Genre: Fantasy

#BookReview A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet @AuthorABouchet @SourcebooksCasa #AmandaBouchet #APromiseofFire #kingmakerseries #SourcebooksCasa #Sourcebooksfiction

#BookReview A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet @AuthorABouchet @SourcebooksCasa #AmandaBouchet #APromiseofFire #kingmakerseries #SourcebooksCasa #Sourcebooksfiction Title: A Promise of Fire

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles #1

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Apr. 5, 2022

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 9/10

KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER

Cat Fisa isn’t who she pretends to be. She’s perfectly content living disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus, avoiding the destiny the Gods―and her dangerous family―have saddled her with. As far as she’s concerned, the magic humming within her blood can live and die with her. She won’t be a pawn in anyone’s game.

But then she locks eyes with an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south and her illusion of safety is shattered forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker―the woman who divines truth through lies―and he wants her to be a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm. Kidnapping her off the street is simple enough, but keeping her by his side is infuriatingly tough. Cat fights him at every turn, showing a ferocity of spirit that burns hot…and leaves him desperate for more. But can he ever hope to prove to his once-captive that he wants her there by his side as his equal, his companion…and maybe someday, his Queen?

Containing exciting bonus material (including maps, illustrations, and an expanded look at the world of Thalyria), fans of Jennifer Armentrout, Scarlett St. Clair and Sarah J. Maas will burn for this spicy romantic fantasy.


Review:

Fantastical, fierce, and action-packed!

A Promise of Fire is a suspenseful, gripping tale that takes us to the kingdoms of Thalyria and into the lives of the powerful, hot-headed Cat and the ruthless, warlord Griffin as they join forces to battle those who wish them dead, try to resist the ever-growing attraction quickly building between them, and decide to embark on a journey to bring peace to the realms.

The prose is intense and passionate. The characters are complex, unique, and gifted. And the plot is a riveting tale of twists, turns, passion, angst, wrath, loyalty, heartbreak, duty, sizzling tension, violence, humour, mysterious pasts, and supernatural abilities.

Overall, A Promise of Fire is an imaginative, seductive, highly entertaining tale by Bouchet that is brimming with bloody battles, grit, determination, heat, sexual chemistry, adventure, gods, healers, and other magical elements. It kept me invested and engaged from the very first page, and with its cliffhanger-type ending has undoubtedly left me counting down the days until I have the opportunity to read the next novel in The Kingmaker series, Breath of Fire, to find out how this epic battle continues.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Amanda Bouchet

Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.

Her first novel, A Promise of Fire, won several Romance Writers of America chapter contests, including the Orange Rose Contest and the paranormal category of the prestigious Golden Pen.

Amanda is a French master's graduate and former English teacher. She lives in Paris, France with her two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.

Photo by Richard Beban.

#BookReview Electric Idol by Katee Robert @katee_robert @SourcebooksCasa #KateeRobert #ElectricIdol #DarkOlympus #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview Electric Idol by Katee Robert @katee_robert @SourcebooksCasa #KateeRobert #ElectricIdol #DarkOlympus #SourcebooksCasa Title: Electric Idol

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Dark Olympus #2

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Jan. 18, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 375

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 8.5/10

He was the most beautiful man alive.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.


Review:

Witty, dark, and wickedly seductive!

Electric Idol is a steamy, provocative retelling that takes you on a journey into the life of Psyche Dimitriou, a candidate to become the new Hera who, after causing a scandal and falling under the wrath of Aphrodite, finds herself needing the protection of a fake marriage to the one man, Aphrodite’s fixer and son, Eros who has literally been sent to take her heart.

The writing is fluid and enticing. The characters are consumed, sassy, and endearing. And the plot is a delightfully salacious tale of desire, temptation, mystique, attraction, chemistry, danger, and sizzling romance.

