Sophie Kinsella brings Becky Bloomwood (opps, Brandon) back into our lives with humor and heart just in time for Christmas!
Becky is still shopping way too much but she has evolved into the digital age: she is an online shopaholic. But she only purchases from discount site and charity sites! Not too bad right? But Becky is distracted by her online prizes by the Christmas Holiday. Her parents have asked her to host Christmas! Becky’s initial day dream is overwhelmed by the details that go into it. There is so much to do and so many people to please! It doesn’t help that her ex-boyfriend, now a rock idol, has sauntered into her life. Can Becky keep it together this Christmas Season or is she in over her head?
I love Becky but I am sad that she still hasn’t gotten past buying too much stuff and hiding it from her husband. The good news is that while that stays the same so does the heart that goes with Becky. Becky loves shopping for others and will go above and beyond for the perfect present. When that idea of care is magnified by the fact that she wants her family to have the perfect Christmas, she will do anything to get the right presents for the ones she loves. While there may be instances where she buys just to make herself happy, she shops to show how much she loves her family and friends.
Kinsella has always balanced her stories keeping them from being too frivolous while not dragging them down with the moral and that continues here. This novel, in particular, made me both laugh out loud and weep. I found myself so much in Becky this time and empathized with her more than ever. Even though I cried, the book didn’t get bogged down in tragedy and lack of hope. With Becky there is always heart.
With great fun and just as much heart, Christmas Shopaholic is Becky at her best.
Publication Date: October 15
I received an ARC through the publisher; all opinions are my own.
The Bird King is a colorful tale set in the times when Spain is expanding its land. Magic and luck fill this tale of adventure.
Fatima is a concubine to the sultan of Granada. She lives a pampered life as the Sultan’s favorite but has no freedom. She dreams of the world outside the palace. Placating her is her friend Hassan, a red headed scribe who has a magical talent. Whatever map he draws become reality and Fatima has him draw her windows showing off the world she will never see. When a delegation comes to Granada to discuss the sultan’s surrender, Fatima makes a friend with the woman who comes with them. But soon Fatima finds out there are ears everywhere and Hassan is wanted for crimes against the Holy Church. Fatima breaks him out of the palace with the help of djinn. But what is next? Where will they go? How will they create a new start?
G. Willow Wilson (of Ms. Marvel fame) spins an intricate tale capturing the tales of djinn and magic. I was swept away with the imagery of lands I hadn’t seen a
nd loved getting an inside look. It is the writer’s lush descriptions that pulls you into the world and the magic found inside it.
Unfortunately, the characters are flat. There isn’t much growth. Fatima finally breaks out of her self-importance at the very end of the book. While she does things that admirable, most of the time it is not because of a good heart and care for others; it is all selfishly motivated. She continues to act like a pampered palace dweller throughout the novel ever fully adapting to her surroundings. It is truly only her anger that motivates her and keeps her gong. She is brave but she doesn’t understand any life outside her own. The other characters are just as flat with very little, if any, character growth.
But the overall tale of magic and faith make the book worth reading. My favorite part is the last portion of book when magic is explored more in depth. It is here where you wish you had more insight into the characters and time in the magical lands.
Over all the Bird King is fantastical and magical but many of its characters fall short of the same magic
Publication Date: March 12
I received an ARC for review; All opinions are my own
I absolutely loved The Gilded Wolves. Roshani Chokshi builds a beautiful world of magic and high society.
It is Paris 1889, on the verge of the World’s Fair. While normal people are looking forward to seeing “exotic” forms of humans, the true event is happening within The Order. The Order controls the magical Babel stones, the pieces of stone left from where God knocked down the Tower of Bable. Each piece still exudes his power. Severin has been stripped of his house but knows there is a way to earn his place back. When the patriarch of the House of Nyx comes to him with a request, he knows that he has a chance to reclaim his honor. What Severin doesn’t know is that something bigger is brewing, bigger than him and his group of friends.
Severin’s diverse of group of friends adds realism and brings together a variety of cultures into the world. Laila hails from the east and uses her mystique as an entertainer. Zofia shows characteristics of being autistic; she uses her unique talents to become a prominent part of the team’s plan. Hypnos and Severin are both bastards of mixed blood. None of these characters are negated to stereotypes and it is truly beautiful.
The world Chokshi has created is just as beautiful. Each location is described in lavish, sensuous detail. Sumptuous clothing gives characters amour or weapons depending on their situation. Tristan’s power with flowers is lush and makes me wish I had his creations. This is a full world where every part is included in the overall beauty of the whole.
The story is exciting and enchanting. Characters use magic called forging for a variety of talents from stone animal protectors that come to life to mystical mirror door ways. Mundane is mixed with exceptional to create a perfect blend of timing. I was always on my toes wanting to know what happens next.
The Gilded Wolves is a gorgeous fantasy of magic wrapped in Paris of yesterday. Exciting and captivating, I cheered the character on and become invested in their lives. I truly look forward to the next book in the series.
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
I received an ARC for review; all opinions are my own.