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Wrap up: May 2022

Hello readers and welcome to another wrap up! Sorry if I’m late, I have so much work to do right now.

During May I’ve participated in the Star Wars Challenge organized on Instagram that required books over 200 pages, so I’ve read fewer books than usual.

5 stars:

I already love another series by C.J. Archer (The ministry of curiosities) so I was excited to begin The palace of lost memories. It’s original and captivating.

I bought Un delitto al circolo polare (Murder at the polar circle) at the secondhand shop, the creepy snowman on the cover has won my curiosity. It was really good.

4 stars:

Murder at the Fitzwilliam is the first volume in a historical fiction series featuring murders in famous museums all over the UK, with a strong female co-protagonist who is also an archeologist. Perfect!

How colorful is the cover of Rainbow Grey? Laura Ellen Anderson is so good at writing fantasy middle-grade books!

2 stars:

Horrorstor has a beautiful cover and “project” but half of the plot was like an episode of SuperStore, not scary at all. This is my last attempt with Hendrix. Il bacio del Diavolo (The vampire Narcise) is erotica, and I didn’t like the genre, but I won a copy years ago, so I gave it a try. Sweep was so depressing with an MC not likable at all. I’ve loved the first quarter of The sun Down motel, and then stop.

1 star:

Both of them are full of characters, different POVs, and plots to confusional and intricated. Click on the cover for the GR page.

And that was my May in reading, how was yours?

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Wrap Up: April 2022

Hello readers!

In April I’ve read 11 books with 1 DNF, and I managed, thanks to a readathon, to read some of the older (means I bought them years ago) books on my shelves.

5 stars:

It is always a great pleasure to come back to The ministry of curiosities, and that’s why I savor every volume. Beyond the grave wasn’t an exception. Next, we can find a great surprise, the first book an author sends to me through Instagram, you can find the review of Swallowed by a secret here.

Il tempo delle rose (Time to smell the roses) is the last volume in the Hermux Tantamoq series. I can’t express how much I love this mouse and his adventures.

The storyteller by Dave Grohl is a work of art, especially if, like me, you’ll listen to the audiobook version narrated by Grohl himself. There’s music too.

2 stars:

I can’t hide the disappointment after reading Mortal arts, it was so different from the previous The anatomist’s wife. The girl of fire and thorns is a typical YA, nothing more, and Son Goku is the original story and legend of Son Goku who inspired manga like Saiyuki or Dragonball. I no longer appreciate books like Death, the devil and the goldfish, but I gave it a try since was on my TBR for years.

1 star + DNF:

So similar to Wintersong, insta love, an illness of the Trolls that is exactly like mine, I save only the cover of Stolen Songbird. I’ve waited years to read Delia’s shadow, and didn’t like at all. The female characters are useless, the plot is boring, by again, great cover. The rib from which I remake the world is the DNF of the month, didn’t like, didn’t comprehend it, didn’t get involved by the characters.

How was your reading month?

Tell me in the comments!

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Wrap up: March 2022

Hello readers and welcome to another wrap up!

In March I’ve read a total of 12 books, with a DNF, as usual.

5 stars:

Jeremy Ray as quickly became one of my fave authors. Petrified women is a piece of art, I can’t recommend it enough.

E a mio nipote Albert lascio l’isola che ho vinto a Fatty Hagan in una partita a poker has the longest title I know. Super funny and entertaining.

4,5 stars to The golden key simply because is really strange and incredibly sad. But there’s a happy ending, perfect to shed a tear or two.

4 stars:

I’m participating in an Agatha Christie challenge on Instagram, and Giorno dei morti (sparkling cyanide) was my read for March.

Another great short story by Jeremy Ray, My mother’s eyes. I’ll also add that all his stories began with a page dedicated to the trigger warnings you’ll find in that story. Very thoughtful.

I love reading non-fiction books about weird/macabre topics, and Tomb raiders was funny and interesting.

Look how colorful the cover of The sapphire library is!! Love it! This is definitely my cozy series, love the characters, so happy to have discovered it!

3 stars:

Can we all agree that the cover of The time of green magic is special and wonderful? It reminds me of the works of Miyazaki, unfortunately, the plot isn’t really engaging.

One for sorrow is a middle grade set in 1918 with the outbreak of Spanish Influenza. A lot of things are happening even now with the Covid epidemic, it’s sad and hurtful.

2 stars/DNF:

Il castello di Otranto (The castle of Otranto) is weird and sometimes just absurd.

Death and the harlot had the possibility to be a great historical mystery, but it’s really fatphobic.

