aconitecafe's reviews
554 reviews

Where Darkness Blooms, by Andrea Hannah

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3.0

 I 100% downloaded this book because of the cover.

If you are thinking of doing this, there are a few things to note.
Mainly, the covers amazing emotion and darkness falls short in the book.

I really wanted to love this book, the premise is a deep emotional one to explore.
The plot had high stakes, and has so much potential to be one of those riveting books that makes you ponder big ideas, and cry hard from the ending. But it just doesn't. Which makes me sad.

That being said, it's not a bad book. It is just muted. If you enjoy strong female characters you're going to enjoy this story. The story brings strong woman from all walks of life together.

I won't say that it's character driven because there is a lot left on the table in that regards. So many motivations that weren't explored, and fall outs left for the reader to assume about. Especially the ending. All the questions were answered, I just wanted more. Especially with the potential trauma, and aftermath, it was just all okay.

I don't regret reading it, I liked it. Just was hoping for more.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

 
The Ferryman, by Justin Cronin

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medium-paced

3.0

 I really wanted to love this book, the premise sounds so fantastic, it just wasn't executed as well as I'd hoped.

The book starts off slow, introducing you to the world, how it works mechanics wise, and the main character. As we get deeper into the story, we are led to feel for the guy, and his humble life as an upper class person. As the cracks in their well oiled society begin to show the book starts to pick up in pace.

But around the 60% mark, when the big plot twist happens, the author leans on telling to catch the reader up, disguised as catching the main character up and it really pulled me out of the story. I had a hard time getting back into it for the rest of the book, beside the fact that that type of plot twist is rarely done satisfactory. The ending was only so so for me, but mostly because the jig was up, so there was no point in what was happening to the characters for me. The characters that did matter, didn't get the page time they deserved.

If you want the spoiler version,
Spoileras soon as we knew that it was all a dream land, I no longer cared what happened in the dream land, I wanted to know more about the settlers, and how they were coming to terms with what happened in the dream land. But instead the book ends in yet another dream land, making fake memories, it was morbid and creepy, and kind of a cop out ending. He didn't sacrifice himself to teach people a lesson. He was just too scared to join the settlers and take responsibility so he opted for a fake reality. Big disappointment. He should have stayed and built the life they all deserved with Thea.
 

Overall, if you really enjoyed the show LOST or the movie Inception, you'll probably enjoy this book. I'm not saying I disliked it. It was an interesting take on society, and had some thought provoking points about the human race.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this copy for me to read. 
Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries, by Heather Fawcett

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informative lighthearted reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes

3.0

 Takes the word encyclopaedia in the title to heart.

This book reminds me a lot of 'the classics' like The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror , written in the style of journal entries where the facts are accounted for you, instead of seen through the eyes of the characters.

It has a very slow start, if you are particularly interested in how one goes about researching the existence of faeries, you might find it fascinating, but if you are looking for a story with action or adventure, this isn't the book for you. The journal entries are well laid out, and it really does feel like you are reading field notes.

A little over half way through the tale picks up but only in the way that the main character finds herself in a pickle, not in the way that there is actually action. I would go as far to say that the story also has a light love story happening throughout the entries. It boasts a neat and tidy ending, which is fitting for an encyclopaedia. I enjoyed the story, but not so much that I couldn't put it down.

You'll love this book if you enjoy endless world building, and low plot, but high character development type books.

Thank you to Net Galley for providing me a copy of Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries. 
The Murder of Mr. Wickham, by Claudia Gray

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slow-paced

4.0

 Claudia Gray has captured the essences of Pride and Prejudice to a masterful level.

If you're looking for a book that reads much like the works of Jane Austen, look no further. The Murder of Mr. Wickham will drop you years into the future from the events of Pride and Prejudice and lull you into a the world with new characters joining old favorites. She plot drops events from that book, so if you haven't read it, don't worry. It is unneeded to enjoy this story. Every character with Jane's beloved tale is also mentioned by name so you are aware of how they faired over the past decades.

However, if you are in search of something that has the essences but with a modern writing style you will be a tad bored with this read. It took me well over a month to finish the story mostly because the writing was more telling than showing and very dull. Instead of people visiting houses, it's people visiting rooms.

While I adore Jane Austen, her writing style is representative of her time period. This book would have been much more enjoyable if the author brought the world to life with the modern way to tell a story. By showing the characters move through the plot, instead of telling us how it happened to them through so much introspectiveness and point blank telling.

