My Rating: 5 Stars
An incredible book that was worth the time it took to read it. This is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year and also one of the biggest.
In 19th century England magic is remembered as part of a glorious past but no longer used in the present. Even so, there are those that question if magic will return and if it’s possible t bring it back. The reclusive Mr Norrell starts his journey by moving from the quietness of his home and the company of his books to London where he brings a young woman back from the dead and summons an army of ghost ships to give England an advantage on the war with France. The road to fame and glory seemed imminent until a young, handsome, charming, untrained magician makes an appearance. Jonathan Strange is the opposite of Mr Norrell and in time a battle of wits, beliefs and magic puts in motion a series of events that will change the fabric of history and unleash consequences that will remain the in memory of England forever.
A compelling story and an enchanting novel that isn’t meant to be rushed but to take time to savour.
Being a little over 1,000 pages this novel proves that Susanna Clarke not only wrote a story but she also created a unique and mesmerising world. The accurate interpretation and use of historical facts and the typical language of this period bring this novel to a league of its own, bringing characters to life and pulling in the reader until the very last page. There is a perfect balance between fantasy and historical fiction and the deep knowledge of the magic spells and myths which allows the reader to fully understand the story without getting lost in the process. In some parts of the book I thought it grew a bit tedious but then something changes in the storyline and I couldn’t put it down again.
The style of writing is beautiful, subtle and very compelling. I admire the author for the brilliant use of the typical 19th century English with all its smooth phrases and rich vocabulary and how she manages to capture the readers' attention, to engage their imagination but at the same time not losing any of the strings that build the story in a steady pace. The amount of detail is just enough to allow the reader to vividly imagine the setting, the characters and the interactions between characters. Susanna Clarke is a true word magician: she was able to create a solid plot, with no loose ends while bringing together magic, history, warfare, politics, social and domestic life. A genius of literature.
The characters are extraordinary and there is no difference between the amount of characterisation of the main and secondary characters. The depth and solidity they have are incredible, each one with its own story, beliefs, opinions, qualities and flaws. Furthermore, all the characters contribute to the story in one was or the other and it was thrilling to see how their actions, both direct and indirect, are pieces that make the puzzle come together in the end. Jonathan Strange is my favourite character. He has his flaws, like being impulsive and arrogant, but at the same time his passion, his thirst for knowledge, his passion for books and his almost obsessive need to understand the past in order to build something new are some of the features that I highly enjoyed. The relationship between Strange and Norrell was one of my favourite to read and explore throughout the novel. Going between friends and rivals, their confrontations and verbal disputes creates such a chemistry that makes the reader anxious for more direct encounters.
A great book that I recommend for the fans of stead-paced story build-up and a unique tale that will leave a long-lasting impression.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This book includes everything I enjoy in a story: a good, scary Gothic tale set in Victorian times.
The story starts with Elsie Bainbridge, a young woman that is recovering in the hospital, unable to speak about a number of murders that she’s accused of committing. Since she doesn’t speak a word, she’s advised by one of the doctors to write down her story. Elsie is a recently married and recently widowed young woman that moves to her husband’s old estate, The Bridge, in order to bury him and give birth to her child. Surrounded by her husband’s cousin Sarah and three servants, Elsie begins to realize that in the walls of the old estate dark secrets are whispered in its walls. From strange figures of children and maids painted in wooden boards which seem to watch every move and seem to never stay in their designed place, to some old diaries that described the horrific events that took place in the beginning of the Bainbridge family’s downfall, Elsie slowly begins to transform from a confident and bright young woman to a broken shell governed by nightmares of past events she doesn’t fully understand.
A creepy Gothic horror novel that left me afraid to look at the walls and the paintings of my house for too long. It’s a deeply unsettling story that I will remember for a long time as being one of the books that made me be afraid of the dark for a few nights.
The setting is perfect for me, it hold everything for this novel to be a true horror story. It takes place in 1866 in Victorian England and in an old estate that has more history than its inhabitants realize until it’s too late. The story-line is solid and all the historical facts make this novel memorable in many ways. It’s a psychological horror story that develops perfectly from beginning to end, suspenseful until the very last page. The fact that the author started with the end, the reader is fully aware from the first page that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.
The style of writing is brilliant and it creates this atmosphere of suspense within a complex plot. I’m an admirer of the authors that manage to recreate a Victorian novel with all the phrase structure and vocabulary that truly brings the reader closer to the plot and its characters. The way that Laura Purcell writes builds up the horror throughout gets the reader completely addicted to the story even if deep down they're waiting for something scary to take palce.
The characters are amazing and as mesmerizing as the plot itself. Elsie is a great character and it’s impossible for the reader not to get involved in her story and feel for her as she walks down a dark path without realizing. Her transformation from a strong woman to a depressed, hollow, traumatized, mute, full of scars character is both admirable and scary.