Overall, Electric Idol is an alluring, fun, spicy tale that I absolutely adored. It is the second title in the Dark Olympus series by Robert that I am now totally hooked on and is, in my opinion, a series that just keeps getting better and better.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katee Robert

Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Entertainment Weekly calls her writing “unspeakably hot.” Her books have sold over a million copies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, children, a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and two Great Danes who think they’re lap dogs.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Where I Can’t Follow by Ashley Blooms @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #WhereICantFollow #AshleyBlooms #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview Where I Can’t Follow by Ashley Blooms @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #WhereICantFollow #AshleyBlooms #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: Where I Can't Follow

Author: Ashley Blooms

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Feb. 15, 2022

Genres: Fantasy, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

Walk through the door and leave all your problems behind…but you don’t know what’s on the other side. And once you leave, you’ll never come back. Will you go through?

Maren Walker told herself she wouldn’t need to sell pills for long, that it was only means to an end. But that end seems to be stretching as far away as the other side of Blackdamp County, Kentucky. There’s always another bill for Granny’s doctor, another problem with the car, another reason she’s getting nowhere.

She dreams of walking through her little door to leave it all behind. The doors have appeared to the people in her mountain town for as long as anyone can remember, though no one knows where they lead. All anyone knows is that if you go, you’ll never come back.

Maren’s mother left through her door when Maren was nine, and her shadow has followed Maren ever since. When she faces the possibility of escaping her struggles for good, Maren must choose just what kind of future she wants to build.

From critically acclaimed author Ashley Blooms, Where I Can’t Follow explores the forces that hold people in place, and how they adapt, survive, and struggle to love a place that doesn’t always love them back.


Review:

Heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, and memorable!

Where I Can’t Follow is an incredibly moving novel that takes us to small-town Kentucky where emotions run high, tragedy seems to strike, poverty is the norm, opioid addiction is rampant, hope appears futile, and the door to an easier, happier place always seems to be floating nearby.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are raw, fragile, and conflicted. And the plot is a sobering, compelling tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, addiction, mental illness, suicidal ideation, socioeconomic depression, desperation, self-preservation, survival and a touch of magical realism.

Overall, Where I Can’t Follow made me think, made me feel, and resonated with me long after the final page. It’s a unique, emotional, absorbing tale by Blooms that is an excellent reminder that thorns can prick, roots can turn rotten, growth requires nurturing and love, and believing you’re worthy goes a long way when the road ahead seems hopeless and daunting.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ashley Blooms

Ashley Blooms is the author of Where I Can’t Follow, which was named a Most Anticipated novel by Good Housekeeping, Gizmodo, and Tor.com, among others. Her debut novel, Every Bone a Prayer, was long-listed for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. She’s a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop and received her MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow from the University of Mississippi. Her fiction has appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among others.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Neon Gods by Katee Robert @katee_robert @SourcebooksCasa #KateeRobert #NeonGods #DarkOlympus #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview Neon Gods by Katee Robert @katee_robert @SourcebooksCasa #KateeRobert #NeonGods #DarkOlympus #SourcebooksCasa Title: Neon Gods

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Dark Olympus #1

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Jun. 1, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 380

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 8.5/10

He was supposed to be a myth. But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell… he was, quite simply, mine.

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth… a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…

A modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.


Review:

Titillating, edgy, and unique!

Neon Gods is a dramatic, spicy retelling that takes you on a journey into the life of Persephone Dimitriou, the dutiful, intelligent daughter of Demeter who, after finding out her marriage to the cruel, ancient Zeus has been arranged, flees to the only place she thinks she’ll be safe, across the River Styx, into the arms of the one man she never believed truly existed, the devilishly handsome, darkly sexy Hades.

The writing is sultry and smooth. The characters are intense, impulsive, and brazen. And the tantalizing, alluring plot is filled with desire, temptation, danger, deception, mystique, palpable attraction, sizzling chemistry, violence, and erotic sex scenes.

Overall, Neon Gods is an intriguing, seductive, mystical tale by Robert that had just the right amount of mystery, steam, mythology characters, and bad boy vibes to keep me engaged from start to finish. As most of you know, I don’t read a lot of fantasy, and I have never read a novel by Katee Robert before, but I have to tell you I really enjoyed this one, and I can’t wait to read what happens in Dark Olympus next.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katee Robert

Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Entertainment Weekly calls her writing “unspeakably hot.” Her books have sold over a million copies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, children, a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and two Great Danes who think they’re lap dogs.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Anthem by Noah Hawley @GrandCentralPub #NoahHawley #Anthem #GrandCentralPub #Thriller

#BookReview Anthem by Noah Hawley @GrandCentralPub #NoahHawley #Anthem #GrandCentralPub #Thriller Title: Anthem

Author: Noah Hawley

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Jan. 4, 2022

Genres: Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

An epic literary thriller set where America is right now, in which a band of unlikely heroes sets out on a quest to save one innocent life—and might end up saving us all.

