Archive | October, 2016

The Witches of New York — Ami Mckay

31 Oct

witches

 

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Released: October 25th, 2016
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher

 

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (‘Moth’ from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and “gardien de sorts” (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients.

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind?

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

From Goodreads

There is so much that I love about this book it’s hard to know where to start. Do I start with the fact that the two main characters own a freaking tea shop? Or that Eleanor has a pet raven? Or that I got to spend more time with Moth? Or the Dearlies? Or the strong feminist undertones throughout? Or the amazing, beautiful prose? I mean, really. I ooohed and awed by way through The Witches of New York and the only thing I didn’t like about it was that it ended.

Ami presents such amazing and flawed characters that I fell in love with each and every one of them, like I always do with her books. I felt invested in their lives and genuinely cared about what happened to them. Also, I kinda wanted a time machine to take me to their fictional world so I could have a cup of tea with them and just chat about things. I found them fascinating and also very relatable.

I absolutely loved all the magical elements to the book and how they were interspersed with historical elements of the time. This book was more witchy that Ami’s first two books, but I just love the natural progression. As a witchy gal myself (I’m a tea leaf reader and delving into oracle cards) I just felt a strong connection to the magic side of the book. And I mean, Perdu, the raven? I’ve have pet crows in the past and my husband had a raven before we met, so this part of the book just made me beyond happy.

The way female friendship is represented in the book also made my heart all warm and tingly. It was just so honest and beautiful. They helped each other and looked out for each and quarreled but you knew they loved one another.

Ami writes with such beautiful prose, flowery but never over flowery and I am always in awe of how well she can write several different plots and weave them together. Almost magically, dare I say? Her writing drew me in effortlessly and never lost me at any point.

I really can’t recommend The Witches of New York enough and I can’t wait for the next offering from Ami. She is one of only a handful of authors that I know I will always fall in love with each and every one of her books.

Far From True — Linwood Barclay

26 Oct

fartrue

 

Publisher: Doubelday Books
Released: March 8th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, crime
Source: Review copy from publisher

 

 

After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father’s house. Cal discovers a hidden basement room where it’s clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in….

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound.

As the lies begin to unravel, Cal is headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. Evil deeds long thought buried are about to haunt the residents of this town—as the sins of the past and present collide with terrifying results.

From Goodreads

This was a really weird read for me. While there were some things I really really disliked about this book, I couldn’t seem to put it down once I started reading it.

I didn’t realize Far From True was part of a trilogy (it’s the second book) so at first I was a bit confused when characters referenced things and I had no idea what they were talking about. Once I realized it was a sequel, then I understood why some things were a bit beyond my grasp.

There are A LOT of characters in this book and A LOT of difference points of view(POV). I’m not a huge fan of books that switch POV a lot. I find it confusing, especially if a new POV is introduced later in the book. The various POVs overwhelmed me at times, and I sometimes got confused about which POV I was reading.

There’s a lot going on with the plot, and sometimes I struggled with keeping all of the different threads and connections between the characters straight. But this could have been in part to the fact that I didn’t read the first book in the trilogy. But I did feel that there was just a smidge too much going on.

With that being said, I kind of enjoyed this book. I’m not sure if it was the way the book was written, the main plot or the time that I read the book. Normally when I have issues with POV I don’t finish the book. But I literally parked my butt in my reading chair and didn’t move until I finished it, all the while complaining to my husband about all the POVs and how confusing I found some of the plot.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. But I would suggest reading the first book beforehand.

Am I going to read the final book in the trilogy? I’m not sure yet, to be honest. But if you enjoy complex mysteries with a large cast of characters, then you’ll definitely enjoy Far From True.

Strike — Delilah S. Dawson

17 Oct

strikePublisher: Simon Pulse
Released: April 12th, 2016
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review copy from publisher

The hit list was just the beginning.

Time to strike back.

After faking her own death to escape her term as an indentured assassin for Valor Savings Bank, Patsy is on the run with her boyfriend, Wyatt. All she wants to do is go home, but that’s never going to happen—not as long as Valor’s out to get her and the people she loves.

Left with no good choices, Patsy’s only option is to meet with a mysterious group that calls itself the Citizens for Freedom.

Led by the charismatic Leon Crane, the CFF seem like just what Patsy has been looking for. Leon promises that if she joins, she’ll finally get revenge on Valor for everything they’ve done to her—and for everything they’ve made her do.

But Patsy knows the CFF has a few secrets of their own. One thing is certain: they’ll do absolutely anything to complete their mission, no matter who’s standing in their way. Even if it’s Patsy herself.

From Goodreads

 

I liked Strike soooo much better than Hit and I liked Hit so that’s saying a lot.

There are more characters in Strike, and the element that I liked the most was the different group dynamics. Everyone has been through their own version of hell and it was fascinating to watch how they all interacted with each other. I always gravitate towards dystopia and post-apocalyptic literature and shows where the setting and what’s going on isn’t always the focus, but rather, how people interact with each other in these settings. Sometimes it’s done in a realistic manner and others not so much. For me Dawson nailed it.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Patsy and Wyatt way more than I did in Hit. I just felt that their connection made more sense in this book and was more believable to me.

While I enjoyed the over plot of the book (I don’t want to talk about it and give anything away) there were some elements that felt a bit convenient to me. But that’s okay. Even in a shitty world coincidences do happen. 🙂

I think fans of Hit are really going to enjoy Strike. And if you weren’t a huge fan of Hit? I think there’s a good chance that you’ll still enjoy this book.