A brilliant, creepy novel that will scare any reader out of hers/his wits. I highly recommend this novel for the fans of the genre and of Victorian fiction.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Bloomsbury, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
I absolutely love and admire Miss Phyrne Fisher. A woman wise beyond her years with modern vision and temperament; what is there not to love?
The story starts as a murder mystery always starts: a death. A sweet, innocent fairy-story writer/illustrator is found dead. This time, Miss Fisher will jump into the world of magazine publishing and investigate deeply to find the truth. As the staff isn’t at all helpful, she works together with the police to see the matter solved and justice done. However, she is also involved in a second case, of a more personal nature. Her lover Lin Chung travelled to China a few weeks before and no one has heard from him since. In a family ruled by secrets and dark intents, will Miss Fisher be able to rescue her lover before it’s too late?
This was a deep and complex novel, just how I like them. There are two different plots in the story: the writer’s murder and the disappearance of Phyrne’s lover in China. The author did a great job in developing these two different cases in one story without them getting mixed up together or leaving loose endings. The first plot is steady-paced, very “according to the law” procedure (suspect interviews, taking evidence, analyzing patterns); but the second plot is where the juicy things happen. The tempo is a lot quicker, full of suspense and action. In addition, since it’s a more personal case, Miss Fisher works alone which makes things a lot more interesting.
The characters are memorable. I really enjoy Miss Phyrne Fisher as the main character, she is a force to be reckoned with. She has the determination of iron, she will do everything to protect the people she loves and lives by her own rules. She is a strong woman with a matching temper, not afraid to make her opinions known, to call out injustice and of breaking the rules every now and then. She is the opposite of what a woman should be back in 1928. Dot is a great companion and a lovely character too. Lin Chung is, as I imagine him, very handsome and sweet but at the same time, he hides a few secrets of his own. He’s daring and interesting which is why I enjoyed the chemistry between Phyrne and him so much.
A great read that I recommend to fans of strong female protagonists and of a great murder mystery!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Poisoned Pen Press, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
A collection of memorable short stories featuring all the Queen of Mystery’s beloved characters: Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Parker Pyne. I was very glad to find it on the shelve of my local library ready for the taking.
In this novel the titles present are:
All the stories show the brilliant mind of Agatha Christie and her great plots full of twists and hidden motives. From tales of greed, thirst for money, revenge, jealousy and betrayal, Christie covers all the themes she is famous for and does it in the style that all the fans are familiar with.
The disadvantage of the short stories is the lack of character development and the limited descriptions of the setting, but even so, Christie made it work by going straight to the point and the stories are all very engaging. Being a fan of Hercule Poirot above all the Christie’s characters, my favourite story is The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, the almost-perfect murder. I will definitely read more about Parker Pyne, he revealed himself to be a mysterious detective with a unique way of thinking that got me intrigued from the beginning.
A short collection that I recommend if you’re looking for a quick Agatha Christie read!
My Rating: 5 Stars
One of the best mystery thrillers I’ve read this year! I’m a fan of Caine’s work on The Great Library series and it was a pleasant surprise to read something so far from the fantasy world!
Gina Royal had it all: the house, the husband and her two children, completely unaware of the deadly secrets hidden behind a perfect family picture. When a car accident brings to light that her husband is a serial killer, Gina becomes Gwen Proctor, a woman on the run from accusations and internet stalkers that find her guilty of helping her husband. In desperate need to settle down, Gwen moves to the remote house of Stillhouse Lake where she thinks her children and herself will finally have some peace. That is until the body of a woman is found floating in the lake, killed with the same method Gwen’s husband used.
It’s a horrific, thrilling and suspenseful novel that had me glued to its pages, right from the first chapter. The style of writing and the very well thought plot made this novel very addictive and compelling. The feeling of paranoia is always present and the characters will share that feeling with the reader. The atmosphere builds up perfectly and every event just adds to a great climax. The novel works perfectly on the dangers of the internet and how “internet is forever”. The author describes very well the social dilemma of how the family of a criminal is easily put in the same bag even though they had nothing to do with the acts committed by that individual. People tend to forget that there is a chance they might be victims too. Also, beware: if your husband doesn’t show you his garage, maybe it’s not just his workshop after all…
The characters are well developed and very well described. Gwen is a great main character and a warrior; I was proud to read about her deeds and the demonstration of her courage. Her first priority is always her children and if she has to break the rules and moral codes to do it, so be it. It takes a lot of courage and a strong spirit to be able to do what she does in the novel. Overall, the relationships in the novel are solid, especially between Gwen and her children and Gwen and her neighbour.
A great psychological thriller that I recommend to all the fans of these genres.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Thomas & Mercer. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another page-turner! This collection keeps getting better and better, exciting and a bit sad.
