Hello everyone! I hope you are making significant progress in whatever endeavors you are currently working on. Before I begin, I do recommend that you check out my review of the first book in the series. This is also another good read for women’s history month if that is your goal. If you are interested, then let’s talk about The House with the Golden Door.
Content Warning: Discussions and Depictions of Slavery, Some Violence, Some Sexual Content, Scenes of Childbirth
After everything she has been through, Amara has finally freed herself from her life in the Wolf’s Den. She should be content with her new life but she is aware that her patron is not the man she thought he was. Amara’s past begins to catch up to her when her former master continues to pursue her. With this dangerous and cruel man threatening to destroy her life, Amara must become just as calculated and shrewd in order to maintain her freedom. Amara must learn to let go of the past, even if it hurts if she wants to secure her future as a freedwoman.
While this was a bit slower-paced than the previous novel, Elodie Harper still does an excellent job creating intrigue and worthwhile drama that will keep you hanging on. I do genuinely appreciate how complex and imperfect and sympathetic Amara and all of the other characters are portrayed. I also appreciate how the book doesn’t try to keep you hooked on sex and violence, but still uses those plot points to create a strong plot. I do have some knowledge of Ancient Rome so I greatly appreciated the accuracy that Harper imbues in her writing, particularly when it comes to the treatment of women in Rome. Overall, I thought this was a strong sequel in the well-crafted trilogy and I look forward to the third book (which is coming out later this year, I believe).
Hi everyone! I hope you are holding up as the world behaves in strange ways. If there was ever a time when things were predictable and calm, I miss that time. Anyways, I am coming to you with my first long read of this year as this book comes in at about 650 and some pages. I am also genuinely surprised I haven’t seen more buzz surrounding this book either. Hopefully, this will jumpstart a conversation since I really want someone else to experience this. With that being said, let’s talk about Ordinary Monsters.
Content Warning: Graphic Depictions of Violence, Extreme Bodily Harm, Depictions of Child Abuse, Supernatural Horror, Harsh Language, Violent Death Scenes
In Victorian-era London, a mysterious figure made of smoke is targeting children with strange abilities. Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid from Mississippi can heal from any injury inflicted on him. A gruff female detective, Alice Quicke, rescues him from an angry mob and brings him to England. While there, they find an orphaned boy named Marlowe who possesses abilities that no one has ever seen before. After being chased by the evil being made of dust, the boys come to Cairndale in Scotland, which was built for children with talents like theirs. They meet a Japanese girl named Komako who can control dust, a teen girl calling herself Ribs who can turn invisible, and a young Polish boy named Oskar who can create monsters out of flesh. Charlie, Marlowe, and the others soon learn that Cairndale is sitting over a portal between the living and the dead that is on the brink of collapse. The children must learn the limits of their powers to prevent the dead from invading the world of the living and fight the monster hunting them down.
This novel was truly a cinematic and atmospheric experience with plenty of action, magic, and intrigue throughout. I normally hesitate to read longer novels because I have run into ones that tend to have a lot of filler. J.M. Miro, however, packed. this book is to the brim with an intricate plot and plenty of interesting characters. The novel covers quite a bit of distance in time and space so Miro gives all the characters plenty of time to develop, which I greatly appreciated. I personally love dark fantasy novels and Ordinary Monsters certainly gets very dark and rather disturbing at times. Don’t let this put you off, though, as it is hard to pull away from this novel. This is certainly an intimidating book but it is so worth the read. Ordinary Monsters deserves more attention and I would highly recommend you delve into this dark fantasy.
Hi everyone and Happy Valentine’s Day! Regardless if you have a significant other, I hope you feel loved today and every day. By coincidence, I am coming to you with a romance novel review. This is the fourth book I have reviewed by Silvia Moreno – Garcia, so feel free to check my previous reviews of her books. Needless to say, I am a fan now. She does have a book coming out this year and two others that I have not gotten around to reading, so I will definitely get to those at some point. Let’s get in the mood for love and talk about The Beautiful Ones.
