Quick Review(again): The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Magical, enchanting and fantastical!

I’ve heard lots of people talking about this book since it released last year, especially Urania. And I know it’s already been reviewed, but I just had to shout it’s praises for myself. To be honest, The Bear and the Nightingale didn’t seem like something I’d like, since I mostly read romance, but it was always in the back of my mind. When I decided to start a book club, this book was one of the books I was hoping we’d get to read this winter. So for our December book we chose this. I just finished reading it and I can’t believe I waited so long. Seriously.

“All my life, I have been told to ‘go’ and ‘come’. I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed to me.”

That quote pretty much sums up the reason I loved Vasya. She is done waiting and sets out to do something for herself.

I can’t put my finger on why I loved this book. Perhaps it’s the Russian folklore aspect. Or maybe the odd characters. Or it may be that I can tell that there’s more epicness coming and that’s what made it such a page turner. Not sure, but this is definitely in my top 10 of this year. I can’t recommend it enough.

And now I need to read book two. I need to know what happens next!!

~Melpomene

Buy The Bear and the Nightingale https://amzn.to/2L6qBbL

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Review: The Paris Secret by Lily Graham

This is my absolute favorite kind of story. Historical fiction, a bit of mystery, and a sprinkling of romance all rolled into one. Bonus points to this one for being set in a bookstore.

When Valerie returns to Paris to take on a job at a bookstore, she has one goal in mind – find out the truth about what happened to her parents. You see, her grandfather Vincent owns the bookstore. Of course he has no idea he’s hiring his granddaughter. He does, however, take an immediate liking to Valerie despite his gruff demeanor.

Slowly but surely, she begins to put together the pieces of a puzzle. This puzzle will tell the story of her childhood and why she was sent away at such a young age. But it’s a painful story to tell with more secrets than she’s expecting to learn.

Such a great, great story. I adore historical fiction set in this era. And this one has such a heartbreaking family component to it that I just couldn’t put it down. A definite winner!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Paris Secret

Review: The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

“I would’ve looked twice at you,” he said. “Then. Now. In any lifetime, and under the brightest of skies.”

Mia Sheridan does it again. The Wish Collector is a story about love, history and curses. The setting is New Orleans with all it’s magic and mysteries swirling about. From the very first page I was swept up into this story. The scenes were ripe with excitement and angst. And with the ghosts from the past they make this story even more mysterious.

Jonah made some wrong choices in his past that drastically changed his future and believes himself unworthy of forgiveness. He remains behind the walls of his home and keeps everyone a part from him. That is until one girl starts showing up at his wall and slowly starts to chisel away at his heart.

He looks like a man who’s been terribly hurt by the world and believes there is nothing left to love about him anymore.

Clara is new to New Orleans and discovers there’s a mystery behind the walls of Windisle plantation. When she goes there to see if she can uncover the truth she finds that there’s more than just ghosts haunting this plantation. Jonah is hiding from his past but she won’t let him. While trying to learn more about Windisle she learns what happened to Jonah and is determined to help him discover his past.

I loved Clara. She’s this tiny ballet dancer but has a fierceness about her. She won’t give up. Jonah is scarred inside and out and she’s the balm that’s needed for healing. When he finally accepts that there’s more he can do besides stalking behind his walls, the world better watch out. Jonah is ready to change it and make it better.

He was beauty and pain, glory and suffering, vengeance and grace, and all the things made stronger and more meaningful because they have an opposite.

~Melpomene
Buy The Wish Collector https://amzn.to/2ztKSU2

Review: Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webbk

Sometimes you just need a good ghost story. Something slightly spooky without being over the top, something that’ll give you a touch of the goosebumps. This story by Wendy Webb does just that.

After her marriage ends badly, Kate returns home to recover. Peace and quiet, time to reflect, is just what she needs. Those thoughts are tossed aside when a body washes ashore near the family home. And it’s not just any body. Kate recognizes the woman. She knows her, not from real life but from her dreams. How does one explain this to the authorities, though? Especially since Kate herself is somewhat of a suspect.

