ARC Review: The Lost History of Dreams

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Title: The lost history of dreams

Author: Kris Waldherr

Genre: adult historical fiction, mystery, gothic.

Editor: Atria Books

Pages: 320

Publication date: April 9th 2019

Goodreads Rating: 4,44

My Rating: 4

Trigger warning: corpse, memento mori, mentions of death, blood, death of animals, violence, s*x scenes.

Add on: Goodreads, Amazon.

Synopsis:

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh’s remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne’s last book, The Lost History of Dreams.
However, Ada’s grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle’s story of Ada and Hugh’s ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.
As the mystery of Ada and Hugh’s relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert’s own marriage—including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn’t—things from beyond the grave.
Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.

Review:

This had the potential to be my fave read of the year, no, my fave read of all the time.

It has everything I’m searching in a book: a creepy beginning set in a past era; a tormented main character; the mention of the post mortem photography; a lonely house in the moor; ghosts that haunt people and houses; a tragic love story; a dark and gothic atmosphere.

I love it so much.

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I was reading this in total darkness (tablet in night mode), and it gave me chills. I also had a couple of nightmares during my reading. If you are easily scared, this book is not for you!

But everyone knows that all good things come to an end, and the end for this book it’s literally the ending: it has ruined pretty much everything.

The beginning is amazing, the plot is really well done and it develops with a lot of twists, there a lot of characters and a lot of locations to memorize, but everything is so captivating and I was on the edge of my seat at least a couple of times.

Robert is an interesting main character, Isabelle is a little annoying with her obsession for Ada, but we want to know what’s inside the Ada’s Folly.

There are a couple of scenes during the entire book that doesn’t suit well: one is involving the death of many animals, and I really don’t like it. My main issue is the ending: I love when there are plot twist, and I love when a book is unpredictable, but the Lost History of Dreams is a traitor. All the pieces of evidence, the tales about Ada, the scenes involving Isabelle led the reader to a certain type of ending, or at least, that was for me.

No, we don’t have what we expected: a glorious horror ending. We have however a romance style ending that has let me in tears not for her magnificent, but because it has broken all my expectations and has ruined my love for this book.

 

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That was literally my reaction.

Also, I really don’t like s*x scenes throw like that, when they are not necessary. I don’t think that only because a book is labelled “adult” it means you can write weird adult scenes involving (enlight the rest of the phrase) make s*x on the floor of a chapel with your dead aunt next to you. This is a no-no for me.

 

The ending in my head was better that that.

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The ABC Book challenge (F)

Hello! How’s everyone doing?

The challenge is to post some books that I loved and some books that are still on my TBR (please TBR, don’t hurt me), corresponding to each letter of the alphabet.

Personally, I found this challenge on A Book. A Thought. Go and check this great blog!

Please remember that maybe some books will be in Italian. I will write the English title too.

The ABC Book Challenge (A)

The ABC Book Challenge (B)

The ABC Book Challenge (C)

The ABC Book Challenge (D)

The ABC Book Challenge (E)

Memorable books:

Il figlio del cimitero (The graveyard book) by Neil Gaiman: how deliciously creepy is this book? One of my fave by Gaiman!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: this was the first book that I ordered from BookDepository, and the first book I read in English.

Few are chosen by Storm Grant: an M/M fantasy book full of dark humour. Love it.

Flights and chimes and mysterious times by Emma Trevayne: this is one of the best Steampunk books I ever read. And the cover is a piece of art.

To be read books:

I’m so in love with the cover of The Flaw in all magic, and The five seems so interesting!

What are you thinking of these books? Have you read some of them? Recommendations?

Books with the lowest rating on my TBR

Hello readers! Today I’m here to show you the books on my TBR with the lowest rating, and to answer an important question: Am I still interested in reading it?

Here are the books:

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Unusually quiet people: I found it on Amazon for free a couple of years ago. I don’t know, I like the creepy cover, what do you think?

Son Goku: well, that’s a surprise. Son Goku it’s the original (or a part) of the legend of Saiyuki, the journey to the west, and I added it because I’m obsessed with the Kazuya Minekura’s manga series.

Il vangelo dei vampiri (beware the leaven): I decided to say bye bye to this book. It has a really low rating, I’m not interested in vampire stories anymore, and my pet rats have ruined the cover. Oh well, I can survive without this book.

