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 Girl with the Louding Voice

Book Review: The Girl with the Louding Voice

The Girl with the Louding VoiceThe Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to get an education so that she can escape and choose her own future.

Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”–the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.

When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing.

But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can–in a whisper, in song, in broken English–until she is heard.

Review:
Adunni has a great voice — she wants to get educated, become a teacher, and help others. She knows she has value and has an interesting, curious attitude toward life, believing that tomorrow will be a better day, despite what has happened today.
And horrible things do happen to Adunni. It is so difficult to read a book with so much abuse and mistreatment of others, especially when it is juxtaposed against affluence and prosperity. The author does an interesting job of explaining what it is like in Nigeria — the poverty, wealth, abuse, rich culture, the politics…
I liked Adunni, but, despite her louding voice, I found she was often pushed into standing up for herself and moving forward. It is a strange combination of ambition and circumstance. Other people really have to make her see opportunities, but perhaps that’s realistic.
Then there was the language in the book. Adunni is uneducated and the book is narrated in her broken English to highlight this fact. It was challenging to read because of this. I appreciate the author trying to show us something about Adunni but felt that because her thoughts wouldn’t have been in English but her native language in the first place, that this was strange. Just my opinion. Maybe we needed the language as a symbolic barrier?
Overall, though, this is a good book, full of inspiration and hope despite the often terrible events and subject matter.
Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton Books for the review copy.
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Book Review: There You Are

There You Are ereader on the beachThere You Are by Mathea Morais

Octavian Munroe is haunted by the life and death of his older brother in one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. Mina Rose has never quite fit in and wishes she was anything but white. Once lovers, now estranged, they both left St. Louis for fresh starts in the wake of grief and heartbreak.

In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death and the awakening of the Black Lives Matter movement, Octavian and Mina travel homeward. The record shop where they fell in love as teenagers in the 1990s is closing for good, sparking a desire for closure of their own.

This raw, powerful story of love and loss reckons with how where you come from shapes even the most fleeting collisions between friends, neighbors, and strangers.

Review:
I loved this book and tore right through it. I love how the story used the record store as its touchstone for the book and the chapters were based around a mixed tape.
This is a powerful story of now and the past, of the characters as they are and as they look back on those formative teenaged years from where they are now. The book explores the characters figuring out what they want, what they like, what it means to be African American in a racially segregated neighbourhood.
There is the love story between Octavian and Mina Rose, there are friendships built around music and experience. The characters are wonderful, flawed, and are trying to find their place in the world and I was totally engaged with them. On its surface, the book is a coming of age story, but the looking back from their adult years makes the book so much more than that. There are wonderful friendships and bonding at the record store where the owner seems to know just what everyone needs.
The author does a fantastic job of captivating the reader and I highly recommend this book.
Thank you to Netgalley and Amberjack publishing for the review copy.
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Character Interview: Marsias from A Thread in the Tangle

Summary of A Thread in the Tangle by Sabrina Flynn:

In a shattered realm where gods breathe and battle, sixteen-year-old Isiilde must find her feet among people who both despise and crave her kind. She trembles on a precipice, caught between the lust of men, the greed of kings, and an eternal struggle for dominance. As three powerful kingdoms vie to own her, the fire in her blood awakens, sparking a cataclysm of events that spiral into disaster. A barbarian, a madman, and a timid nymph are all who stand between light and oblivion.

Cover_singleHello, can you tell us your name and a bit about yourself.

Im Marsais.

Is that it?

My dear woman, I’m over two thousand years old. If I told you every name I’ve ever answered to then we could be here for a very long time.

Most people give me a bit more information. Aside from your name, you haven’t told me anything about yourself.

Ah, but a trickle of information can be more telling than a deluge. Silence speaks volumes.

It doesn’t make much sense for an interview.

Precisely. You’ve summed me up perfectly. Read more

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