Book Review: The Cloisters by Katy Hays
Author: Katy Hays
Published: November 1, 2022
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.
Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.
A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
My first book of 2023! And unfortunately it was kind of a dud. I went into it expecting a lot of supernatural mystery and spooky elements … what I got was adult drama and a murder mystery. The best thing about this book was the setting! Now I want to go to NYC and visit the Cloisters! The world of history and artifacts gets me all geeked out! There was a nice focus on some of those artifacts, but even then, it didn’t feel like enough. And there was some odd historical research that I really wasn’t able to follow; a lot of mental gymnastics that I don’t think would hold up very well in academia. Overall, I was just disappointed, I expected so much more!
Audio ARC Review: Immortality: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
Immortality: A Love Story
Series: The Anatomy Duology #2
Author: Dana Schwartz
To Be Published: February 28, 2023
Audiobook: 12 hours 2 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 12-19, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Hazel Sinnett is alone and half-convinced the events of the year before—the immortality, Beecham’s vial—were a figment of her imagination. She doesn’t even know whether Jack is alive or dead. All she can really do now is treat patients and maintain Hawthornden Castle as it starts to decay around her.
When saving a life leads to her arrest, Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message intervenes: She has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly daughter of King George IV. Soon Hazel is dragged into the glamor and romance of a court where everyone has something to hide, especially the enigmatic, brilliant members of a social club known as the Companions to the Death.
As Hazel’s work entangles her more and more with the British court, she realizes that her own future as a surgeon isn’t the only thing at stake. Malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and Hazel may be the only one capable of setting things right.
Immortality is the second novel in the Anatomy duology and I enjoyed it just as much as the first! Hazel’s story continues and not always in the best of ways. After trying to save a life, Hazel finds herself arrested until a turn of events happens: The King wants her to be the doctor to Princess Charlotte. Hmm.. either that or rot in prison? What kind of choice is that?
Hazel finds herself in all kinds of situations she never expected and that even includes a secret society! And of course, possible romances pop up for Hazel.
This duology is quite the mix of historical fiction, gothic, romance and more. I really like Hazel, she is so ahead of the times, and so young as well! Who knows where she might have gone had she been born in modern times. She is very determined and independent.
The novel was slower moving, but as it progresses it does speed up and I was fully involved in all the elements of the story. Immortality answers questions that were left open in Anatomy and we do have an ending to this duology that I was pleased with. Definitely read both of these books if you like historical fiction, YA novels (though Hazel comes off as so much older than her actual age!) Gothic novels, and strong female characters that are way out of their element.
I really enjoyed both Anatomy and Immortality. Many thanks to Macmillian Audio for granting me an audio arc to listen to and review. The only other thing I can say is: These covers are just gorgeous and are worth the price of buying this duology all on its own! If you enjoy these books in the slightest, you will have to own your own copies!
Audiobook Review: Sign Here by Claudia Lux
Author: Claudia Lux
Published: October 25, 2022
Audiobook: 10 hours 28 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 14-20, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is Jägermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.
When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.
But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.
Sign Here did not work for me at all. It has an interesting premise, but that was it. There are two storylines in this novel that are separate from each other until they very eventually come together. We have Peyote who is in the 5th level of Hell and trying to get his promotion. And then he has to work with Cal. Then we have the Harrison family who are going to their summer house for vacation. So we have Hell and Earth stories. The very end of the novel made me go: Whoa!
I listened to the audiobook and both narrators did a good job with what they had. I would give Lux another chance to see if she is an author for me or not. This was her debut novel.
Sign Here does show the reader to not just sign a contract: Really read it and even read between the lines! Especially if a dealmaker and an eternity in Hell is involved.