Antonina “Nina” Beaulieu is nervous and excited to join her cousin and his wife for the Grand Season. She is anxious to join the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most respected socialites. Nina, though, has telekinetic abilities that she struggles to control which could ruin her chances of finding a suitor. While at a party, she meets Hector Auvray, a man with similar talents who agrees to teach her to hone her abilities. Unbeknownst to Nina, Hector is trying to get closer to Valerie, the wife of Nina’s cousin whom he has never gotten over. As he teaches Nina and grows closer to her, Hector begins to realize he has feelings for Nina. When secrets begin to come to light, Hector and Nina find their budding romance in danger of being torn apart.
This was a perfectly suitable historical romance, in my opinion. It has all the hallmarks of the genre like grand balls, stolen kisses, family drama, and duels. The fantasy element is pretty weak, which is what I was looking forward to the most. I wish we got to see a little more world-building with that. but it is just kind of a minor plot device. Silvia Moreno – Garcia is still a strong writer and kept me interested throughout the whole book. It was fairly predictable, but I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. It was a good old-fashioned period piece romance that is reminiscent of books like the Bridgerton series. Though books like that aren’t necessarily to my taste, I get the appeal. With all of that being said, I’m still going to give the “go-ahead” to all of you romantics out there looking for a well-crafted love story.
Hi there everyone! January is still drab and dull as anything, but I am managing. I don’t think anyone really enjoys January anyways. I did just get my copy of Hellbent so that review will be coming in the near future. Other than that, I don’t have much else to say. Let’s talk about A Marvelous Light.
18+ Readers Only! Adult content! Separate content warning for violence and strong language
Sir Robin Blyth is doing his best to manage his parents’ estate, support his sister, and be a good businessman. A clerical error, however, put him in the position of liaison to a secret magical society. With this new world comes new dangers. Robin becomes a target for dangerous people and receives a curse for his trouble. The only person who can help him is Edwin Courcey, Robin’s reluctant counterpart. The two men delve into mystery that throws into question everything they know. As Edwin and Robin find themselves caught up in a deadly plot, more secrets are unearthed that people died to keep.
I absolutely did not think I would like this book as much as I did but this was just about everything I look for in a novel. I loved Freya Marske’s writing and there were certain lines I re-read a few times because I was just so taken aback. The narration was just so lovely at times. The magic system is interesting and I wanted to know more about the lore that Marske introduced. Also, wow, this book was so spicy! I was not expecting that but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the relationship between Robin and Edwin developed over the course of the book. (Also the spicy scenes were so good!) This book also gets major bonus points from me for being historical fiction. I feel like this review isn’t super coherent but you all know what I am getting at. You should definitely check this one out if you want a unique fantasy with a great romance.
Hello everyone! Finally, I am bringing you this review! I realize that I am very late to the “hype train” with this book, but I would say better late than never. If you are active on any social media platform with a book-centric forum, then you have definitely heard of Babel and all of its praise. The premise is so unique that I really couldn’t say no to this one. There are some heavy topics covered in the book so I will offer a content warning after this introduction. Colonialism is not an unavoidable topic by any means and I think it is important to confront that rather large portion of history in some manner. Now, let’s discuss R.F. Kuang’s Babel.
Major Trigger Warnings: Violence and Gore, Abuse, Discussions and Depictions of Racism, Discussions and Depictions of Sexism, Depictions of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
In 1828, Robin Swift is orphaned in Canton after a disease takes his family. He is soon adopted by the mysterious Professor Lovell, who begins to train Robin in various languages, such as Latin and Greek. These rigorous lessons are to prepare Robin for Oxford’s most prestigious Royal Institute of Translation – also known as Babel. There, students are trained in, not just translation, but silver – working. Silver working involves magic that can only be achieved through the power of words. This silver is what is ultimately used by Britain in its vast colonization efforts. Robin is initially enchanted by Oxford and its seemingly endless supply of knowledge. Soon, however, Robin begins to realize that his serving Oxford is an act of betrayal against his motherland. A shadowy organization, the Hermes Society, recruits Robin to stop Britain’s exploitation of colonized nations. When Britain plans to declare war on China, Robin must decided if he can change Babel or if Babel is even worth saving.
Wow. I just have to say wow. I was so afraid that this book would not live up to the hype, but it certainly did. I am no expert in colonial literary studies, but I know enough to appreciate Kuang’s beautifully crafted, yet painfully real, novel. Kuang seamlessly blends together her unique world-building with historical realities. Robin Swift is a complex and sympathetic protagonist, as are his friends. Kuang at no point tries to simplify the history of British colonialism but points out how deeply entwined it is in the lives of everyone it touches and who ultimately benefits. Her use of the power of language is incredibly profound and points out just how integral language is in the building and shaping of societies. Babel really is a carefully thought-out and exhilarating novel that you should definitely experience for yourself.