After being separated and living in two different worlds, Connor and Alex try to adapt and learn as best as they can without each other. Connor, living in the real world, dedicates himself in writing fairytales and wins the chance to see the Brothers Grimm graves in Berlin. He ends discovering a mysterious clue left behind in one of their unpublished works: a warning about an enemy trapped in time and worlds. Together with his classmate Bree and Mother Goose, Connor will travel far to return to the Land of Stories and stop this new threat. Meanwhile, Alex is a fairy-in-training with few magical attempts turning out right. Can she deal with the pressure of being the next Fairy Godmother and lead the Fairy Council?
The setting is perfect as always and I really enjoyed reading the beautiful descriptions of Berlin, a city I had the pleasure of visiting before. What is really great is that there is always a new part of the Land of Stories that the reader will get acquainted with and secondary characters that we’ve read about in the first novel make a reappearance.
The plot was amazing, very imaginative. The idea of setting the French army from the Napoleon times as a villain and how exactly they end up in the Land of Stories is very well thought and very well executed. An outside enemy from the Otherworld is also a great way to unite the habitants of the magical world and to start a new path, a new era.
The characters continue to grow and it’s very enjoyable to see their transformation throughout the books. Red is still one of my favourite characters, she makes me laugh so much with her comments but I also felt for her when things took an unexpected turn. She is truly a queen at heart and by the end of the book, she grew a bit more. The additions to the story just added more spark and thrill. Bree is very much like Connor: the love for adventure, they both share the ability to see through the lies. Emmerich is sweet and innocent but has the heart of a warrior. He trusts Connor and Bree right from the beginning and jumped into an adventure that he didn’t fully understand. They make a grand team! Alex will always be a heroine for me; the way she takes on her defeats and how she takes control of things when everything gets out of hand is inspiring especially considering her young age.
A very good book just like all the others before it!
My Rating: 5 Stars
A brilliant novel! Thrilling, a bit creepy and very intriguing novel: a promising start for a new series!
Julie Hall has had a tough life: abused by her grandmother in her childhood and cursed with the ability to find dead bodies with her dousing rods, she just wants to blend in and have a normal life with her grandfather and her dog Wookie. At the same time, a serial killer is on the loose, leaving the bodies of young women behind with very little evidence. When an FBI agent called Garrett Pierce comes knocking asking for her help, Julie has to use the ability that she was raised to believe to be evil in order to prevent other killings. As the killer gets wind of Julie, Garrett vows to protect her… but will it be enough?
Grave Calling is highly engaging and addictive. The story-line is very well-developed and constructed, full of twists and turns and a perfect ending with a very unlikely killer. I really enjoyed how the author jumped from the past to the present, it was done beautifully and it was very easy to follow the story without losing myself or the details.
Julie is a great main character and a very unlikely heroine all things considered. The abuse she suffered in her childhood is heart-breaking and the fact that she still struggles with it gives her depth as a character, it makes her more real. Her past has a direct influence in the story, not only because it shapes her, but also because it emphases her struggles to deal with the killings and the bodies she finds. It was a bit agonising to read to be honest. Even so, she has no problems in speaking her mind and definitely not afraid to take on a serial killer. Garrett is a great male protagonist and he has his share of suffering and of bad memories which makes the partnership with Julie a great one, they understand and comfort each other. I really enjoyed reading about their developing relationship and their chemistry. Despite the age difference, they are great together. The secondary characters complement the story very nicely, especially Julie’s friend Katie.
This was my first read of Wendy Roberts and I highly recommend Grave Calling for the fans of cosy mysteries with a bit of spice and a lot of twists and surprises. A great thrilling read!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Carina Press. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Addictive, new and unforgettable. This novel is just as promising as its mysterious cover and I couldn’t put it down.
Grisham is Watcher, he turns into a gargoyle to get ride of fiends. When his uncle requests his help in Hidden Creek, Gris slowly begins to realise that there is more to the town than meets the eye. Piper is the exemplary teenage girl: perfect grades, popular with the boys and she is more than ready to leave Hidden Creek to go to the university. Haunted by nightmares and dealing with OCD, her life doesn’t get any easier, especially after the brutal murder of her dog Jester. Piper joins forces with Gris and together they try to solve the unexplained events that haunt the small town. From murder of animals to disappearances and grave robberies, nothing and no one are what they seem.
I got completely addicted to this book: the characters, the setting, the reality and the build-up of the mystery. The whole idea of gargoyles and fiends is brilliant and it was refreshing to read something a bit different when it comes to the YA genre. I also really enjoyed the mentioning of more sensitive topics like OCD and self-harm; it’s a way of showing the reality and the obstacles people with these issues have to go through every day. And the best part? It’s done brilliantly. This novel mixes romance with mystery and supernatural in a unique way and it was impossible not to be pulled into the story and its characters.
