gazelle in the Shadows

Gazelle in the Shadows
Michelle Peach

Synopsis:

In the mid 90s, Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University. With some travel and work already under her belt, she excels at her studies and is sent to Damascus to immerse herself in the language. Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the people there, she easy slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend. But things aren’t always what they seem. Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are commonplace, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals, and even murder involving MI6, deadly terrorist factions, and the shadowy Syrian secret police.

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