#NetGalley #Book #Review of The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal #Historical #Gothic

 

Review

The Doll Factory

by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory Cover

Release date: August 13th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Doll Factory
by Elizabeth Macneal from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

a dark, atmospheric work of gothic historical fiction which chills and thrills right to the very end…”

In this debut novel from Elizabeth Macneal we get a dark, atmospheric work of gothic historical fiction which chills and thrills right to the very end.  Wonderfully written with uniquely written characters and an accurate interpretation of 1850’s London The Doll Factory takes dark unrequited love and obsession to a new level.  

 Our protagonist Iris and her sister, Rose work in a Doll shop for the cruel and intolerant Mrs Salter.  Their life is monotonous to poor Iris who finds painting dolls to be stifling especially when her true desire is to become one of the first respected female artists of the time.  Iris feels it necessary to hide her artwork from the prying eyes of Mrs Salter and her sister Rose.  Rose after being scarred severely by smallpox, becomes jealous and often cruel to her sister after she loses her fiancé due to her looks.  One day through a young street urchin, Albie, Iris meets taxidermist and curiosity shop owner, Silas. At first glance, Silas is besotted with her and his life becomes built around his disturbing obsession with Iris, creating a fantasy about her and their ‘perfect’ future together.  When Iris gets an opportunity to model and be tutored by an up and coming artist, the handsome and debonair Louis Frost, things seem to be turning around for her but Louis is distraught by the news. Louis who a client of Silas, often purchasing taxidermy animals as models for his work has treated Silas poorly, playing cruel pranks on him which Silas will not forget.  Despite being disowned by her sister and parents for choosing a profession not becoming of a lady, Iris decides to quit her job and follow her dreams. When Silas sees how closed she is becoming to Louis his obsession takes a dangerous turn. 

Very dark and disturbing this book might not be for everyone however if you can bet past certain parts it is brilliantly written with well-crafted characters and finishes off with an unexpected but satisfying ending. 
 

Wishing all a #WonderfulWeek

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”~Ray Bradbury

Wishing all a #WonderfulWeek!
Incredibly busy week ahead brimming with possibility ~ #Coffee ☕ definitely required!

#amwriting #urbanfantasy #gothic #archaeologicalmystery #researching #medievalalchemy #studying #medievalhistory #art #newsletters #creativitycoaching #photography & #bookreviews 📚

Wherever you may be in your day/eve I hope you’re working to make your fondest dreams a reality!
Live, laugh & love!❤

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#NetGalley #Book #Review Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay #Fantasy #YA

Review

Ever Alice

by H.J. Ramsay

 

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Ever Alice Cover

Published: August 1st, 2019


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay from NetGalley and Red Rogue Press

…a wonderfully whimsical and fun story inspired by Alice and Wonderland …

The author has created a brilliant and unique take on Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland. A unique plotline, quirky characters and an interesting interpretation of the characters Carroll is famous for. Ramsay creates a humourous story about 15-year-old Alice whose parents are concerned with her rantings about her friend “the white rabbit”. Her parents fear that after a near-drowning, the trauma has caused her to lose her mind and as a result commit her to an insane asylum for treatment.  Alice endures the asylum and after a while, when just on the verge of being released home, a nasty nurse exposes Alice by sharing her journal filled with rants about the white rabbit and a place called Wonderland. At a loss, the asylum staff decide to take her to see a doctor famous for curing individuals with a surgical procedure.  After seeing other patients Alice realizes this procedure isn’t going to be as easy as she is told, luckily at the direst moment, her friend the “white rabbit” appears and whisks her away to Wonderland where her adventure begins.

Filled with humour, this is a wonderfully whimsical and fun story inspired by Alice in Wonderland and although a YA novel  I would recommend to young and old alike.

#NetGalley #Book #Review of The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd by Robert Davies #fiction #memoir #mystery #paranormal

Review

Seventh Life Of Aline Lloyd Cover

The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd

Release date: July 11th, 2019

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I received a complimentary copy of The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd
by Robert Davies from NetGalley and BHC Press in order to read and give an honest review.

… In my opinion, it’s a well-written character-driven mystery which slowly unravels…

Publisher’s Description

Although not really what I expected I still enjoyed The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd. Slow-paced, this is more of a memoir told from Evan’s point of view, as we follow his life after the death of his brother and inheriting his estate in Wales.  In my opinion, it’s a well-written character-driven mystery which slowly unravels, first with Evan trying to get to the bottom of his brother Damon’s unusual and concerning behaviour before his death. Then Evan’s obsession of uncovering the truth of who Aline Lloyd really is and what secrets lie behind her intense personality seems to take centre stage.  Although it has a touch of the paranormal, basically a reincarnation story, to me it reads more like a romantic mystery. It does pick up when an elite agency chases after Aline but sadly the action is short lived.

All in all, not a bad book but I think the cover although well done, is the most misleading thing for readers. It’s dark and lends an impression of a darker more paranormal infused story.  I guess this is a good example of when a cover can be misleading and garner a negative impression on an otherwise decent story.

#NetGalley #Review The Book Knights An Arthurian Fantasy by J.G. McKenney (@jgmckenney) #Fantasy #YA

Review

The Book Knights

An Arthurian Fantasy

by J.G. McKenney

The Book Knights Cover

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Published: July 5th 2017


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Book Knights by J.G. McKenney from NetGalley and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-Op.

