A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

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 ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

SYNOPSIS

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen. Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.


Why should you read THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd

As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful. She looks up at him, startled, from the bed.

– Things in Jars, Jess Kidd

I love reading historical fiction and if it has a hint of mystery and/or fantasy mixed into it, I’ll jump on it right away. This was my first time reading a Jess Kidd novel and I can’t believe I didn’t come across her writing before.

Things in Jars is set in the year 1863 when London was a cesspool of crimes and diseases. We follow the story of a female detective Bridie Devine as she attempts to rescue 6 year old Christobel, the kidnapped child of a Lord Berwick. It certainly doesn’t help Bridie that she is a female in a world of male detectives and that she was unable to prevent the death of a child in her last case.

Christobel is not an ordinary child for it seems that she has extraordinary abilities, can play with others’ memories. Her eyes see too much and she has pike’s teeth that can wreak serious damage. However, Bridie is determined not to fail another child and thus, she with her giant but wonderful maid Cora and the ghost of a prizefighter named Ruby, she sets out on a dangerous path to find Christobel.

The timelines are divided are divided into two as we go back to Bridie’s past and come back to her present. Bridie’s past shows us her coming from Ireland when she was a child, collecting corpses with Gan, her time as laboratory assistant to Dr John Eames at Albery Hall, and wearing the clothes of the dead Lydia. We learn soon enough that Bridie’s past links into her current investigation.

… the low, thick fog that has descended upon the city like an unwashed bedsheet. Oh, the unwholesome colour! Like sinus rot, and dense, like only a London Particular can be. You could scoop it into a tankard and it would mug there.

– THINGS IN JARS, JESS KIDD

I can’t sing enough praises about Jess Kidd‘s writing. Her characters are so lively and colourful that they leap out of the page and you stare at them in wonder. Besides Bridie’s housekeeper/friend Cora, the ghost of a boxer who’s in love with Bridie, we also meet characters such as the predatory and sly Mrs Bibby and the viciously dangerous Gideon.

It had all the elements of a perfect Victorian-era detective novel. There are gruesome murders, double dealing, never ending rains that threaten to tear down a city, and deadly villians that come back to haunt from the dead. In a time when medical profession was bound by any ethics, Jess KIdd immaculately describes the gruesome outcome when the penchant of curiosities knows no bound. She writes about corrupt anatomy collectors who are desperate to acquire living anomalies by any means necessary and preserve them in their jars.

Overall, I highly recommend this book not only because of its encorporation of fantasy and mystery, beautifully alive characters, and the storytelling but also because of the brilliant author who wrote it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Connect with Author Jess Kidd here .

  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication Date: 04 April 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 416 Pages

Do you think you’ll read THINGS IN JARS? Do you like reading historical fiction set in the Victorian era? Have you read any similar books or Jess Kidd’s previous books namely The Hoarder and Himself ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A trip to a magical Paris during the french revolution | Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Enchantée by Gita Trelease review

The Priory of the Orange Tree Goodreads cover
Cover ( Goodreads)
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SYNOPSIS

When the Sky fell on Splendor summary
Photo credit : mine, Synopsis: Goodreads

Why should you read Enchantée by Gita Trelease? 

Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.

― GITA TRELEASE, ENCHANTÉE

Enchantée takes place during the onset of the French Revolution when the people of France we’re starving while the nobles including the king and queen looked on. However, this version of France has a twist: a magical one. Paris was a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians.

Camille Durbonne, our protagonist, is a magician but she doesn’t want to be. Camille has no choice but to use magic to provide for herself and her siblings.

Camille’s reluctance to use magic is understandable since all magic comes at a price and the price is one’s sorrow. Camille doesn’t lack sorrow since her parents died of small pox and left her fending for her abusive brother and sick sister. All Camille wants is all her sorrows to end and to find happiness like she did before. Camille does find happiness,if only momentarily.

“Magicians needed sorrow. And deep sorrow existed only because of love.” 

One day Camille saves two boys from dying in a hot-balloon and this is where she meets someone called Lazare. This day reminds Camille of bittersweet childhood memories and for a moment there’s only joy and nothing else. However, Camille is soon given a painful reminder of sorrow in the form of her brother. Arriving home, Camille finds all of her and her sister Sophie’s belongings and money and it could only be done by her brother. Camille has no choice but go find her brother at Versailles and demand their valuable possessions.

It may have been easy arriving at Versailles but leaving was much harder. After discovering her brother passed out at a gambling table, Camille finds herself in a trap when two women arrive wearing Camille’s stolen dresses . In order to get back her stolen dresses, jewels and money, Camille must gamble with the two women.

I forgot to mention earlier but there are three kinds of magic mentioned in the world of Enchantée. At first, Camille only uses only the first kind of magic, i.e. using her sorrow to turn metals into coins. Thereafter, she uses a darker kind or the second kind of magic called the glamour.