That aside, we find Mr. Wickham up to his same old devious games, and dead within the half of the book. (Yes, it takes far too long to get to the body, which adds to the boredom of it all.) The mystery was well laid out and I loved the way Johnathan Darcy and Miss Tinley played into the story. It was a clean mystery that had you discovering dirty secrets through connecting with members of the party throughout the unraveling of the culprit. I was surprised by the twist at the end, and glad with how everything turned out.

I could see this turning into a mystery series, with the two amateur sleuths at the helm.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book. 
Upgrade, by Blake Crouch

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fast-paced

5.0

 WOW, what in the 'relevant to our current state of humanity' did I just read?!

I already know this book is going to be one of my top reads for 2022, and it's only February.
I am going to do my best to review this book without spoilers, but the TL;DR of it is, even if "near future - scifi" isn't in your normal reads, I highly recommend this book. The way it tells a near future story, while dropping bigger picture ideas for the reader to ponder on is masterful.

I am in awe at the profound themes, and in no way saw the depth coming from the blurb. Every detail of this story felt like a future that is one of the many possibilities for us. Blake did his due diligence when researching for this book, and again within the text as Logan ponders out that big question, "Is it possible to save humanity from itself?"

From his person life, to his professional, Logan is doing his best to make up for the black mark on his name. When his world gets turned upside down from a raid gone wrong, he works through it the only way he knows how—not repeating history. By the end of the book, I was in tears from his personal growth.

While I am not the most science jargon savy person, I never once felt lost with the discussions in the book, and was surprised to see Logan's thoughts aligned with my own from the interpersonal level of humanity. Blake does a wonderful job of explaining just the right amount for those that don't have a background in genetic manipulation, all while keeping true to the characters voices in the story that do have that background.

Overall, the story is well laid out, perfectly paced—I read it in every spare moment I had just to figure out what was going to happen next—and addresses one of the many elephants we have in the room with us. The characters are diverse, relatable, and feel like the people in your own family.

There is no way I could rave about this book enough. You're going to love it, if you enjoy books that pull at your emotions, and leave you feeling hopeful for humans.

*Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an advanced copy of this book. 
Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

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5.0

 I thought the first book in this series was mind-blowingly epic, but this one takes the cake.

I can tell you that this book is written in 1st, 2nd and 3rd perspectives but that's not going to matter. Experiencing the elegance in the authors masterful writing abilities is going to be like nothing you've read before.

Harrow wasn't one of my favorite characters from the first book, but this book changed my perspective on her as a person. As we discover what it really means to be apart of the Emperor's team, we also get a deep dive into her childhood, and the events that shaped her.

Once we hit the 75% part I about fell out of my chair. Exactly what I was hoping for happened, and it was epic, amazing, all the keywords. But the ending left me in wtf land. Now with the announcement of a 4th book in this series, I'm just reeling at all the possibilities for where this story is going to go.

Tamsyn's necromancers are A+, one of the best renditions I've ever come across. The darkness in the world building, the multi-dimension aspects, the political intrigue, all of it, so fantastic. This book lacked no where.

You're going to love this book if you like different from the norm scifi, sarcastic characters, double crossing, and the strange and unusual. 
This Poison Heart, by Kalynn Bayron

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adventurous emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

 from holding back her powers. But when we leave her, she has come to life. Bold, daring and confident, her growth in this story is one of my favorite parts. She makes mistakes, miss judges, and fumbles but she keeps pushing forward to discover the secrets of her family lineage. The author captures her age so perfectly, none of the weird whiny YA trope junk. Just a girl trying to find her way as a young adult, in a world that won't understand her powers.

I loved her family, her parents are so nurturing, and warm with the right amount of stern / spice.

It was impossible to put this book down to life, the story moves forward in a way that keeps you engaged with the action, while building up lore. The tie ins for Greek mythology is fantastic. There aren't enough stories about hecate, and I adored Kalynn's take on history. All of the magical / witch type elements are mysterious, yet believable. I hope we get more in depth history of some of the town folk as the series progresses.

I can't wait for the next book in this series, the ending is such a huge cliffhanger, yet completely wraps up the plot for this book, which is insane.

You'll love this book if you love magic in plain sight, family history, and modern day quests. 
The Book of Magic, by Alice Hoffman

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adventurous emotional inspiring mysterious medium-paced

5.0

 What a journey this series is. Not going to lie, this installment made me cry multiple times.