Something is happening to teenagers across America, spreading through memes only they can parse.  

At the Float Anxiety Abatement Center, in a suburb of Chicago, Simon Oliver is trying to recover from his sister’s tragic passing. He breaks out to join a woman named Louise and a man called The Prophet on a quest as urgent as it is enigmatic. Who lies at the end of the road? A man known as The Wizard, whose past encounter with Louise sparked her own collapse. Their quest becomes a rescue mission when they join up with a man whose sister is being held captive by the Wizard, impregnated and imprisoned in a tower.  

Noah Hawley’s new novel is an adventure that finds unquenchable lights in dark corners.  Unforgettably vivid characters and a plot as fast and bright as pop cinema blend in a Vonnegutian story that is as timeless as a Grimm’s fairy tale.  It is a leap into the idiosyncratic pulse of the American heart, written with the bravado, literary power, and feverish foresight that have made Hawley one of our most essential writers.


Review:

Dark, tragic, and action-packed!

Anthem is a creative, pacey, intriguing novel that sweeps you away to a few years in the future when the world has finally seen the back of the current pandemic, mother nature is reaping even more havoc on a planet that continues to warm, politics is as tumultuous as ever, teenagers are taking their own lives at an alarming rate, and a misfit group of teens, including the son of a wealthy pharmaceutical exec and a boy who likes to be addressed primarily as “the Prophet” decide to take matters into their own hands and hunt down a sadistic billionaire who thinks he’s way above the law.

The writing is complex and suspenseful. The characters are troubled, driven, and impulsive. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and with a large cast of characters is tight and intense as it twists, turns, and unravels all the actions, motivations, personalities, and relationships within it.

Overall, Anthem is not the type of book I typically read but was nevertheless a menacing, pensive, unique page-turner with a fantastical thread that did a remarkable job of raising the question will the youth of today be able to weather the storms and handle all the responsibilities, catastrophes, and disasters that are sure to come.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

            

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Noah Hawley

Award‑winning author Noah Hawley is one of the most accomplished auteurs and versatile storytellers working in television, film and literature. Over the course of his more than 20-year career, Hawley's work as a novelist, screenwriter, series creator, showrunner and director has garnered acclaim—winning an Emmy®, Golden Globe®, PEN, Critics’ Choice, and Peabody Award. As a bestselling author, Hawley has published six novels: A Conspiracy of Tall Men, Other People’s Weddings, The Punch, The Good Father, Before the Fall and the upcoming Anthem.

Photo courtesy of grandcentralpublishing.com

#BookReview Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA @librofm #CloudCuckooLand #AnthonyDoerr #Librofm

#BookReview Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA @librofm #CloudCuckooLand #AnthonyDoerr #Librofm Title: Cloud Cuckoo Land

Author: Anthony Doerr

Published by: Scribner on Sep. 28, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 640

Length: 14 hrs 51 mins

Format: ARC, Audiobook, Paperback

Source: Libro.fm, Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.


Review:

Magical, memorable, and uniquely beautiful!

Cloud Cuckoo Land is a creative, moving, enthralling novel that sweeps you back and forth from the fifteenth century to the 1950s, to the present day and beyond and introduces you to five people whose lives are inexplicably impacted and changed based on their appreciation and love for an ancient manuscript, written by a Greek scholar, about a shepherd whose greatest desire is to escape to the sky.

The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are adventurous, inquisitive, and intelligent. And the compelling plot is an intricately woven, epic saga that touches on life, solace, innocence, sacrifice, imagination, survival, morality, and the power of the written word to guide, teach, fascinate, entertain, instil hope, and at its base level transcend time and space to entwine us all.

