The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

Happy Weekend Everyone!

This post is a little bit of a throw back.

Today my preordered book of The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen arrived and I must admit I am very excited. My regular readers will know that I had the privilege of reading this book and reviewing it on NetGalley a few months back and I loved the book so much I immediately preordered it. This at the moment is one of the best books I have read in 2019 and I can not wait for the next one in the series.

I know it sounds weird but I am planning on reading this book again very soon because when I read it a few months ago I could not put it down and flew through it and now I want to read it again and savour it a bit more. Is this just something that I do or do other people do the same?

Anyway if you love fantasy, murder mysteries and romance this is definitely the book for you. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you want to check out my review please click the link.

Purchase links

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Happy Reading

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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (ARC Review)

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

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About the author

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Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

Blurb

You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box.

But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly.

Now you and your sister must find a way to survive…

Review

Firstly, a massive thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for letting me read this book for an honest review.

From the very first few pages of this book I was gripped, it was truly amazing and kept me guessing right till the end. I could not put this book down and if it wasn’t for sleep and work I probably wouldn’t have.

This book switches from the past to the present and slowly the reader works out the connections and how it all fits together, but there are always certain elements left out so it is not all completely clear till the very end.

Libby is the character in the present who on her twenty-fifth birthday inherits a massive house in Chelsea that will change her life forever. However, Libby is adopted and knows nothing of her childhood – can this house tell her more about her past and where she came from?

The other main characters are the people from the past Henry and Lucy Lamb who were children in the Chelsea house all those years ago. The story is told between Libby, Lucy and Henry.

This story is incredibly well written and an amazing thriller, Jewell has a real gift for keeping you on your toes. At the beginning of the story I was not entirely sure what was going on and I did find it a little confusing but I stuck with it and it all made sense and I soon adjusted and got used to how the story flitted from one character to another. However, I imagine it is a book that once you have read it and know the outcome you do not need to read it again because knowing the ending spoils the reading experience.

I found this story really creepy and because I could not work out the ending my imagination ran wild with other possibilities which seemed to make it even creepier! I thoroughly enjoyed all the elements of this book and plan on reading more by Lisa Jewell. I was so happy that by chance I saw this book on NetGalley and my request was granted.

I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good thriller.

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The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen (ARC Review)

The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

About the author

Amy Kuivalainen is a Finnish-Australian writer that is obsessed with magical wardrobes, doors, auroras and burial mounds that might offer her a way into another realm. Until then, she will write about fairy tales, monsters, magic and mythology because that’s the next best thing. She is the author of The Firebird Fairytales Trilogy and The Blood Lake Chronicles series that mash up traditional tales and mythology in new and interesting ways.

Blurb

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.

Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.

As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks. 

With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.

Review

Thank you to NetGalley and BHC Press for granting me an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.

I was so happy that my request on NetGalley was granted for this book and a couple of days ago I started the book and to be honest finished it in a matter of hours, I simply could not put it down. Even though the book has not been published yet I am desperate for the sequel to be published.

I found the story to immediately hook me in and wanted to keep reading, the idea of a forgotten language and god suddenly arising after thousands of years was fascinating. I also thoroughly enjoyed the idea of magicians existing in the world for thousands of years hidden from mankind but one human has managed to get through to them and that person is Dr Penelope Bryne.

Penelope has always loved the mystery of Atlantis and even though people make fun of her she never gives up trying to find it and prove that it exists. I loved her drive and passion in the book, she is a massively strong character but also has her weaknesses but she knows how to control this using her yoga and meditation practises. I have never had much time for yoga but reading this book has made me want to try it again.

The setting of the book was beautifully chosen, what better place to choose than Venice? I would love to visit Venice because it always strikes me as a magical place especially when Carnivale is taking place. I hope in the next books Venice will feature heavily and we get to see more of the catacombs and hidden parts of Venice.

The seven magicians were brilliant as they all have their own individual characters which comes through their magic. So each magician engages their magic differently depending on how their magic is formed and created. They all reminded me of Greek Gods and by their descriptions they look like Greek Gods as well. Although they also seem like teenagers when left unattended by a responsible person for too long. All in all it seems like a fun place to be when they are all playing around.

I loved this book so much I have actually pre-ordered the hardback of the book to read again and hopefully one day will have a hardback sequel to add to the collection. I highly recommend this book to fantasy and history lovers. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons and cannot wait to read it again.

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The Time for Murder is Meow by T. C. LoTempio (ARC Review)

The Time for Murder is Meow (Purr N’ Bark Pet Shop Mystery #1) by T. C. LoTempio

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This book was gratefully received by me through NetGalley and Midnight Ink in exchange for an honest review.

About the author

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LoTempio is the national bestselling author of Meow If It’s Murder, the first book in the Nick and Nora Mystery series.

She has been a staff reporter at a young adult magazine for over a decade.

Her love of mysteries started when she was first introduced to the Nancy Drew mysteries at the age of 10. She also owns four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and Rocco. LoTempio and her four feline companions currently live in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes away from the Big Apple.

Blurb

Shell and her two furry sidekicks must cat-ch a killer to save their pet shop

Crishell “Shell” McMillan sees the cancellation of her TV series as a blessing in disguise. The former actress can now take over her late aunt’s pet shop, the Purr N’ Bark, and do something she loves.

While getting the shop ready for re-opening, Shell is asked to loan her aunt’s Cary Grant posters to the local museum for an exhibit. She finds the prospect exciting–until a museum board member, who had a long-standing feud with Shell’s aunt, votes against it. When she discovers the board member dead in the museum, Shell becomes suspect number one. Can she, her Siamese cat Kahlua, and her new sidekick–her aunt’s Persian Purrday–find the real culprit, or will her latest career go up in kitty litter?