As Camille begins to gamble with magic at Versailles, she discovers that court life is not what she imagined at all. As she begins to use glamour magic to give herself a new identity at court, she discovers that she isn’t the only magician there. As lies pile up, will Camille be able to remember her true purpose or loose herself in the magic and glamour of it all ?

“Papa’s ghost might have whispered in her ear, there would be consequences, some of them not fair. How else would you know you had done something, if there was no change? No shift in the world?” 

― Gita Trelease, Enchantée

What I loved was the magical twist to one of my favourite places, the worldbuilding, it’s diversity rep(there is a queer couple and a biracial character), it’s soft romance.

What I didn’t love was the length of the story. I think it could have been shortened by a whole lot. There were so many unnecessary scenes in the ARC that I had to skim some of it. Since I read an ARC so I hope the final version has been corrected of this.

Someone asked on Insta if this had a world similar to Caraval. Well, not quite. It’s entirely different.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love reading about Paris, historical fantasy and magical fantasy(not sure if that’s a word).

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 glowing stars.

Author: Connect with Author Gita Trelease here .

  • Publisher: Flatiron/Macmillan
  • Publication Date: 05 Feb 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 434 Pages
Thank you for reading my blog post

Do you think you’ll read ENCHANTÉE? Do you enjoying reading fantasy mixed with historical fiction? I loved visiting this fictional Paris. What favourite city of yours would you like to see in a fantasy setting? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A beautiful story cocooned ​within an ​equally​ beautiful cover| ARC Review of We Must Be Brave

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet review
Background images : Mine(Instagram @book_rambler)

We Must Be Brave Goodreads cover
Cover ( Goodreads)
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We Must Be Brave summary
Background image : mine; Synopsis: Goodreads

SHE WAS FAST ASLEEP on the back seat on the bus. Curled up, thumb in mouth. Four, maybe five years old.

Frances Liardet,We Must be Brave

This is the story of Ellen Parr and her love for her foster daughter, Pamela. The book starts off with Ellen finding a sleeping but abandoned child in a bus. Ellen searches for the child’s mother but no one on the bus has seen her. Distraught, Ellen takes the child -Pamela- into her care and meanwhile, she searches for Pamela’s mother. However, Ellen soon discovers that Pamela’s mother is dead and apparently, Pamela has no other relative who can take care of her. This marks the beginning of a beautiful mother-daughter relationship which is the central theme of the story. 

Years go by, the war ends and so does the time Ellen can spend with Pamela. Ellen has to let Pamela go and they may never see each other again or will they ?

My eyes stung with frustrated tears. I watched the bus emerge from the dip and rush on up the hill, through the bare trees and away to Waltham.

-Frances Liardet, We Must Be Brave

This heartbreaking story is set during the 1940s and spans years through the ’70s till 2010. We learn of Ellen’s past and present and then, at last, we get a glimpse into Pamela’s present. I had no problem with the timeline as it was seamlessly written. I loved the ending too, it left me somewhat heartbroken but content ( am I making any sense?). 

What I didn’t like was some parts of the dialogue and some secondary characters. I felt that the book could have been a bit shorter if some of the parts were cut out. Besides that, I loved this historical fiction where we get a glimpse of one of many consequences of war and life. 

We Must Be Brave | Book Rambler


Overall, I would recommend this tear-jerker of historical fiction where you can glimpse the different consequences of war and the unconventional love between mother and daughter.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Author: Connect with Author Frances Liardet here .

  • Publisher: 4th Estate Books
  • Publication Date: 7 Feb 2019
  • Paperback: 896 Pages
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Have you read WE MUST BE BRAVE, or, the author’s previous novel The Game? If your answer is ‘NO’ to both the questions, then, will you add it to your TBR?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

New Year, New Book : The Wolf in the Whale

Cover blog post

Synopsis: A young Inuit shaman’s epic quest for survival in the frozen lands of North America in 1000 AD.

Born with the soul of a hunter and the language of the gods, Omat is destined to become a shaman like her grandfather. To protect her people, she invokes the spirits of the sky, the sea, and the air.

But the gods have stopped listening, the seals won’t come, and Omat’s family is starving.

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys through the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, together they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world…or save it.

The Wolf in the Whale is a powerful tale of magic, discovery and adventure, featuring an unforgettable narrator ready to confront the gods themselves.

cover image
Cover(Goodreads)

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On the hills above the camp, far from curious eyes and listening ears, I flung my song into the sky. The new words came easily to my lips. I sang all through the long twilight, until the sky grew black as peat and spangled with stars. Clouds swirled in, ghostly white in the Moon’s glow, and I danced with them, knowing that Sila the Air moved to the rhythm of my drumbeats.

Continue reading “New Year, New Book : The Wolf in the Whale”

ARC Review ​: The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim

Cover image of blog post

Synopsis: In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges ahead, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.

But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?

Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.

cover image
Cover(Goodreads)

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Review: There are a couple of words I could use to describe Eugenia Kim’s The Kinship of Secrets and those are beautiful, riveting and heartbreaking.

Continue reading “ARC Review ​: The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim”