Book Review: Finna

FinnaFinna by Nino Cipri

When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but our two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.

Can friendship blossom from the ashes of a relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.

Review:
I enjoyed this novella — it was different from what I normally read. It takes place in a store called LitenVäld, a loosely veiled Ikea, complete with confusing and generic layouts. An elderly woman goes missing into another dimension and 2 workers, Ava and Jules (who have recently broken up) are tasked with finding her. Amazing concept!
The relationship between Ava and Jules is really well done — the reader feels the awkwardness between this newly broken up couple and how there are still tender feelings beneath the upset. The homogeneous Idea backdrop was a perfect foil for the non-binary character and young people questioning their lives.
Then there was the whole traveling to parallel universes, populated by person eating chairs, drones, or swashbuckling grandmother types.
This is a great read if you are looking for something different and fast that will hook you with adventure, social questions, and interesting characters.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

Review:
This is a gorgeous book — starting with the enticing cover and finishing with beautiful, luxurious writing and an engaging, imaginative story. I love it when publishers put a lot of thought into a cover and this one is stunning!
I was captured by the story, the mystique of January and her life with Mr Locke, the way the doors open into different worlds, her notebook, and the sinister overtones and mystery to what is going on.
The different story lines and points of view really drew me in and kept me wanting more, eager to find out how they all came together. I was so invested in January and her desire for self discovery, her courage, and her plight. However, one of the most memorable things for me is her dog! I keep thinking about him.
This is a wonderful portal fantasy that weaves together past, present, and even different worlds in a beautiful way. It was a book I luxuriated in and was sad when it was over.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus

The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus by Alanna McFall

Chelsea is determined to make it to her brother’s wedding. And she’s not going to let the fact that she’s been dead for two years stop her.
Joining with her mime friend from a New York City park and her ghostly mentor with forty years of afterlife under her belt, the three women set out on foot for San Francisco. Along the way, they are faced with joy, sorrow, and the haunting surprises of the open road. This humorous and lightly macabre journey explores relationships, personal burdens, and what it means to keep moving, even when your heartbeat has stopped.
Review:
I loved this book. It was such a fun, interesting, and unique read.
Chelsea is a ghost and is friends with other ghosts in New York City, but has a ghostly best friend and mentor called Carmen. There is one woman, Cyndricka, who can see ghosts, but is a mute mime who communicates with sign language. The 3 decide to walk to San Francisco so that Chelsea can attend her brother’s wedding.
There is so much that happens along the way that bring out issues of relationship and family, forgiveness, life purpose, and what stops us. All 3 women need to learn to come to terms with issues from their past in order to move on. There are also tense moments involving both human and supernatural predators that the 3 women need to overcome.
The character development was great and felt authentic. I felt so much for all 3 women and wanted the best for them so badly. And the writing and descriptions were terrific and engaging, keeping me turning the pages.
I love how McFall dealt with big issues, but in a sensitive way. There is a lesbian character, but she is simply gay and it is one part of her character. Homelessness and how people are treated is also tackled, as is racism. Binding all of these big issues together is friendship and loyalty and purpose. It was interesting to explore these women looking back on their lives and deciding what was important and what wasn’t, and what paths to take in the future.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: The Return of King Lillian

The Return of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson

The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.

So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?

“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)

Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.

Review:
This is a fun story about Lillian, who doesn’t know who she is and is on a quest to find her home, and these are her adventures.
This book is told in a fairy tale like way, full of imagination, magic, talking horses, and fairies. It is reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for its childlike stories that speak to a larger audience.
Each of the chapters is another adventure and something that Lillian must learn to become the person she needs to be at the end. Lillian herself is, for the most part, a good character, and I enjoyed Hank, the horse.
I did find the book a bit slow at times and, I hate to say it, didn’t love the ending. First there was the idea that she enjoyed being a damsel in distress and and was happy being saved by a man (even though she had been a strong, take care of herself kind of character up until this point and this wish was joltingly strange), and then there was the idealization of her father who actually had treated her quite badly.
Overall, this is a cute book and I can see why many people like it, but, ultimately, it was not for me.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.
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