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!
The House of Whispers by Laura Purcell
The House of Whispers
Author: Laura Purcell
Published: June 9, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr. Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.
Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.
This was a weird one. I think my only real criticism is that the end was a little too open for my liking. I mean I liked it, but I wanted more. Morvoren House is one of those amazing old houses that I would love to live in and explore all its mysterious books and crannies. I’m not a huge fan of Hester’s character; she’s kinda stupid in many common sense ways and that brings her down quite a bit. But everyone else adds fascinating and complex issues. The story kept me guessing almost to the end and once everything started to fall into place, it was neat and clear! This is a perfect book for those who like those gothic mysteries!