…a wonderfully unique plotline, compelling characters and an interesting and terrifying (reading and books are outlawed *shudders*) world! …

I absolutely loved this book! The author has created a brilliant and unique take on Arthurian legend. Filled with a wonderfully unique plotline, compelling characters and an interesting and terrifying world (where reading & books are outlawed *shudders*😲)!

The story begins with Arti, our protagonist, on the run after her parents are arrested for being readers and having a hidden library brimming with books in their home.   A neighbour has reported them and their home is raided. Hiding behind a shelf Arti barely escapes the destruction of her home and is on the run for her freedom.  Morgan Fay, the head of “The Corporation” is an acting government of sorts and has banned reading and books throughout the land. Arti is being hunted by The Flames (Fay’s enforcement officers) who will stop at nothing until they bring readers to justice. Scared, lost and on the run Arti meets a young street smart girl named Gal who helps her navigate her new life on the run.  Gal unable to read is moved and they bond when Arti introduces her to the beauty of reading.

With her world in danger and at risk of having any readers annihilated, Arti teams up with some interesting characters along the way.  She meets Merl at an abandoned Garage called “Camel-Lot” when they stumble upon his motor home hidden in one of the Bays.  Peeking in the window they notice him reading an ancient looking tome. Arti knowing he is one of “them” decides to talk to him and their lives change forever.  Merl who has been looking for the “chosen one” who can read the hidden text in the tome and is elated when he realizes there is hope for the world. One by one her knights are drawn to her. Along with Merl, Gal and Arti, Lance and Gwen join them on a crusade to restore reading to their world.

A fun fast-paced and interesting take on a classic story that I would highly recommend for young and old alike.

#Book #Review of In The Face of Adversity by Peter Martin (@pmartinauthor) #Family #Drama

Review

Face Of Adversity Cover

In The Face of Adversity

Release date: August 4th, 2019

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I received a complimentary copy of  In The Face of Adversity by Peter Martin (aka Martin Perks) from the author in order to read and give an honest review.

… a well-written, character-driven book that kept me turning the pages and feeling such a range of emotions…

Young Billy’s family is thrown into peril after his young sister passes away from cancer. Grieving, his family begins to crumble, his mother despondent, his father seeking solace in a bottle, their marriage dissolves. When things hit an impasse his mother walks out to move in with her lover, leaving young Billy and his father.  Devastated and still in love with his wife, Billy and his father wait for her to come to her senses and return. They try to keep living their life as normal as possible, but when the betrayal and loss overwhelm his father things take a turn for the worse and they end up homeless.  Out of the blue, it looks like a reconciliation might happen but with tempers flared things take a tragic turn and Billy’s life is changed forever.

We watch Billy grow up, we follow along on his journey witnessing him struggle as he tries to overcome the aftermath of his childhood. As an adult, we are in awe of what Jimmy’s accomplished but it’s not long before we see that the trauma he endured really never disappeared and that his family tragedies seem to follow him.

Mr Martin masterfully creates a tragic, heartbreaking plot with very real and multifaceted characters that drive the story, taking the reader on an all-encompassing emotional rollercoaster.

All-in-all, a well-written, character-driven book that kept me turning the pages and feeling such a range of emotions. I would definitely recommend!

#BookReview Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Romance

 

Review

Season of Storms Cover

Season of Storms

by Susanna Kearsley

Release date: June 25th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of the re-released Season of Storms
by Susanna Kearsley from NetGalley and Simon and Schuster in order to read and give an honest review.

“…gives us such a strong atmosphere, a touch of romance and a mystery that keeps the reader intrigued… “

I have been a fan of Susanna Kearsley’s work and was fortunate enough to review Bellewether last August. I was excited to get the opportunity to read and review the re-release of Season of Storms.   As usual, Ms Kearsley is brilliant at weaving intricate, emotional, character-driven, and very atmospheric plots into her novels.

In Season of Storms, we meet the young Celia Sands, a struggling actress/waitress, the daughter of a famous (infamous) actress who finally gets her big break and chance at recognition. Celia usually uses a stage name to hide the fact she is named after a 1920s starlet who mysteriously vanished. The 1920’s starlet was about to star in a play, Il Prezzo, written for her by her husband famous playwright, Galeazzo D’Ascanio when she disappeared under mysterious circumstances.  D’Ascanio, so deeply in love with his wife had created a lavish Villa with its own theatre on Lake Garda in Italy just to showcase the play.  After his death, the villa fell into disrepair until his grandson Alex decides to restore it and honour his grandfather by staging Il Prezzo with the modern day Celia Sands.  Although Celia is hesitant, the producer is a life-long friend and father-like mentor who encourages her to join him in Italy for his last play before retirement. 

As soon as they arrive at the villa it becomes apparent that something is amiss. Missing people, paranormal occurrences and family secrets drive the story to an albeit rushed yet satisfying ending.

Not the strongest of Kearsley’s work, I found I really missed her usual historical component, although present it wasn’t really as complex as her other works have been. Ms Kearsley still gives us such a strong atmosphere, a touch of romance and a mystery that keeps the reader intrigued. This story is far from fast-paced, it’s more a slow unravelling yet compelling story with unique characters and breathtaking descriptions making this a pleasurable read which I would definitely recommend.