I really enjoyed the setting of the story: Hidden Creek. Right from the beginning, the atmosphere around it, I could feel that there was something more about this town and it definitely set the mood for the rest of the novel.
The characters are very well-developed and they are unique in their own way. It’s impossible not to like them and to truly feel for them. I completely connected with them. It’s impossible not to like Piper: she is perfectly imperfect and that’s refreshing. She struggles with accepting herself but at the same time she’s beautiful, incredibly stubborn, honest and spontaneous. Reading about her burst of happiness and excitement, made me feel excited for her. Her knowledge on people and her gift to detect lies is brilliant to read as well as her connection with Gris. I think they perfectly balance each other out. Gris is an amazing male protagonist: even though he is a gargoyle, he feels deeply and struggles to accept what he is, something he has in common with Piper.. He is head-strong, very loyal and always whiling to help. I absolutely loved the chemistry he has with Piper, they are perfect for one another.
Overall, a great read that I recommend to all the fans of supernatural YA. This is definitely a book that I get my hands on as soon as it comes out!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Entangled Teen, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This was the first mystery novel I have read involving medicine and organ transplant. I’m really glad I got to have this first experience with Cut by Amy Peele. This serves as a reminder that we should always try new things!
Sarah Golden is a renowned transplant nurse and her life runs smoothly, until she uncovers a very dangerous game being played at the hospital. When bodies start piling up, Sarah turns to her crazy best friend Jackie Larsen, former nurse and a stay at-home mom, to dig further into the matter. What they find is a deadly game: rich and powerful people are buying their way up to the transplant list, getting rid of “problems” as they come, being very careful not to leave any traces. Can they bring down this network or will they be “erased” too?
I was instantly curious about the title and the plot of the story, but I wasn’t expecting being completely taken by the story and for it to be impossible to put down! Wow!
First of all, the novel is very well researched: the details of the medical community, the transplant procedures and the nursing routines are full of detail. I can see that the author has a background in nursing and the knowledge that makes these details more personal than taken out of a medical book.
The story-line is fast paced, full of twists, suspense and humour. Peele ’s managed to create a novel that is perfectly balanced in terms of plot. There is plenty of suspense and action but also a spark of witty conversations and humour that readers with crazy friends will understand very well.
I loved the relationship and the dynamics between Sarah and Jackie. What a chemistry they have! I expected their verbal confrontations with enthusiasm. Sarah is a strong woman that isn’t afraid to put herself out there to help people and do the right thing. I felt that she took a bit more the part of main character since she is the one that first realizes something is amiss in the hospital and the waiting list. She is a very likeable character, very human. Jackie, the other main character, has her own unique shine that complements Sarah very well. Jackie is a great character and her love for her family is a breath of fresh air in the middle of all the craziness. Her nursing background also comes in handy and their partnership and friendship made me smile several times throughout the novel. As for other characters: handsome Sergio with a long line of women behind him despite his cold attitude and his partner Amanda. I think they make the plot a bit more interesting and of course they are the obvious targets of suspicion and investigation. But are they really guilty?
I thoroughly enjoyed this reading, I grew addicted to it and it was impossible to put down. I wait in anticipation for Ms. Peele ’s next novel! I highly recommend it to fans of mysteries.
I want to thank the publicist Kris Verdeck and the author Amy Peele for reaching out and allowing me to review this novel.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was my first time reading a book from Leigh Russell and consequently the thrilling adventures of Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel. I’ll definitely take a look at the previous novels though because this was one amazing and memorable read.
Geraldine is going through hard times. When she finally had her feet on the ground, her twin sister Helena enters her life and proves that the relationship between siblings can be very complicated. As if that wasn’t enough, the Detective Inspector has to find the responsible for the murder of a young woman found in a trash bin before he strikes again. Will she be able to manage her professional and personal life without losing her career and her life?
Even though I didn’t read the previous novels, I still got a good grip of the story and the characters, so I can say that it can be read as a stand-alone.
The story-line of the novel is very solid and very well developed. The murder story is very well structured and it builds up very nicely. One of the things I love the most in this type of story is how in the end everything comes together, like a puzzle. It’s very satisfactory!
The combination between the personal life of Geraldine and the murder investigation was the “cherry on the cake”: the two realities give depth to her character and it’s impossible not to sympathise with her, her internal conflicts and the way she tries to deal with her problematic sister. The effort she puts into coordinate everything is both tiring and admirable and it serves as a reminder that members of the criminal justice system have their own problems and sometimes difficult choices to make.
I will definitely be reading more of Leigh Russell and I’m very curious to see what comes next in the life of Geraldine Steel.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher No Exit Press, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.