The battle of life: this is Dickens. And I already own a physical copy. It’s just 100 pages long, so I can manage it.

Zombie boy: press start: I received it for free through Instafreebie. It doesn’t sound that bad, plus I need a Z title for my A to Z reading challenge.

 

What are you thinking of these books?

Have you read some of them? Do you have books on your TBR with a lower rating than these?

Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

ARC review: The Raven’s Tale, by Cat Winters

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Title: The Raven’s Tale

Author: Cat Winters

Genre: historical fiction, gothic, young adult

Pages: 368

Publication date: April 16th 2019

Goodreads rating: 3.66

My Rating: 4

Trigger warning: death, blood, ghosts, violence

Add on: Goodreads, Amazon

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”

 

Review:

“Give me a name that means “light”, not shadow, and we may be able to show them there’s beauty in horror.”

I’m very emotional because this is the first ARC that I got approved on Edelweiss! And it’s from one of my favourite authors!

The cover is amazing, and shows perfectly the character of Lenore, Edgar’s muse.

Let me say this: Cat Winters is fantastic writing gothic and horror books. She has a talent to let you fall into the story.

In The Raven’s tale, I completely fell in love with Lenore from the very first time she appears on the page.

However, this is not the best Winter’s book, and that’s why: we understand that it’s made for a younger audience, so the writing style is lighter and easier to read; we read of the conflict of young Edgar, who want to be a student in a prestigious university but it’s attracted to this dark and frightening Muse; we also participate in his success and his failures, but in the end we know that he has indulged in the horror tales that Lenore inspires him.

I comprehend that with this story we know more about the young Poe, about his family and what in the world inspires him to write, but in the end I was like: well, he’s known to everyone for his horror tales, so I already know that he will follow Lenore, no matter what.

“There’s nothing wrong with tales of fright and horror told late at night. They make your listeners appreciate waking up in the morning, discovering they’re still alive.”

But the most disappointing thing in this book is the ending: I honestly thought it will be another chapter but no, it finishes like this, with a scene that seems to lead to a great revelation and a great scene of Lenore and in fact it ends with nothing.

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I was also disappointed because in the ending that’s not a reference or a connection to the most famous poem of Poe, The Raven. With a horror muse that resembles a raven, and with this title, I was eager to read a scene when Edgar writes the poem with Lenore on his shoulder.

To conclude this review: the setting and the characters are all well done, we know better about Poe, but this is really far away from the first and still best book of Cat Winters “In the shadow of blackbirds”.

All the quotes are from my ARC copy, that I received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Wrap up: February 2019

Hello readers, how was your reading month?

Mine was a little disappointing, I DNF one book and I had the worst delusion ever from an author I usually like so much: “SecondHand souls” was so bland I almost cried.

In February I read a total of 9 books, 3 in Italian.

5 beautiful and shiny stars:

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I love this cover so much. And the story is just…magic.

4 stars:

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Beautiful cover, haunting story, disappointing ending.

3 stars:

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A historical/romance with a predictable plot.

2,5 stars:

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Funny male character, but OMG, I hated Veronica.

1 lonely star:

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This book is so bad.

DNF:

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Sorry, but it seems that Urban Fantasy it’s not my cup of tea.

 

Have you read one of these books? What’s your favourite cover? I think mine is The Nowhere Emporium!

Birthday Book Tag

Hello everyone, today it’s my birthday!

As a serious and responsible adult, today I will do the same things that I do every day, plus cake. Oh, and I ordered a few books on BookDepo.

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I found this tag on A book. A thought. Please go and check this great blog!

Count your birth day along your bookshelf and then subtract your birth month.
What book does it land on?

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It depends, because I have a lot of little bookshelves everywhere in my house. But on the main one, this is the book it lands on.

If You Could Spend Your Birthday With Any Fictional Character Who Would It Be and Why?

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I tend to gravitate between a few books and characters, so this time I will choose an underrated main character: no, it’s not a Victorian gothic Draco Malfoy but it’s The Necromancer Johannes Cabal. He’s a great character with an impeccable sense of fashion. In the first book he doesn’t have a soul, but nobody’s perfect.