If you've read all the books you're going to fall right into place with Alice's writing style, and the journey thus far of the Owen's Family. I adore how well everything tied together so well, from strands she left loose in each of the three previous books.

If you're coming from the movie Practical Magic, Alice does a really good job of summarizing the two prequals, and the events that took place in PM that did not happen in the movie.

There are multiple things happening within this story, a series is ending, characters are growing, and changing their roles in the family. It's an amazing journey. So many times I found myself yelling NOOOO don't do that, which is funny because as a teen I always Identified with Gillian more, and now I am more of Sally. All the family bounds, and sisterly love is felt deep throughout the book.

Talking too much about the plot will give a lot away, so instead I'm going to tell you that she continues her practice of writing in such a manner that makes you want to google her witchy remedies, and feel like you are part of the family of witches.

This book has the happiest of endings, I couldn't have dreamed a better series ending than Alice wrote, it's perfect. Seriously perfect.

If you aren't used to Alice's writing, she does a lot of storytelling through telling instead of showing, but it is never off putting like most unfavorable telling books are.

If you love any part of the Owen's, the books or the movie, you will adore this book. Even if you've never read or seen a bit of it, you will find this book welcoming you home into a long standing witch family with secrets, love, and an everlasting bond. 

Thank you to netgalley for giving me a copy of this book.
Steeped in Suspicion, by Eryn Scott

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5.0

 I downloaded this without reading the blurb, thinking it was non-paranormal, and turns out, she can speak with ghosts, so that was a nice surprise. (as paranormals are my favorite lol trying to branch out!) It's the cover though, this series has some of my favorite covers! Instant download just from the cover alone.

At first I was a bit leery of this feeling like everything that could have gone wrong in her life did (don't want to give spoilers), but Rosemary has a lot of baggage. As the story went on, it does a great job at stretching all of those things out, and giving them the breath they need to not leave her seeming like a poor pitiful me type character.

I loved the flow of this story, it did a great job at introducing the town, and setting up the series. The mystery turns into two separate crimes, that has Rosemary talking to the majority of the townsfolk, and visiting many sites around town. I love this because it really let us get to know the area without any info dumping or out of place pop ins. The story does meander in places but it does it in a way that adds depth to Rosemary's emotional turmoil. Not just with her current situation in Pebble Cove, but also the situation she left behind in Portland. She does so much growth in this one book, that the slow parts of the story help it feel like it takes place over a much longer span of time.

All of the characters are quirky, and well developed. They feel like people I've met in my own small town and I look forward to getting to know them in future books. I'm glad that the ghosts feel like they will be as much apart of the cast as the living. So many ghost type books leave them in the sidelines, only using them when it's a must. But these ghosts enteract with Rosemary, same as the townsfolk. I was so EXCITED that romance was not apart of this book at all. YEEEESSSSS.

There were a few twists that I didn't expect, but was totally screaming NO WAY, NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE when they were revealed. Not everything was solved, and I'm glad because it just makes who they surround a bigger part of the cast, which I was rooting for.

You'll love this mystery if you love cozies that star a mid-twenties, educated sleuth who is working to find her own path in the world. 
Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch

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5.0

 The audiobook is fantastic, they found the perfect voice for this story.

If you don't enjoy British humor, think shows like Black Books, then you probably aren't going to find this book that amusing, and maybe a little boring. It reads much like how I would imagine a Londoner would tell me a story if I met him in a pub. Much different than an American urban fantasy.

The main character, Peter, takes you though the story of how he discovered magic is real/first case in the same way you'd expect him to tell you the story about how he landed his first girlfriend. Rough around the edges, unconventional and crass. I enjoyed his laid back take on magic, and his lot in life.

This world has an array of characters that I look forward to getting to know better in future books. I love the way everyone knows magic/paranormal is real to some extent, and either still don't believe it, or roll their eyes at it as if it's childish. Makes it more realistic in the sense that it's very likely how people would act about it.

The author does a fantastic job at introducing the reader to a wide list of "this is real" situations in this world, without having a main character that is actually wanting to have a long chat about what the rules are or what is real. Peter remains skeptical until proven otherwise, pushes boundaries and experiments in a manner that is refreshingly normal.

The mystery is well laid out, kept me guessing all the way to the end. I am curious if the future books will be as expansive, or if this one was just so we could get to know all the major players in the world.

You'll love this book if you like to believe that magic is real, and follow a low brow male lead detective as he shakes up tradition.

Notes: HP Mentions, infant death.