Senza categoria

ARC Review: The women of Blackmouth Street

Title: The women of Blackmouth Street

Author: Thea Sutton

Pages: 244

Publication date: September 29th, 2021

Genre: historical fiction, crime, adult.

Goodreads rating: 4.06/5

My rating: 2/5

Trigger warning: graphic description of murders, corpses, blood, mental illness, asylum, torture, s*x.

Synopsis:

A gifted psychologist is forced to hunt a serial killer or risk having a dark chapter of her past exposed—but her mission may mark her as the next victim…
1890’s London. Strong-willed Georgia Buchanan, a mind doctor and heiress, spends her time with the mad, the bad, and devils incarnate, armed only with her expert understanding of the human psyche.
But when her young, high-profile patient unexpectedly commits suicide, Georgia leaves Boston under a cloud of guilt. Lured to London’s notorious Bedlam asylum, she’s trapped by a vengeful detective and a dangerous anarchist—who know too much about her—into tracking a serial killer of women in the city’s East End.
As Georgia struggles to prevent more women from meeting a violent end, her own secrets and closest ties are stripped bare… With her Harvard mentor, William James, and his sister. With her wealthy, scandalous father. With a troubled patient. All the while the city’s streets reel with carnage and social unrest. Alone and questioning her abilities as the killer closes in, Georgia has one last chance to save the innocent before she confronts the most devastating truth yet.

Review:

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Thanks to BookSirens and the author for an ARC of this book.


Was it a retelling of the murders of Jack The Ripper? Because the murders are very similar, and the victim’s name too, also the locations of the crime, so if you are interested in this particular episode of history, you will easily be deduced how the murders occurred and the wounds on the victims.
It’s also set in 1890, so just 2 years after the real murders, but Jack isn’t mentioned, so nothing happened in this alternative version of London.
I was confused also by the treatment received by the female main character: why most of the male characters are treating her so badly, so rude, and menacing?
We have two male characters who ask for the help of Georgia, but constantly judging and mistreating her, but when in trouble, one of them calls Georgia to help him and his family, deciding later to host her in his home with his wife and children. I was like, WTF?


It wasn’t pleasing to read, it made me sad and I didn’t understand it. Probably it was more historically accurate to a lot of historical fiction where women can do everything and go everywhere they want, but I don’t want to be sad when I read something, except if I know it’s a sad story on purpose.


I appreciated the writing style and the MC, but in conclusion, I think this was like a female retelling of Jack The Ripper that nobody needed.

Senza categoria

ARC Review: Constantine Capers, the Pennington Perplexity

Title: Constantine Capers: The Pennington perplexity

Author: Natalie Brianne

Expected publication: March 16th 2021

Genre: historical fiction, crime, romance, steampunk.

Trigger warning: death, memory loss, kidnapping, violence, blood.

Add on: Goodreads

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

My rating: 5/5

Summary:

You wouldn’t expect a detective with Sherlockian deductive skills to have amnesia, but Byron Constantine is hardly the detective you’d expect.

London 1888

Aspiring artist Mira Blayse isn’t concerned with upper-tier society or conforming to Victorian expectations—she has a murder to solve. At least, she thinks it was murder. Her parents’ deaths in 1870 couldn’t have been by accident, but the more she investigates, the less she seems to find. Sitting at a café, she sketches a mysterious stranger, not realizing that she’s penciling in the features of the man who will help her solve the case once and for all.

Byron Constantine lives day-to-day, desperately trying to hold onto his memories, only for them to slip through his fingers. Some days, he doesn’t even know that he’s lost four years of his life. As he manages to continue his work as a private detective, he realizes that maybe he doesn’t need his memory after all. That is until he wants to remember Mira Blayse.

With her keen eye for detail and his remarkable deductive skills, the two become entangled in a criminal investigation. As they uncover the secrets of the past, they must work together to stop history from repeating itself again.

Review:

I absolutely adored this book! I usually like historical crime fiction, so I was expecting to enjoy it, but in the end I was totally in love with the characters, in particular with Byron Constantine, the male MC. It’s unusual for me to fell in love with a character like this, but believe me, even if he has memory loss, Byron is a gentleman, kind and honest soul. He is protective and attentive to Mira, and he worries for her cat, Nero, all alone at home without food.

As an owner of a black cat too (Hello Kiki!) I found lovely and admirable to integrate so much Nero in the plot. So basically, everytime Nero or Byron where on the scene I was like this:


Even if I’m not good at drawing, I instantly feel a connection with Mira too, the female MC, with her personality, her strenght and her independence!
The mystery is well developed, captivating and intense, but the strong part of this book, for me, is about the characters.
All of them are well described, with a unique voice. You can tell the difference between them even from the dialogues, as it will always be, as it is in the real world.

The historical part, and even the fantasy/steampunk one is well researched. It’s set in 1888, so my weird part obsessed with Jack The Ripper is satisfied too.
I totally recommend this book to all the historical fiction lovers! And I can’t wait for a new installment!
Thanks a lot to Natalie for writing such an amazing book, definitely will be one of my fave reads of 2021! And thanks to Booksirens for another amazing ARC.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

non fiction, review

Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to review it.

Hello readers!

Here I am with a review of an ARC I request through Edelweiss. I liked the cover and the title, and I’ve thought that, as an introvert, I will see myself in the main character and maybe learn to be less introvert.

Spoiler: I learn nothing.

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Title: Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come. One introvert’s year of saying yes.