Find A Book That Takes Place In The Season You Were Born In

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The bronze horseman, or The Winter’s knight as in the Italian translation. I didn’t read it yet, but I hope it takes place in winter.

Find A Book That Is The Color of Your Birthstone

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Amethyst is my birthstone, and purple is also my favourite colour!

Is there a series with the same number of books as your age? If so what is it?

With this question, you really want to know our age, right? No, I don’t think there’s a series with *cough* 32 *cough* books. But if you know it, please tell me!

Pick a Book Set in a Time Period, World or Country You’d Like to Have Been Born In

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A Victorian Steampunk London for me it’s the best choice.

And that’s all! Hope you like my answers! Bye!

Just one damned awful book: a review

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Title: Just one damned thing after another

Author: Jodi Taylor

Genre: science fiction, time travel

Pages: 322

Publisher: Night Shade

Goodreads rating: 3.89

My rating: 1

Trigger Warning: sexual assault, s*x scenes, death, blood, war, curse words.

Synopsis:

“History is just one damned thing after another.” —Arnold Toynbee
Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.
The first thing you learn on the job at St. Mary’s is that one wrong move and history will fight back—sometimes in particularly nasty ways. But, as new recruit Madeleine Maxwell soon discovers, it’s not only history they’re often fighting.
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Max and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea.
From eleventh-century London to World War I, from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, one thing is for sure: wherever the historians at St. Mary’s go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake.

Review with spoiler:

This is one of the worst books I ever read, and one of the most stupid. I wasn’t thinking that for the first 4 or 5 chapters: it wasn’t a well-written story, and all the characters were acting like a teen, but the idea behind the story was interesting, and I found myself reading out of curiosity.

But then I began to see the fall of the plot: the basic rule in every story about time travel is “do not change the past”, but this rule doesn’t apply to our MC. All the science fiction parts of this book are done approximately, and we read this story like: ok that doesn’t make sense.

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The historian of the St. Mary institute are sent to the past just to observe the situation but:

  1. They died. A lot.
  2. Our MC saves a couple of lives during WWI and nobody cares.
  3. And the future doesn’t change!
  4. They didn’t send the historian to the period he/she has a degree, they send them randomly.
  5. We really need to talk about the final exam.
  6. Like she’s just drinking tea and has done nothing and she has passed the exam.
  7. They are sent in a dangerous era without weapons.

These are some of the things that I found stupid in this book, but nothing compares to the s*x scene randomly placed after a car accident. So they are like friends, he’s driving a car, she makes a dirty joke and he BAM, crush the car against a tree. He calls for help, then “take off your clothes and we make it on the car that is destroyed.” I was–>tumblr_omule3fwZC1w1swfno1_250

really, that books keep goes worse every page you turn.

The characters are all historian with degrees in a specific era and they act like teenagers; the plot behind the time travel is so bad I want to cry; the sexual scenes and assault are totally amiss; even the parts in the past are annoying.

The writing style is very elementary, the dialogue is so bland.

There’s nothing except the cover that I will save about this book.  I’m sorry. Please don’t be offended if you liked it, this is only my opinion.

 

When translation goes wrong: Eng vs Ita #3

Hello and welcome back to this meme that I created, in which I compare the original english title (and cover), with the translated one.

The previous post:

When translation goes wrong: Fortunately, the milk

When translation goes wrong: The martian

This time I will show you a thriller that I read in December 2018, and it became one of my fave reads of the year:

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

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I really like this cover, it’s pretty simple but it’s perfect for a crime/thriller book.

And then the Italian cover and title:

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Franly speaking, I love this cover. I have on my bookshelves three or four books with a character on the cover, surrounded by the fog. It seems to be a leitmotiv.

But can we talk for a moment about this title?

The man who hated Sherlock Holmes? Really?

This book has waited on my TBR for years, because of this title. Why I have to read this book, when I already know that was Conan Doyle the man who hated Holmes?

The cover blurb says also: The last enigma for the greatest detective of all the time. But it wasn’t Holmes who investigate, it was Conan Doyle. tumblr_o6livvg8i11rzd9pfo1_500

In fact, it’s a really good book, especially for the parts sets in the past. The couple of detectives Conan Doyle/Stoker is really funny, and the mystery is well articulated.