Cloud Cuckoo Land is another large novel by Doerr, with over 600 pages, but it is so remarkably immersive, affecting, and well written that before you know it, the story is finished, and you’re yearning for more. As some of you may know, I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, so I was a little worried at the start, but after receiving both the audio and paperback versions of this book and being able to enjoy them both, I can honestly say that this is one of the most enthralling novels I’ve read in a long time, and I was blown away by how effortlessly this novel transitions between the three distinct storylines and how powerfully moving and impactful it turned out to ultimately be.

This novel is available on September 28, 2021.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

              

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada & Libro.fm for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr is the author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Photo by Ulf Andersen.

#BookReview Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola @WmMorrowBooks #LoveinColor #BoluBabalola

#BookReview Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola @WmMorrowBooks #LoveinColor #BoluBabalola Title: Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold

Author: Bolu Babalola

Published by: William Morrow on Apr. 13, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: William Morrow

Book Rating: 8/10

A high-born Nigerian goddess, who has been beaten down and unappreciated by her gregarious lover, longs to be truly seen.

A young businesswoman attempts a great leap in her company, and an even greater one in her love life.

A powerful Ghanaian spokeswoman is forced to decide whether she should uphold her family’s politics or be true to her heart.

In her debut collection, internationally acclaimed writer Bolu Babalola retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology with incredible new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from long-erased places.

With an eye towards decolonizing tropes inherent in our favorite tales of love, Babalola has created captivating stories that traverse across perspectives, continents, and genres.


Review:

Uplifting, thought-provoking, and empowering!

Love in Color is an astute, beautiful collection of short stories that takes a variety of ancient folklore and tales and creatively reinvents them into contemporary love stories.

The writing is bold and colourful. The stories are imaginative, well written and romantic. And the plots, although slightly different, all feature strong, independent women and highlight the incredible power of love in all its forms.

Overall, Love in Color is a thoughtful, inspirational, perceptive anthology by Babalola that ultimately reminds us that to love and be loved is one of humanity’s most fundamental needs, or to quote Mahatma Gandhi’s iconic words, “Where there is love there is life.” 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola is a British-Nigerian woman with a misleading bachelor's degree in law and a masters degree in American Politics & History from UCL. She feels it is important to state that her thesis was on Beyoncé's "Lemonade" and she was awarded a distinction for it. So essentially she has a masters degree in Beyoncé. A writer of books, scripts and retorts, a lover of love and self-coined "romcomoisseur", Bolu Babalola writes stories of dynamic women with distinct voices who love and are loved audaciously. She is a big believer in women being both "Beauty and the beast". She is not a fan of writing her own bios.

Photo by Folaju Oyegbesan.

#BlogTour #BookReview The Vines by Shelley Nolden @ShelleyNolden @OverTheRiverPR #TheVines #ShelleyNolden #OTRPR

#BlogTour #BookReview The Vines by Shelley Nolden @ShelleyNolden @OverTheRiverPR #TheVines #ShelleyNolden #OTRPR Title: The Vines

Author: Shelley Nolden

Published by: Freiling Publishing on Mar. 23, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 391

Format: Hardcover

Source: OTRPR

Book Rating: 8.5/10

In the shadows of New York City’s North Brother Island stand the remains of a shuttered hospital and the haunting memories of quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned there by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses the enigmatic woman through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past–and his own family’s dark secrets.  Nolden skillfully intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss. 


Review:

Timely, action-packed, and supernaturally creepy!

The Vines transports you to North Brother Island, NY, from 1902 to 2008 and immerses you in all the obsession, tragedy, emotions, memories, fantastical elements, destruction, experimentation, sickness, and long-buried secrets that mars and defines the multi-generational, Gettler family.

The prose is mysterious and dark. The characters are obsessed, callous, and ruthless. And the plot told from alternating timelines is a fascinating, engrossing tale full of familial drama, heartache, tension, sacrifice, violence, and intriguing, historical medical philosophies and procedures.

