NetGalley Review: Romanov

Before I say anything else, let me say that I have an intense interest in Russian history, and in particular, the last Romanov tsar and his family. I’m also a fantasy nerd, so I was delighted to get a copy of Nadine Brandes’ fantasy interpretation of their final days, and excited for a historical fantasy addition to the many books about the tragic end of the Romanovs.

The book was very well researched, and I think Brandes did a great job of weaving historical facts into the narrative. However, I did not like this book as much as I’d expected to. One main issue I had was with the characters, whom I felt were flat and uninteresting. I think this may be related to the use of first-person p.o.v., which sometimes makes for lazy characterization. I just couldn’t seem to connect with any of the characters, which was totally surprising, considering they were based on such well-known, interesting historical figures, who led rich lives and left behind a large amount of personal documents.

I also felt that there were some pacing issues – the book rushed when I wanted it to linger, and dawdled when it should have focused on action. I would have also liked more backstory and world-building – I feel like Brandes introduced some great ideas and created a world that could provide the backdrop for other stories (did I hear someone say prequel?)

I think the biggest problem is that the story of the Nicholas II and his family, including the most famous daughter, the lost Grand Duchess Anastasia, is just far too dark to make for any kind of reimagining. The tragedy may have happened over a hundred years ago, but the brutality of the deaths is still too fresh, and it casts a shadow over even this novel.

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and Nadine Brandes, as well as NetGalley, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Expected publication: May 7, 2019

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Lace me up, Scotty

¡Hola chiocs! Sup. Today I’m playing #saturdaylibrarian and frankly I’ve had enough goddamn weeding for the day, there’s only so much getting rid of books a girl can handle. Usually this would be the point where I start wedding planning to pass the time, but, miracle of all miracles, we may actually be back on track.

Yes, it is noice.

On to the review! Today, it’s The Corset by Laura Purcell, and if you read this post, you’ll remember that her first novel, The Silent Companions, was one of my favourite reads of 2018.

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Cover Talk

Aesthetically, I like it BUT I feel like it doesn’t convey the proper amount of creepiness. Because this book is creepy dialled alllllllllll the way up to 11.

The Summary Heist

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Robyn Says

Damn, guys, I was NOT expecting this book to be THIS good. It was soooooooo creepy and ominous and Gothic, and maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually didn’t guess the twist until really close to the big reveal.

I loved the dual setting of the book – the working class slum and the upper crust society of Victorian England. Add a faintly supernatural murder mystery, compelling characters, a whole lot of information about Victorian dressmaking, and phrenology to boot?? Talk about Robyn catnip.

(Sorry.)

I read a few other review of The Corset that mentioned the book dragging or feeling bloated with unnecessary characters, but I disagree. I actually wish the book was longer (*cough* sequel *cough*), and, too, the meandering quality added to both the creepiness levels and the overall Victorian feel of the novel. I mean, Dickens, need I say more? (No.)

I really enjoyed this book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a horror-lite novel. I will definitely be thinking about this one for a while.

Verdict

READ IT. Loved it, adding it to the insta-rec pile. You will not be disappointed. Giving you the official #readingrobynguarantee.

Best Lines

I didn’t take notes, I read this on my phone lol. And the ones on Goodreads aren’t the best but…

“But instead I shared the fate of all girls who are poor of pocket: I was tied to my work, like a needle tethered by thread.”

Fancasting couch

Ruth

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Saoaeriseise Ronan

Dorothea

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*Luther voice* ALIIIIIIIICE

Billy

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ugh, I don’t get it

Book Boyfriend material

Hmmmmmmm, maybe that posh guy who had alllllllllll the tea, but really, no one, this was definitely a girls kicking ass book.

Rating

9 out of 10 poisonous but so so pretty green velvet gowns.

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT

Totally off topic, but since it was Valentine’s Day a few days ago, have a pic of me and my gorgeous fiance 😉 I like to show him off 😍

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God we’re cute.

Until next time. Read on, chicos.

-xo, R

Long live the King…

Hey hey, my adorable internet friends/acquaintances/strangers/enemies. Been a hot minute. See my previous post for a cryptic explanation. (Spoiler I refuse to review books, which is normally a thing I love doing, if having to review books is a thing I HAVE to do, I don’t know why, I AM AN ONION, I am LAYERED.)

Updates?

Work:

Bae:

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Family:

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Reading:

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Writing:

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Wedding planning:

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General state mind:

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TO THE REVIEW!

Today, I’m talking about my most anticipated read of 2019. THERE WILL BE EMOTIONS. And gifs. Of course.