I recommend it if you like historical crime/thriller, or are a fan of Conan Doyle’s work.

Have you read this book? Which covers is your fave?

 

 

 

ARC review: All That Remains

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Title: All that remains

Author: Sue Black

Genre: nonfiction, biography, medical

Editor: Arcade

Pages: 360

Expected publication: March 5th 2019

Trigger Warning: death, blood, corpses, medical examinations, violence

Add on: Goodreads, Amazon

Goodreads rating: 4,43

My rating: 4,75/5

Summary:

Dame Sue Black is an internationally renowned forensic anthropologist and human anatomist. She has lived her life eye to eye with the Grim Reaper, and she writes vividly about it in this book, which is part primer on the basics of identifying human remains, part frank memoir of a woman whose first paying job as a schoolgirl was to apprentice in a butcher shop, and part no-nonsense but deeply humane introduction to the reality of death in our lives. It is a treat for CSI junkies, murder mystery and thriller readers, and anyone seeking a clear-eyed guide to a subject that touches us all.
Cutting through hype, romanticism, and clichè, she recounts her first dissection; her own first acquaintance with a loved one’s death; the mortal remains in her lab and at burial sites as well as scenes of violence, murder, and criminal dismemberment; and about investigating mass fatalities due to war, accident, or natural disaster, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She uses key cases to reveal how forensic science has developed and what her work has taught her about human nature.

Review:

After the mini-reviews of 2 nonfiction books about an asylum and murderers, here it is a review of a biography/nonfiction book about death. Well done Diana! I have to say, this book is really fantastic!

I found it on Edelweiss and it was free to download for everyone. If you are interested in the subject (not only death, but anatomy too), you really need to read this book.

“What makes us human? One of my favourite definitions is: Humans belong to the group of conscious beings that are carbon-based, solar system dependent, limited in knowledge, prone to error and mortal.”

Dame Sue Black writes about medical and anatomical things but it’s not difficult to comprehend, and she melts accurately with some dark humour and even memories from her past and her family, so it’s not a book totally focused on death.

In fact, the part that I enjoyed the most is the chapter who explains how the human body is formed when we are a fetus. And alongside with that, I totally enjoyed these medical facts and “rules” (like the rules of 3 for surviving) and I even memorized them!

But please pay attention: it’s not a book suitable for children or sensible readers.

I truly learned a lot about humans, anatomy, death and grief thanks to this book, and thanks to the author too. My mum hopes they translate it in Italian so she can read it too!

So why it wasn’t a full 5 stars rating? Because one chapter is really gross and difficult, and, in my humble opinion, not to be included in a book for masses (It’s a spoiler, if you want to read it, highlight the following phrases): a chapter is dedicated to the best instruments, techniques and locations for dissecting corpses if you want to get rid off of them. I totally understand that this is a book about death and murders too, but I really don’t want to know where is better to cut a leg with a chainsaw, or if the shower is better than the floor to wash away the blood. Seems like a manual for serial killers, and definitely not good to put in a book.

*all the quotes are from the ARC copies. I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review.

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

Wrap Up: January 2019

Hello! And January is gone!

How was your reading month? I read a total of 9 books, 1 in Italian and 1 DNF. From this month I decided to change a little this meme, so I divide the books for their rating.

Almost 5 stars:

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All that remains by Sue Black is definitely the best book of January, but it doesn’t win a 5 stars rating. You can read why in my review, I will post it in a couple of days, I promise.

4 Stars:

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Norse mythology by Neil Gaiman: I listened to the audiobook version, and it’s wonderful.

3 Stars:

If I’m honest, I liked more Fairy Eyeglasses than Hunting Prince Dracula. It was my last attempt with the series by Kerri Maniscalco, I don’t want to read the next one.

2 stars:

Hello, it’s me, always disliking the superhyped books. Vengeance Road was a little meh for me, but I love the cover. Dolly was just really boring and disappointing, and I decided to give up with all the Susan Hill’s books.

1 star:

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You’ve already read my review of Bedlam, right? So disappointing.

DNF:

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My first DNF of the year: as I write in my review, I can’t stand it anymore. And I started thinking that retellings aren’t a genre for me.

And that’s all! I wish a happy reading month to all of you!