Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Published by Algonquin Books on December 2, 2014

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary

Format & Length: paperback, 258

Source: purchased

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A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over — and see everything anew.

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Book Review: Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Published by HarperCollins Publishers on June 6, 2017 (originally published October 6, 2016)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery

Format & Length: paperback, 496

Source: purchased

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When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

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Mini Audiobook Reviews: Themis Files Trilogy

Mini Reviews_ Themis Files Trilogy Header

For this set of mini reviews, I’d like to talk about the Themis Files trilogy. Having heard some fabulous things about these books ever since the release of Sleeping Giants, I’ve been keen to check them out for myself. This science fiction series has a unique premise, as you can see from the blurb below.

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.
 
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Does this sound like your kind of book? Keep reading to see my thoughts!

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Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on February 6, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: e-book, 848

Source: purchased

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A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

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Book Review: The Book Charmer, by Karen Hawkins

the book charmer

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Published by Gallery Books on July 30, 2019 (expected)

Series: Dove Pond, #1

Genre(s): fiction, magical realism

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

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The New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular MacLean Curse series crafts a charming and evocative story about a picturesque Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a magical friendship that will change their lives forever. 

The residents of Dove Pond, North Carolina, know three things: they have the finest bar-b-que this side of Atlanta, their Apple Festival is the best that ever was, and the town has phenomenal good luck whenever the Dove family has seven daughters. Fortunately, that time is now, because Dove Pond desperately needs a miracle.

The seventh daughter, Sarah Dove, believes in all things magical. Books have whispered their secrets to her since she was a child. Now the town librarian, she makes sure every book finds the reader who most needs it. But recently the books have been whispering something different—that change is about to come to Dove Pond. Sarah is soon convinced that the legendary Dove Pond good luck has arrived in the form of new resident, Grace Wheeler.

After the tragic death of her sister, Grace has moved to Dove Pond with her grieving young niece and ailing foster mother hoping to retrench financially and emotionally before returning to her fast-paced city life. But she soon learns that life in a not-so-sleepy town isn’t as quiet as she’d hoped. Despite her best efforts to focus on her family, she can’t avoid the townspeople, especially her next-door neighbors, the quirky and talkative Sarah Dove and cynical veteran Chris Parker. Grace’s situation grows more complicated when she assumes her duties as town clerk and discovers that Dove Pond is on the verge of financial ruin.

Already overburdened by her own cares, Grace tries to stay aloof from the town’s issues, but she’s never been good at resisting a challenge. With Sarah’s encouragement, and inspired by the wise words of a special book, Grace decides to save her new town. And in her quest, she discovers the rich comfort of being a part of a loving community, the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the heartfelt power of finding just the right book.

With Karen Hawkins’s “fast, fun, and sexy” (Christina Dodd) prose, The Book Charmer is a feel-good story with plenty of heart that will appeal to fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Alice Hoffman, Heather Graham, and Jude Deveraux.

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Book Review: The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Published by Henry Holt & Co. on July 9, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 256

Source: Netgalley

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A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

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Book Review: The Printed Letter Bookshop, by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop, by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Published by Thomas Nelson on May 14, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 336

Source: Netgalley

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Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

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Book Review: Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on March 28, 2017

Series: Strange the Dreamer, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 528

Source: library

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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

 

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Audiobook Review: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Random House Audio on September 13, 2011

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, romance

Format & Length: audiobook, 13:40:16

Source: library

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

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Book Review: Vox, by Christina Dalcher

Vox, by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Published by Berkley on August 21, 2018

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 336

Source: library

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One of Entertainment Weekly’s and SheReads’ books to read after The Handmaid’s Tale
One of Good Morning America’s “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer”

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end. 

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

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