Book reviews, Uncategorized

Immortal City – Amy Kuivalainen (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Five ‘Living Language’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼

My first five star review ever, brace yourselves for the glory that is this book. 

‘Immortal City’ is an adult contemporary fantasy novel by Amy Kuivalainen. It’s set in Venice and tells us about Atlantis – what a delightful combination. Never having been a fan of contemporary fantasy or Atlantis, I was so pleasantly surprised! 

The world is beautiful. It’s Venice but turned up to eleven. I have never been but I could vividly imagine the canals and the buildings described. The bits about Atlantis are also wonderful – full of colour and promise for next books. 

The plot and the pacing is well-done. The book follows the protagonist while she solves the ritualistic serial murders happening around Venice while discovering Atlantis and engaging in a steamy romance along the way. Once this books grips you, it doesn’t let go. The twists are predictable but still satisfying, and the whole books comes with a subtle global warming warning.

I loved the strong female protagonist. Exactly what an empowered woman should be, Penelope is brave but vulnerable, smart but capable of trust and care. She is easy to like without being on the nose and her genuine interest in her job was refreshing – so many protagonists forget about what drives them as the plot swipes them away to bigger and better things. 

The side characters are entertaining and there is a good mixture of banter and romance mixed with the action. Alexis is wonderful – protective but not overbearing, strong and suave but not an asshole. The book is a sterling example of finding the balance in all things to create likable characters in a colourful, realistic world.

The writing style is easy to read and polished. Ms Kuivalainen weaves Italian words well in the text to create a more authentic reading experience but I found myself reaching for Google a few times. I can’t speak Italian but I can now read it! (-ish)

The Panda Meter

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Dark Intent – A B Endacott (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Healing’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘Dark Intent’ is a novel which features a piece of the fantasy world Godkissed Continent the author has set a few other books in.  It’s a story about a conflicted healer and her fate in a hostile environment which is not only scary but also surprisingly appreciative of her gifts.

I liked the setting. The idea with the takeover is very well done, and as someone of Bulgarian descent, it really hit home (Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule for over 5 centuries and many people were forced to abandon Christianity and become Muslim).

It is obvious Ms Endacott was very aware of the world and navigated the characters effortlessly in it. The world-building is well-scattered along the pages and I didn’t feel lost having not read the companion novels. The pacing however, is a bit off making the book easy to put down and difficult to pick up again.

The plot is overall okay, with the ending coming quite abruptly but realistically. ‘Dark Intent’ is primarily a character story, the action happening around the protagonist in order to prompt them to think or do something. I don’t usually mind this, as long as the characters are well-developed.

This is where I feel the book failed. The characters, despite Ms Endacott’s best efforts to provide them ample opportunities for growth, remained quite simple and one-dimensional. I wanted to know more about Symon for example – he had an interesting start then was completely overshadowed by the generic beefcake that was Ashtyn. I couldn’t engage with Freya as a lot of her actions had me internally screaming. Her character was inconsistent. I hope she grows more in future books.

The writing style is good. It’s easy to read. The ARC copy I got from NetGalley, however, was poorly formatted, making it very hard to read. There were some typos and repetitions which could have been cleaned in the proofreading stage.

Overall, it’s a good story which raises important questions about humanity and faith. I do not regret reading it as it made me think about my own history and experiences.

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

Subscribe to this website by clicking the +Follow button for more.

Book reviews, Uncategorized

Bursts of Fire – Susan Forest (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three and half ‘Magiel’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Bursts of Fire’ is the first novel of Susan Forest’s series ‘Addicted to Heaven’ where she sets out to explore the complex world of addictions. Using a vast fantasy world as the backdrop, it makes for an interesting read with a unique premise.

The world is built beautifully, with descriptions scattered about the chapters, allowing the reader to put the jigsaw of that massive land of many kingdoms. The world was well-formed in the author’s head before she put it down on the page but I felt like some of the information is a bit too much for a first book – at times it was hard to keep up.

The plot is built well and fits with the overarching theme of addiction marvellously (retrospectively, as I didn’t realise it did until the very last page – in the author blurb). The unique take on the Heavens as a normal destination was refreshing and the whole idea with death tokens and magic being time, and the payment being jumping in your own timeline was simply delicious. So creative! Kudos, Ms Forest.

The pacing was strange – the jumps in time connected to the narrative, were executed poorly, leaving me thinking ‘Wait, what? When did this happen? Oh, it’s been three months.’ It was at times a very confusing read.

The characters are not this novel’s strongest point. There is good selection of different narrators, presenting plenty of different points of view but I couldn’t connect emotionally to any of them but Eamon – and the poor lad wasn’t even a POV character! I struggled with hearing their unique voices and had to frequently figure out who was speaking.

Despite that, it is a good tale of sisterhood. It was beautiful to see the three sisters survive together, grow apart and then find each other in a world that had robbed them of adulthood at their own pace.

Rennika is slightly unrealistic to me because she was such a mature, reasonable character – do 11-13-year-olds behave so well? Maybe. I am not convinced.

The writing style is good. But good means things could be better. There were spelling and punctuation mistakes and dubious grammar. Not too many but enough to make me want to mention them. I liked the extensive vocabulary of the author and her ability to tie it to complement a character’s inner world. Overall, well done.

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Plot 🐼🐼🐼🐼

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Pace 🐼🐼🐼

Writing Style 🐼🐼🐼

An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

Subscribe to this website by clicking the +Follow button for more.