Hi everyone! I hope you are not too chilly as the winter slowly creeps its way in. I’ve just been up to the usual; reading books and listening to the same five songs over and over until I get sick of them. I have two books that I definitely want to finish before December as well as before I publish my annual favorites list. I like to think at least someone enjoys that list. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to always forget what media I have consumed by the end of the year. Anyway, that’s enough rambling for now. Let’s talk about The Lights of Prague. (Content warnings will be at the bottom).
At night, the streets of Prague are haunted by spirits and monsters of all sorts who are out for blood. Lamplighters are the ones tasked with protecting the citizens from such supernatural threats. Domek Myska has spent most of his life fighting against the pijavice, ruthless vampiric creatures. One night, Domek encounters a spirit known as the White Lady. This leads him to a will-o-the-wisp, a powerful and sentient being, that has been trapped in a strange jar. This discovery leads Domek to a conspiracy amongst the pijavice to walk in daylight and unleash terror on the world. With the help of the beautiful and mysterious Lady Ora Fischerova, Domek must race against time to stop the conspirators from using science and alchemy for their own twisted gain.
Dark and atmospheric, The Lights of Prague is a gripping historical, supernatural thriller with plenty of twists and turns. Nicole Jarvis does an excellent job of creating tension through all parts of the narrative. You don’t have to be an expert in Czech folklore to appreciate how Nicole Jarvis incorporates these stories into her novel. (I do recommend doing some research if you do read this novel. It was very interesting.) I have a soft spot for the vampire genre, particularly vampire novels set in the past. This novel nails the best parts of what makes a good vampire story, while still setting itself in a unique perspective by incorporating different folk tales. Any fan of vampire novels or supernatural stories will be sure to love The Lights of Prague.
Content Warning: Blood and Some Gore, Violence, Sexual Content, Mentions of Domestic Violence, Some Harsh Language
Hi everyone! Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it. I continue to be thankful for every book I have ever read. Some notes before I start this review: I have re-joined Tumblr since Twitter is going downhill and will also post my reviews there. If you want to, you can follow me @please-consider-me-a-dream on Tumblr. Second note, I am cheating a little bit with this review because I did watch the tv adaptation (also called The Alienist) before reading this book. I still recommend checking out the show, though; you can find it on HBO Max. There will be some trigger warnings and then we can get into The Alienist.
Trigger Warnings: Graphic Descriptions of Death, Violence, Harm Against Children, Discussion and Depiction of Sexual Assault, Discussion of Domestic Violence, Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Use of Racist and Homophobic Language, Depictions of Sex Trafficking
1896, New York City. John Schuyler Moore is a newspaper reporter who is summoned by his friend and famous psychologist, or “alienist,” Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, to view the mutilated body of a young boy found on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. When more young boys are killed in a similarly horrific manner, the two men decide to do something revolutionary to catch the killer – they create a psychological profile of the criminal based on the details of his crimes. With the help of some unlikely friends, Moore and Kreizler find themselves up against many dangerous men and must face down these threats in order to stop this murderer.
This was quite an intense and interesting mystery. My favorite thing about this novel is just how committed it was to historical accuracy, including the worst parts of history. I appreciate the honest and gritty depiction of New York City that Carr lays out in this narrative. The characters themselves are as remarkable as they are flawed in the most human ways. This is a rather long read and sometimes tends to ramble on a bit about history, so if you don’t like that then you have been warned. However, if you want an exciting and gritty historical mystery, then I am going to go ahead and recommend The Alienist, particularly if you like history regarding psychology and criminology.
Hello everyone! I hope you are all enjoy the chilly fall weather that has befallen us. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but Sleepy Hollow has been one of my favorite stories since I was kid. I loved the animated Disney version and watched that every year. Later on, I fell in love with the movie “Sleepy Hollow,” with Johnny Depp. There was a tv show, also called “Sleepy Hollow,” that I loved. I have even visited the actual town around Halloween and it was awesome. I would highly recommend a visit. Anyway, I think the story is ripe for the adaptation so, without further introduction, let’s talk about Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow.