With the help of her cousin, Simon, Kate begins to dig deeper into the mystery of the dead woman. As she uncovers more and more of her family’s past, she finds secrets she’s not prepared to confront. And some of these secrets are a danger to her.

This was a really good story, better than I expected it to be. Part murder mystery, part historical fiction, part ghost story, it has a bit of everything!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Daughters of the Lake

Review: The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The saga continues! Siblings Hetty and Henry love their home on Nantucket, but it all goes topsy turvy when their stern grandmother leaves them her fortune upon her passing – with stipulations, of course.

It was fun to read about how Henry and Hitty wanted to spend their inheritance – and eye opening to watch progress create division among the islanders. I also enjoyed watching that progress – from muddy paths to cobblestone streets, from no safety protocols to lightships and fire supplies. As usual for the Nantucket Legacy books in this series, I learned a few things about the Quaker religion, and how non-Quakers were drawn in to the light and spirituality they saw in the Friends.

My favorite parts of the book were the tender moments between couples who didn’t even consider themselves couples – but as the reader I could see the love between them.

Engaging and entertaining historical fiction, with comedy, tragedy, and a happily ever after.

-calliope

Buy THE LIGHT BEFORE DAY

Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

** minor spoiler alert ** Oh boy…I almost stopped reading this book and didn’t get past my annoyance until about 35%. I’m thankful I stuck with it, but honestly, the parents and the way they were portrayed almost did my head in. I am still considering going back and forth each day and bumping my review back and forth from a 1 star to a 5 star. I just do not believe any person would act like these parents did. I can understand their lack of affection. Even how they seemed to not even want a child in the first place. I can even understand them being neglectful and seemingly uninterested. However, I still can’t believe that anyone would talk as they did (example – show up at a police station after your 14-year-old has just been part of a kidnapping, continually interrupting a police officer to correct him that it’s not your real child but an adopted child and then after doing that several times, interrupting him once again to explain how you wouldn’t mind “doing” a member of the royal family even if she was older than the normal type you liked, all the while never once showing any concern over the kidnapping). You have not only the father acting like this, but the mother as well.

I just found myself not finding these portrayals in any way true to life and it made me want to quit the entire book. I really don’t understand why they were portrayed as such. It would not have changed the book at all to have them as ‘normal’ disinterested, neglectful, self-centred people.

Once the story moved on from the parents (for the most part) I loved every word. I’ve read other novels that have tried to explain the sexual environments in the past to not be completely shocked by the horrors I read in this book. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t angry. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel for the characters in this book. I have to say that, unlike some others, I 100% felt that I saw the reasoning behind Cyril’s choices and the paths he decided to take.

But damn, I was so angry. Life is so fucking unfair (as quoted a few times in this novel).

I just don’t know. I didn’t cry at all during the reading of this novel, but I sure wanted to time and time again. For whatever reasons I was reminded time and time again of Patrick Gale’s ‘A Place Called Winter’. Two totally different stories, but both made me ache with loneliness and despair at the unfairness of so much…Both are books which I found almost poetic in the writing style and absolutely hauntingly beautiful in both word and story

There is so much of me that wishes I could say this book was just over the top with bad things happening. That one thing after another happened to Cyril and it was just too much to be believed. But I can’t. It all felt so genuine. Hence why my heart is broken when I read books like this…and I want to cry, not just for the characters, but for myself…and all of humanity…so many people just have to make other’s miserable no matter that it’s nothing to do with them… #loveislove

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Quick Review: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

I love Christmas. And when you combine that with historical romance, it’s a match made in heaven.

I loved watching Daffin and Regina. They had this connection, from the first time they met, but never acted on it. And when they meet up again it’s under rather embarrassing circumstances that was awkward to watch. But true love has a way of working through embarrassments and making all things right.

I am fairly new to this series. It’s quite fun that these stories are interconnected standalones. Seeing past characters join in make the stories much more enjoyable. And of course when the men step in, to put things to right, it makes me smile.

I can’t wait to read the next book!

~Melpomene

Buy Kiss Me at Christmas https://amzn.to/2z6kIqz