Book Review: The Witch’s Heart

The Witch's HeartBook Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

 

I was so excited to see this absolutely gorgeous book (props to whoever designed this cover) about Norse mythology and a witch. I love retellings and witches, so this was right up my ally.

After Angrboda angers Odin, she is left wounded and alone but makes a life for herself, deciding to stay out of sight and harm’s way. However, she falls in love with Loki and they have 3 children with fates that put them all in danger.

There is so much research obvious in this novel – and reconciling of the fluidness of myth. Angrboda is an interesting character, fiercely protective of her children, haunted by visions and glimmers of her past life, impatient with the world of the gods and their whims.

I enjoyed her friendships with the women who visit her, her independence, and her fierce loyalty, all of which make for some interesting ups and downs – joy and conflict.

The author writes beautifully and had me completely engaged, creating a wonderful picture of the world Angrboda lived. I didn’t even get confused with the world building, which can sometime be difficult in myth (and I appreciated the glossary at the end for more information). I happily and easily lost myself in this book.

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Book Review: Glimmer As You Can

Glimmer As You Can by Danielle Martin

 

This interesting historical fiction takes place in 1962, revolving around 3 key characters, Madeline, Lisa, and Elaine.

Madeline owns a dress shop and turns it into a safe space social club for women at night called the Starlight. She also has secrets from a bad marriage. Lisa is a young stewardess who wants to settle down and get married. Elaine is an ex-pat in a volatile relationship.

All 3 women find friendship and support at the social club where we get to know a whole raft of interesting characters. But Madeline’s ex husband returns and creates trouble for the Starlight and puts the women at risk, upending their lives.

I enjoyed reading about the history of the time and experiencing life through the eyes of these women. Martin did a great job of portraying this time, how women were treated, and what their lives were like.

I did struggle a bit with the pacing of the book, especially in the middle. The tension certainly picked up in the second half as the story changed and the peril increased. However, the Starlight felt like a wonderful place I would like to visit myself.

Overall, I did enjoy this story of friendship and life of women in the 1960s.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.

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Book Review: The Imperfects

The ImperfectsThe Imperfects by Amy Meyerson

“Compassionate, thoughtful, and surprisingly moving, this dysfunctional family saga will satisfy fans of Maggie Shipstead and Celeste Ng.” —Booklist

From the bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays comes a captivating new novel about a priceless inheritance that leads one family on a life-altering pursuit of the truth.

The Millers are far from perfect. Estranged siblings Beck, Ashley and Jake find themselves under one roof for the first time in years, forced to confront old resentments and betrayals, when their mysterious, eccentric matriarch, Helen, passes away. But their lives are about to change when they find a secret inheritance hidden among her possessions—the Florentine Diamond, a 137-carat yellow gemstone that went missing from the Austrian Empire a century ago.

Desperate to learn how one of the world’s most elusive diamonds ended up in Helen’s bedroom, they begin investigating her past only to realize how little they know about their brave, resilient grandmother. As the Millers race to determine whether they are the rightful heirs to the diamond and the fortune it promises, they uncover a past more tragic and powerful than they ever could have imagined, forever changing their connection to their heritage and each other.

Inspired by the true story of the real, still-missing Florentine Diamond, The Imperfects illuminates the sacrifices we make for family and how sometimes discovering the truth of the past is the only way to better the future.

Review:
This was an interesting story of a very dysfunctional family and the fallout of the death of the secretive grandmother. One of the granddaughters inherits a 137 carat diamond — something unheard of. There is mystery involved: How did their grandmother get the diamond? Did she steal it? Who does it really belong to?
All the while, there are family squabbles of an authentic sort. The 3 grandchildren are all very different. They could each use some money. They each have their secrets. Then there is their mother who has not been a model parent.
I like the play on the title, The Imperfects. The diamond is imperfect, which is how they can authenticate it. Also, the people in the family are imperfect.
This is a well conceived family drama that looks back to the war, trying to piece together the grandmother’s life. The characters feel well rounded. There is also a certain almost thriller like tension around who the diamond actually belongs to and who will claim it in the end.
That being said, the ending is clever (and that’s all I’ll say so as not to give anything away).
Thank you to Netgalley and Park Row for the review copy.
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Book Review: Things in Jars

Things in Jars with bookmark and catThings in Jars by Jess Kidd

Bridie Devine, female detective extraordinaire, is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

Review:
I really enjoyed this unique historical fantasy book. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and the author has an amazing vocabulary, often creating sentences that I stopped to re-read.
Bridie is a fantastic character. I love her no nonsense attitude. She’s smart and unconventional and the kind of character I enjoy. She does things on her own terms. I also especially liked her housemaid. The supporting characters added so much to this book.
The author also does an interesting job in weaving in myth and the paranormal into Victorian life. She has clearly done her research on early medicine, which I found it fascinating.
The pacing of the book did suffer a little in the middle, but all of the wonderful characters amply made up for that.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.
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