Trigger Warning: Gore, Violence, Misogynistic Language
Ben Van Brunt, the grandchild of Brom Bones and Katrina Van Tassel, has always been fascinated with the legend of the Headless Horseman. Even though Brom insists it’s just a tale, Ben has always believed that there is magic in Sleepy Hollow, One day, while playing in the woods, Ben and a friend stumble across the gruesome sight of the headless body of a boy from the village. Ben begins to believe there is more truth to the legend of the Horseman than Brom and Katrina let on. As Ben investigates, it becomes clear that something far more sinister may be lurking in Sleepy Hollow.
This was very interesting take on the story when compared to the other adaptations I have seen of Washington Irving’s most famous ghost story. Christina Henry reshapes the tale while keeping true to many iconic aspects of it. There were certainly plenty of chilling moments along with more emotional moments that I did not initially expect. I don’t want to go on too much longer because I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything. Definitely check this one out if you want a historical horror novel with plenty of supernatural elements that are perfect if you are in the mood for something a little more on the classic side.
Hello everyone! I hope you are all getting through your TBR pile as I am. I am not going to ramble on for too long as I stayed up far too late to finish this review. If you are interested, I have reviewed two other books by Silvia Moreno – Garcia, so you are welcome to check those out. Let’s talk about her latest novel, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, a retelling of H.G. Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Carlota Moreau lives an idyllic life on a beautiful estate in the Yucatan peninsula. Under the guidance of her eccentric yet brilliant father, Carlota studies diligently and prays constantly. She is not alone on this island as she lives alongside her father’s creations: half-animal, half-human hybrids who were created to be workers. With the assistance of Montgomery Laughton, an Englishman with a dark past, their little community exists in harmony. Everything is upended when Eduardo Lizalde, the son of Moreau’s patron, comes bearing news of his father’s frustrations at Moreau’s lack of progress. Soon, secrets are brought to light that force Carlota to confront the horrifying truth about her father. Now, with the help of Montgomery and the hybrids, Carlota must take a stand and fight to protect everything she holds dear.
I really enjoyed Silvia Moreno – Garcia’s take on this rather classic tale of man trying to control nature, only to have nature fight back in some way. I appreciated the carefully woven motifs about rebellion and what family truly is. The characters are complex and seem to move through the story of their own volition. I also appreciated the feminist undertones woven throughout the novel. Moreno – Garcia does an excellent job with character development, which has been my favorite thing about her novels. If you want a novel that harkens back to classic sci-fi while also putting a new spin on the genre, then I would definitely recommend giving this novel a read. (Read her other books too. They’re really good)
Hi everyone! I hope you are doing well and thank you for continuing to read my reviews. I’ve been on a roll lately with no intention of stopping any time soon. So, in case I never told any of you, I have studied Latin for eight years in total. I fell in love with it in high school and went on to earn a minor in undergrad. In the process of learning Latin, I became fascinated with ancient Rome. With all that being said, I was naturally drawn to this particular novel set in Pompeii. Now, let’s get into The Wolf Den.
Amara began life as the beloved only daughter of a Greek doctor. When her father passed, Amara’s mother sold her into slavery in a desperate attempt to get out of poverty. Now, Amara works for the infamous brothel, the Wolf Den, run by a ruthless and cruel man named Felix. She is not completely alone though, as she has formed strong bonds with her fellow she-wolves. Amara is determined to earn her own freedom using her intelligence. When she finds the perfect opportunity, Amara can work her way up to the highest rungs of Pompeiian society. She soon discovers that everything has a cost and she must be willing to pay, one way or another.
Major content warning: the novel does contain scenes of sexual assault, self-harm, and harsh language. With that being said, this was a well-crafted and carefully-paced drama. I love the careful attention to detail that Elodie Harper puts into this novel. Historical novels can be rather tricky, but this one captures the spirit of Pompeii with great accuracy, for better or worse. Harper does handle the subject matter of women working in a brothel with care and honesty. I was initially worried that the book was going to be gratuitous with sex, but Harper does not focus on the more graphic parts. Nor does she hide the reality of what life was like for a prostitute in Ancient Rome. The female characters are fully fleshed out and complex in their own unique ways. While this novel might not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” if you are looking for a compelling historical drama with strong female leads, then I would highly recommend The Wolf Den.