I DNF The route of ice and salt on page 20. Nothing more to say.

And that was my reading month, how was yours?

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Wrap up: February 2022

Hello readers and welcome to another wrap up!

My birthday was on 27th, I received a lovely steampunk rabbit music box!

Anyway, in February I’ve read 12 books with 1 DNF.

5 stars:

I’ve discovered A is for Arson through Instagram, and itìs fantastic, an historical fiction with an intelligent young woman and a super cute man and a mystery. And look at the cover! ❤

How a short story about a house plant can make you laugh, cry and change forever your idea of house plants? If it’s written by Jeremy Ray, apparently, my new favorite author.

4 stars:

How lovely is the cover of Assassinio sull’Orient Express?(Murder on the Orient Express) A great classic.

React is a short story with a great plot twist. The winter freak show is a great historical mystery/fantasy, really adventurous.

3 stars:

It was a dark and creepy night space up to really nightmares materials stories to WTF? are you kidding me? Stories. There’s no middle ground.

By the same author as React comes Driving in the dark, great cover but predictable.

2 stars:

Interviewing the dead was predictable and a little boring, but I’ve loved Carlyle’s daughter and her obvious crush.

My respect to The Queen, it was lovely to read about her, but the investigation and the mystery in The Windsor’s knot were terrible.

1 star/DNF:

I had to DNF The binding because the motivations of the characters to erase the memory were horrible.

This dark endeavor is a prequel of Frankenstein following the Frankenstein brothers, but Victor is a terrible character, it’s ableist and there’s violence against animals.

Look at me, giving Hamnet only 1 star, because if it’s about Hamnet, the son of William Shakespeare, I want to read about him, not his mother or his grandma. Very disappointing.

How was your reading month?

What do you plan on reading next month? Tell me in the comments!

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Wrap Up: January 2022

Hello readers, sorry if I’m late for this wrap up, I totally forgot to post it!

In January I’ve read 11 books and 1 DNF, a super hyped book.

5 stars:

Did you know that there’s a book with some of the letters from Theo to Vincent, alongside letters from Jo (Theo’s wife) and Gauguin? In Italian is Verranno Giorni migliori, from a phrase in a Theo’s letter. An unmissable read if you love the Van Gogh brothers.

Once upon a haunted moor is a supernatural/crime/m/m book, lovely and creepy, and with remarkable characters.

My first read of 2022 was The Last photograph of John Buckley, a short story about a ghost in a photo, some secrets, and justice.

4 stars:

Devil may care is a spin-off/ sequel of Dracula, where the Harker, both Mina and Jonathan, need to investigate some dark supernatural circumstances. Very entertaining.

Il segreto di Greenshore (Poirot and the Greenshore folly) is a short story involving Poirot, very well crafted and planned, like you can expect from Agatha Christie. I’m participating in a Christie challenge this year on Instagram, if you are interested you can find the post here.

3 and 2 stars:

3 stars to Happily Ever awkward, that from the cover alone seems a sci-fi book, in reality, is a funny twist of the traditional fairytales, with the princess who wants to be kidnapped so she places an AD on a journal, to the prince who isn’t charming, or brave…

A historical fiction that is set during the great blizzard of 1888 of New York, rapidly became boring and predictable, I had great expectations from What the dead leave behind.

Another disappointment was Paola Santiago and the river of tears: I wasn’t a fun of Paola, and La Llorona appears at the end of the book, too late to save the plot.

1 star/DNF:

Three hyped books are fallen under my severe judgment: I’ve understood that I didn’t like the writing style of Schwab, so I had to DNF This savage song; The silence of the girls was a constant eye-rolling to Briseid; in Come una lady sfugge ai cannibali there’s a scene of a se*ual assault to a man, gratuitous and unnecessary; and I don’t want to talk about The devil and the dark water, is simply disgusting.

Remember that these are my opinions, if you liked the books above I’m happy for you!

And that’s all, have you had a good reading month? Tell me in the comments!

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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.

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Review: The spirit engineer

Title: The spirit engineer

Author: A.J. West

Pages: 304

Published: October 7th, 2021 by Duckworth Books

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Adult, Paranormal, Gothic

Goodreads rating: 4.17/5

My rating: 1/5

Add on: Goodreads / Amazon

Trigger warning: death, blood, beating, mental illness

Synopsis:

Belfast, 1914. Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, high society has become obsessed with spiritualism in the form of seances that attempt to contact the spirits of loved ones lost at sea.