Review

This is my second book that I have received from NetGalley and I was so happy to receive it. I must admit I was hooked from the beginning and very pleased to see two wonderful cats involved in the story and a big friendly dog called Rocco make an appearance as well.

I loved the idea of Shell giving up her life in Hollywood to come and take over an old pet shop and let her love of animals take her life somewhere different. I immediately sensed that Shell was no pushover but a strong independent woman who was happy to make bold decisions in her life.

I also really liked her co-star and friend Gary, who came over to stay with her and help in any way he can. He was the perfect friend to Shell, he noticed things about her, knew how she played with the string of her tea bag, when she was making an effort with her appearance and so forth. In my opinion he was the perfect gentleman and the unsung hero of this story.

The main issue I had with this story was the fact that Shell got so worked up and upset about some movie posters not being displayed by the local museum. I can understand that yes the collection was her aunt’s and a great collection, but surely if Shell was so desperate to loan them out to be viewed by the public she could have gone to another museum? She didn’t have to go completely mental and start arguing to the museum board members about it. This whole part of the story for me a was bit unbelievable and stopped me giving the story 5 out of 5 Dragons and instead only 4.

The story was well written and flowed brilliantly, in fact I struggled to put it down. I could tell that LoTempio is a true animal and cat lover by her cat characters Purrday and Kahula. I loved Purrday the cat and found him a true hero of the day kind of cat, a true gentleman and friend to all who know him. Kahula had too much of a chip on her shoulder for my liking and needed to be taken down a peg or two.

I loved this book and hope there will be many more in the series to come of the same excellent quality. I gave this book 4 out of 5 Dragons and highly recommend it to people who love cats and crime thrillers.

This book will be released on the 8th August 2019.

To preorder from Waterstones

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Lady Book Dragon.

 

Thorns in a Realm of Roses: The Henry Queens by Thomas Crockett (ARC Review)

Thorns in a Realm of Roses: The Henry Queens by Thomas Crockett

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This book was an ARC from John Hunt Publishing Ltd through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the author

Born and raised in New York, Thomas Crockett spent thirty years as a theatre director and writing teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. On retirement Thomas turned his attention to his writing. He is an avid traveler, and enjoys a love of reading and researching Italian and English history, about which much of his writing is focused.

Blurb

England, 1541. King Henry receives an anonymous letter suggesting that his fifth wife, the young Katherine Howard, whom he had called a rose without a thorn, may have led an unchaste life before they married. In the rose gardens of Hampton Court Palace, Henry feels the illusion of youth and virility slip away; he faces an uncertain future. Must he dispatch yet another wife? Old, overweight and increasingly infirm, could he find love and marry again to further secure the Tudor line? Written with literary invention, Thorns in a Realm of Roses spans the final years in Henry’s reign. Peeling back the layers of life at Court, it examines the hearts and minds of Henry, his often misbegotten queens, neglected daughter Mary and his many loyal, though wary, advisors as they all struggle to survive in a world embroiled in political and religious upheaval ruled by a petulant King.

Review

I was very excited to receive this book as my first book from NetGalley. I was also really happy to have been granted this book as I love historical fiction and the Tudor period is one of my favourites in history.

Sadly though I was severely disappointed. To be honest the second chapter almost made me give up. The dialogues in this book are exhausting, they are long winded and pointless waffle. Also you struggle at times to follow who is talking as it is all very confusing. I only pushed on because I wanted to give the book a chance because it was my first NetGalley read and because I enjoy anything to do with Henry VIII.

The other issue I had with this book was how it flitted around from one point in time to another and gave no real clue about how much time had passed. It made it very hard to follow and disrupted the flow of reading for me.

The other element which I found extremely annoying was the historical inaccuracy as seen below:-

“Look what happened to Henry Bolingbroke of Lancaster when he murdered Richard II in 1399 and became Henry V. His reign and life ended quickly. His son Henry VI fared worse. He lost what his father gained, that being France, and soon after lost his throne, dying insane.”

Henry Bolingbroke was made Henry IV not V so his son was Henry V. This surely should have been checked and researched by the author. For a historical fiction novel this is a glaring error in the text that should have been picked up by somebody.

An element that I did enjoy was when Henry met with his children and interacted with them. I also enjoyed how his relationship with Katherine Parr was portrayed. Henry VIII in his final years is not a pretty picture, spoilt child comes to mind and Crockett got that right in this book. If his wives did not bow to his every demand they ended up removed from his side and in two cases from life itself.

All in all I did not really enjoy this book, I found it hard to follow and in places poorly written. I also sadly could not forgive the historical inaccuracies within the book. I have given this book 2 out of 5 Dragons and the only reason it did not get 1 was because I managed to finish it but in all honesty it was a hard slog.

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Lady Book Dragon

NetGalley

Hello Everyone.

So I have some exciting news, I have joined NetGalley!

I joined late last night after a long day teaching. I’ve followed many book bloggers who use NetGalley and I have liked the idea but have never been brave enough to join. I requested about 20 books last night, not expecting anything as I am brand new to the site but today I got granted two of those books. You can imagine how excited I am.

I will have to make notes in my diary of when reviews need to be done by to keep me on track. Hopefully I can keep up with all the reading. I know one thing, I will be very careful with how many books I request as I could get carried away.

Any thoughts and advice about NetGalley would be gratefully received. Please drop me a comment.

Lady Book Dragon