Overall, The Vines is a spellbinding, atmospheric, sinister tale by Nolden that not only highlights her incredible knowledge and passion for a time and place that is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked, but also does a remarkable job of reminding us that advances in medicine has both a light and a dark side, as the power to help and heal often comes at a price.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Shelley Nolden & OTRPR for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Shelley Nolden

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Shelley Nolden is an entrepreneur and writer, now residing in Wisconsin. Previously, she lived in the New York City area, where she worked on Wall Street and first learned of North Brother Island. At the age of 31, Shelley was diagnosed with leukemia and completed treatment three years later. The sense of isolation and fear she experienced during her cancer ordeal influenced her spellbinding debut novel, THE VINES.

 

#BookReview The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers @redhookbooks @HBGCanada @BookSparks #TheLadiesoftheSecretCircus #ConstanceSayers #SPRC2021 #SpringBookScope

#BookReview The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers @redhookbooks @HBGCanada @BookSparks #TheLadiesoftheSecretCircus #ConstanceSayers #SPRC2021 #SpringBookScope Title: The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Author: Constance Sayers

Published by: Redhook Books on Mar. 17, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover

Source: HBG Canada, BookSparks

Book Rating: 8/10

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder-a world where women tame magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. But each daring feat has a cost. Bound to her family’s strange and magical circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows-until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate love affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2005: Lara Barnes is on top of the world-until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. Desperate, her search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals and sweeps her into the story of a dark circus and a generational curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations.


Review:

Rich, compelling, and mystical!

The Ladies of the Secret Circus transports you from present-day Virginia to 1920s Paris as it immerses you into the multi-generational, circus-owning Cabot family and all the powerful emotions, tragic memories, dark magic, fantastical elements, and long-buried secrets that swirl around them.

The prose is dark and mysterious. The characters are multi-layered, vulnerable, cursed, and troubled. And the plot told from alternating timelines is an ominous tale full of familial drama, heartache, tension, obsession, death, revenge, jealousy, sacrifice, sibling rivalry, and violence.

Overall, The Ladies of the Secret Circus is a spellbinding, atmospheric, romantic tale by Sayers that captivated me from the very first page and ultimately left me satisfied and highly entertained.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to HBG Canada and BookSparks for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Constance Sayers

Constance Sayers is the author of A Witch in Time and The Ladies of the Secret Circus which will be published on March 23, 2021, from Redhook (Hachette Book Group).

A finalist for Alternating Current’s 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Prose, her short stories have appeared in Souvenir and Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women as well as The Sky is a Free Country. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

She received her master of arts in English from George Mason University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She attended The Bread Loaf Writers Conference where she studied with Charles Baxter and Lauren Groff. A media executive, she’s twice been named one of the “Top 100 Media People in America” by Folio and included in their list of “Top Women in Media.”

She lives outside of Washington DC. Like her character in The Ladies of the Secret Circus, she was the host of a radio show from midnight to six.

Photo by Julie Ann Pixler.

#BookReview The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #TheMemoryCollectors #KimNeville

#BookReview The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #TheMemoryCollectors #KimNeville Title: The Memory Collectors

Author: Kim Neville

Published by: Atria Books on Mar. 16, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.


Review:

Intricate, unique, and mystifying!

The Memory Collectors is an imaginative, moving tale that takes you into the lives of two women, Evelyn, a young girl with a harrowing past who is constantly overwhelmed by the darkness and desperation that leaches from the stains objects carry, and Harriet, an elderly recluse who feeds off the positivity and lightness found in all the things that surround her. 

The writing is rich and poignant. The characters are anxious, troubled, and scarred. And the plot sweeps you away into a compelling tale of magical realism involving memories and the importance we place on all the things that remind us of them.

Overall, The Memory Collectors is an intriguing, creative, fantastical tale by Neville that is darker than I was originally expecting and could have had a slightly tighter ending but was nevertheless a thought-provoking, enjoyable read.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                  

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kim Neville

Kim Neville is an author and graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, where she found the first shiny piece of inspiration that became The Memory Collectors. When she’s not writing she can be found heron-spotting on the seawall or practicing yoga in order to keep calm. She lives near the ocean in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband, daughter, and two cats. The Memory Collectors is her first novel.

Photo by Jeremy Lim.

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