William is a man of science and a skeptic, but one night with everyone sat around the circle something happens that places doubt in his heart and a seed of obsession in his mind. Could the spirits truly be communicating with him or is this one of Kathleen’s parlour tricks gone too far?

This early 20th century gothic set in Northern Ireland contains all the mystery and intrigue one might expect from a Sarah Waters novel. Deftly plotted with echoes of The Woman in Black, readers will be thrilled to discover West’s chilling prose.

Based on the true story of William Jackson Crawford and famed medium Kathleen Goligher, and with a cast of characters that include Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, The Spirit Engineer conjures a haunting tale that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Review:

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I had great expectations from The spirit Engineer, which combines a lot of my favorite genres/situations: ghosts, spiritism, historical fiction, seancè, the sinking of the Titanic, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a beautiful cover.

I ended up deeply regretting the time I spent reading it. The night I finished it, I had had problems to fell asleep, causing it by the terrible ending.
For the first 30% of the book nothing happens: is about boring arguments between the MC and his family, him talking bad about his colleagues, and no ghosts.

I want my books full of ghosts!! Real and terrifying ghosts!!


My main issue with this book is William Crawford: he’s totally unlikeable. He’s mean with his family, sarcastic and annoyed by his children, whiny and invidious, and most of the time just stupid. There’s nothing about him that I liked, even worse when he became involved in the seances.

A lot of the great revelations or plot twists were easily guessed if someone is familiar with this kind of gothic story.
The tragedy of the Titanic and the lives of those who have lost someone is barely mentioned, same for Sir Conan Doyle and Houdini: they appear only in a chapter, but I really liked them, they are portrayed well in my opinion. Such a shame it doesn’t elaborate on the Titanic, a book set in Ireland some years after the sinking can talk for hours about this, and I will gladly read it.
And I don’t want to talk about the ending, but I hate this kind of revelation in horror/gothic books.

In conclusion: I save nothing about this book, except the cover.

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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.

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S.C.R.E.A.M. book series: review

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Title: S.C.R.E.A.M. The mummy’s revenge (#1)

Author: Andrew Beasley

Genre: Middle grade, historical fiction, mystery, supernatural

Pages: 240

Goodreads rating: 4.15

My rating: 5/5

Add on: Goodreads, Bookdepository.

Synopsis:

In the dark and winding streets of Edinburgh, a burglar is on the prowl. But this is no ordinary thief.

Three thousand years old and risen from the grave, this rampaging robber is a rotting Egyptian mummy – and he wants rubies and revenge!

There’s only one crime-fighting force who can deal with a menace like this: Billy Flint & Charley Steel aka S.C.R.E.A.M. – top-secret investigators of Supernatural Crimes, Rescues, Emergencies And Mysteries.

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Title: S.C.R.E.A.M Carnival of Monsters (#2)

Author: Andrew Beasley

Genre: Middle grade, historical fiction, mystery, supernatural

Pages: 240

Goodreads rating: 4.23

My rating: 5/5

Add on: Goodreads, Bookdepository.

Sypnosis:

Roll up, roll up, if you dare, to Doctor Vindicta’s Carnival! Gasp at the dancing ghosts! Grimace at the creepy clowns! It’s all harmless fun and frights…until a young boy disappears and his sister swears he was snatched by a monster. Only the bravest detectives can detain a demon: send for supernatural investigators Billy Flint and Charley Steel!

Review:

I’ll write a general review for this duology. The S.C.R.E.A.M. series is a middle grade historical fiction featuring a main character with a disability, lots of action and the supernatural touch that I love in a book.

I found the first book casually, searching for “mummy” books on Amazon. I’m really happy to have found it and to have read it, it’s a really underrated series, but look at the amazing covers!! Aren’t they great? Have you seen the detail on the cover of Carnival of monsters? Isn’t funny? I laughed when I saw it!

As I said, this series features a main character with a disability: as you can see from the covers, Charley Steel, the female MC, is on a wheelchair, but this certainly doesn’t stop her from being intelligent, wise and incredibily brave, and I know children will love her, along with Billy, the boy with a troubled family and some paranormal powers.

Both of the books are really intense and historically interesting, the second one (Carnival of monsters) is a little darker than the first, because includes children abduction and evil demons, just to let you know.

My only regret with these books is that I want to know more about the S.C.R.E.A.M. department, how has begun for example and also that this is a duology (for now), because I want to read more books with Charley and Billy!!

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For now, thanks to Andrew Beasley for writing such an amazing series.

How you read it? Do you like the covers? Tell me in the comments!