Author: Jessica Pan

Editor: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 272

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

Goodreads Rating: 4.00/5

My rating: 2.5/5

Synopsys:

What would happen if a shy introvert lived like a gregarious extrovert for one year? If she knowingly and willingly put herself in perilous social situations that she’d normally avoid at all costs? Writer Jessica Pan intends to find out. With the help of various extrovert mentors, Jessica sets up a series of personal challenges (talk to strangers, perform stand-up comedy, host a dinner party, travel alone, make friends on the road, and much, much worse) to explore whether living like an extrovert can teach her lessons that might improve the quality of her life. Chronicling the author’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures, this book explores what happens when one introvert fights her natural tendencies, takes the plunge, and tries (and sometimes fails) to be a little bit braver.

Review:

Have you ever read a book that makes you uncomfortable?

I am an introvert, I was always an introvert, and I was really uneasy reading this memoir. I’m not really a memoir person, because I never find a person who has the same experiences as me, but I admit that the beginning of this book was promising.

I saw a lot of myself in Jessica and her social introversion, and I laughed on some scenes, remembering how I acted pretty similar to her.

But the more she pushes herself doing something more extrovert, the more I began to analyze the book.

Because I’m also a shy person, and I suffer from social anxiety from a very young age, and I was thinking, due to some scenes in this book, that also Jessica suffers from social anxiety, maybe a little less than me. But she also lives and does something that I will never do, and her experiences during her extrovert’s year are specifically (in my vision) for people living in a big city and living a healthy life. If you live in London and have money and good health, you can go out, or participate in a show, or take an aeroplane and goes to a “surprise weekend” in a random city. But not everyone is like you, Jessica!

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So this restricts a lot the people who can apply to her lifestyle.

I will also say that I found her “racist” vision of the population of a city very disgusting. She stands very clearly about the flaws of Londoners, or people of Budapest or Hong Kong. I’m not a citizen of these cities, but I don’t think it’s polite to talk so harsh about them. She’s very harsh to Budapest especially, so please be prepare.

I know that I have a vision of the world really different from most of the people, so please do not be offended by this review. It’s only my opinion and my feelings.

 

meme, Senza categoria, wrap up

Wrap Up: March 2019

Hello April! Spring is here, where I live we don’t see a drop of rain from months, but everywhere there are flowers blossoming!

In March I read a total of 10 books, two in Italian and 1 DNF. And it was an ARC, sob.

4 stars:

I didn’t expect to like The Belles like I did, but after a not-so-great-beginning, I was captured by the story. The Lost history of dreams has a disappointing ending.

3 stars:

I’m not really into romance books, so it’s a miracle that When Dimple met Rishi has to earn 3 stars. The elsewhere emporium has a lot of problems of graphic or it was just my tablet, I don’t know. But I love the cover.

2 stars:

3 amazing covers! What’s your favourite? Unfortunately, all these three books were a delusion for me. Hand and talon is a fantasy with nothing more than others. All that we see or seem has a super instalove and love triangle, with a whiny main character. The gauntlet was boring and predictable.

1 star (DNF):

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Another beautiful cover but oh my, the story is terrible. That’s why the Goodreads rating is only 2.74.

As you can see, no 5 stars read for me this month! How was your reading month?

review, Senza categoria

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.

review, Senza categoria

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.

 

5 star, non fiction, review, Senza categoria

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

meme, Senza categoria, wrap up

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!

 

5 star, review, Senza categoria

Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut, ARC review

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Del Toro Moon

Author: Darby Karchut

Editor: Owl Hollow Press

Pages: 256

Genres: Middle Grade, Adventure

Rating: 4,5/5

Add on: Goodreads, Amazon

Summary:

“Ride hard, swing hard, and take out as many of those creepy critters as you can.”
Twelve year old Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in his family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying wolf-like monsters, known as skinners. Now, with those creatures multiplying, both in number and ferocity, Matt must saddle up and match his father’s skills at monster whacking. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a trillion to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.
Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.
Serious horse power.
Those skinners don’t stand a chance.

Review:

 

“Back then, belief in things skewed toward the mythical end of the spectrum was acceptable. Somewhat. But with each new generation, humans find it harder to believe.””I frowned.”Believe in monsters, you mean?””And in heroes.”

At first, I was captured by the cover, and I realize only after reading the first pages why: it’s realized by the talented Risa Rodil.

Isn’t a beatiful cover? I like it so much!

Do you know what I love in a book? Talking animals, maybe a little sassy too, and friendship between humans and animals. And nerd quotes.

I must confess I wasn’t very interested for the first 2/3 chapters. We are transported directly in the plot, without a lot of informations. Then suddenly we read of this amazing friendship between caballeros and war-horses, expecially between Matt and El Cid.

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So, everytime El Cid speak, I fell in love more and more with the characters and the story.

Del Toro Moon is a middle grade story with a lot of adventures, a touch of history and myth, friendship and family relations, a main character who has flaws and fears, who is actually a nerd (there are a lot of LOTR quotes and reference) and a little touch of horror, thanks to the skinners.

The setting is very captivating, with a lot of descriptions, but in the beginning I mistaken the time setting: I was convinced it was set during the “Far West/Gold rush” period, until I found out the first LOTR reference.

The characters are well done: the horses are wise and sassy, protective and so brave; Javier has done a great job with his sons; Matt is so cute, he’s my favourite along with El Cid. I must advise you that at one point during my reading I was crying. Prepare yourself.

The ending is all right, but now I want another book, maybe a prequel with the family’s centuries-old business and the ancestor of Matt; and a sequel too, with Matt and another character I can’t tell you without spoiler!

Thanks to Netgalley and Owl Hollow Press for this book. I received for free in exchange of a honest review.