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Cover Talk

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

The Summary Heist

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Robyn Says

Okay. OKAY. O k a y.

So if you’re a fan of the Grisha or Six of Crows series, you will already know about this book, have probably already read it, and are like SHUT UP ROBYN YOU TWIT LET’S PLEASE JUST FLAIL TOGETHER. In which case,

If you haven’t or aren’t, what the **** is wrong with you, friendo?S

Seriously, though. I’ve been waiting for a Nikolai book since the moment he sauntered into the my life. He is my favourite character in the Grisha series by far, so when Leigh Bardugo announced he would be getting his own books, I was delighted.

Needless to say, the expectations were high. In all fairness, I don’t know if any book could have met them. But King of Scars came veryyyyyy close. There was a great, intriguing plot, further world-building, complex characters both familiar and new, and enough twists and turns to leave me surprised at the ending.

I devoured this book in less than two days, so I might need to reread it at a slower pace to appreciate everything, but the only real issues I had were that I wanted more romance (yeah, I know, whatever, I am a simple woman, make them all kiss please) and that I felt there were some pacing issues. Even with so much happening, at times the story seemed to drag at certain points. I also would have liked more information about the Saints and how that all worked (no spoilers, but what the heck????)

Overall though, amazing, love it, bring on book 2!!!!!!!!!

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Verdict

Holy frozen bananas, READ IT. But fair warning, you’re definitely gonna need to read the Grisha series first (and also maybe the Six of Crows duology because NINAAAAAAAAAAA)

Best Lines

“Most women suffer thorns for the sake of the flowers, but we who wield power adorn ourselves with flowers to hide the sting of our thorns” UMMMMMM TATTOO THIS ON MY BODY PLEASE

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Fancasting couch

OH YES okay where do we start……….

Nikolai:

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Zoya:

Nina:

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The Darkling REDACTED but you know who it is:

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God I’m good.

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Book Boyfriend material

THERE IS NO QUESTION: Sturmhond, Korol Rezni, little sobachka, the Too-Clever Fox, Nikolai freaking Lanstov.

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Rating

9 out of 10 gorgeous tormented monster boys.

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(Sorry)

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT

I got nothing. Have some kittens.

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You’re welcome. Until next time, my dudes.

-xo, R

 

NetGalley Review: Will Haunt You

This is a horror novel unlike anything I’ve ever read. From the very first sentence, the eerie, creepy vibes will have you turning pages to find out what happens next. An intriguing premise and highly readable prose make this a book you’ll remember. Following ex-rocker Jesse from a one-night reunion with his old band into a nightmarish ordeal that may or may not have something to do with a cursed book given to him by his old bandmate, Will Haunt You will have readers questioning what’s real and what’s a figment of the darkest parts of Jesse’s imagination.

The ideas are fresh and unique, and Kirk is excellent at making the hair on the back of your neck stand up, but I thought that some of the story was disjointed and at times confusing. That also added to the aura of dread overall, and there were some great twists. I would recommend this book to horror fans looking for something a little different. I’m excited to see what Brian Kirk writes next.

Many thanks to Flame Tree Press and Brian Kirk, as well as NetGalley, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Expected publication: March 14, 2019

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Same as it ever was… and the return of the nonverbal referral

Seventeen days into this year and I’ve already checked if mercury is retrograde like thirty times, so that should give you some idea of where I’m at. Things fall apart, friendos, and in this wise words of the Talking Heads, well how did I get here???

The only thing going right so far, touch wood, is the books. I’ve set my 2019 Goodreads challenge at 105 books, and I’m currently sitting at 11, which puts me 7 books ahead of schedule. Yay me.

Today I’m nonverbally reviewing Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, the long-awaited and much-anticipated conclusion to the Throne of Glass series.

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Ready? Ok, here we go…

I think I’ve hit my Maas threshold. Enough already.

Back eventually with actual words.

– xo, R

 

NetGalley Review: Little Darlings

This highly readable debut from author Melanie Golding is a clever and creepy reinterpretation of classic folk- and fairy-tales. An elegant melding of crime fiction, fantasy, and horror, it tells the story of a young, isolated mother convinced that her newborn twin baby boys have been switched with “changelings” by a malevolent fairy creature. She is dismissed as unhinged by local law enforcement, except for a rogue police officer convinced there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Every sentence is infused with suspense and dread. The visceral imagery conjured straight from the darkest fairy tales will keep readers trying to decide who is telling the truth until the final page. I also thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of excerpts from fairytales and folktales from around the world, providing context for readers who may not be as familiar with some of the lore alluded to in the novel.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Melanie Golding, as well as NetGalley, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Expected publication: April 30, 2019

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