What have I done? Who is he? Does he know something? Does he know Sylvie? He’s not just a camper who’s been robbed, is he?
A retired married couple living in Maine get a phone call that their schizophrenic daughter has runaway from her institution with her boyfriend Ralph. As they sit at home waiting by the phone for more information, they get phone calls from their daughter Sylvie saying she is in Ohio to get married to Ralph and at other times she is making her way to them, visits from their neighbor Hans and his wife Marte, and a camper claiming he was robbed looking for a place to sleep for the night. These happenings are told from pov chapters from both Carl and Jessie our married couple as they think back on their life and their connection to one another.
“Carl, I have to do this. God is watching me.”
The first half of this was slow nail biting dread as the story has you get to know the nice normal couple but the atmosphere is building the suspense. Interspersed with the happenings are personal stories that help give us a deep delve into Carl and Jessie. We learn that Carl was interned at Birkenau during WWII but Jessie has never really asked about it, she knows but doesn't know.
The second half kind of shifts from the horror suspense angle into psychological thriller with emotional historical fiction leanings. It felt a bit unnatural with characters, Jessie almost starts to join forces with their mysterious camper to learn about Carl's past, acting in a way that was obvious to push this more towards a historical fiction recounting of the atrocities performed at internment camps. This is where I began to lose a lot of enjoyment for the story. I, personally, can find it hard at times to read fictional accounts of such horrific acts, like the Holocaust, in books that are not for educational purposes or non-fiction personal accounts; it starts to feel like salacious horror for entertainment to me. I'm not saying it never works for me but, here, the contrast from the beginning was too jarring.
Sometimes mothers hope against hope for their children.
The mood (stark, dread, building suspense) and writing style (the pov chapters almost read like stream of consciousness at times) in the first half sucked me in but the second half had characters acting in ways that felt unnatural, left some questions unanswered (why was tree so focused on??), and for the most part abandoned it's horror suspense for psychological historical fiction, a transition that didn't work for me.
I look at Jonah, who is holding out a sketch pad. I almost laugh out loud. Here we are, being tortured by a madman, and I’m going to draw a seagull in the midst of it all.
This is chilling in a way I can't fully describe. The suspense build-up slowly weaves in and crawls up you spine.
And what is up with that damn tree?? Is there anything up with the tree???
Has anyone read this before?
The myriad of crime novels she’d read had surely trained her for a moment like this. Author Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta dug into every murder she encountered. She’d never leave a crime scene. Fern squared her shoulders.
The cover should say cozy mystery with zany amateur sleuths and a little romance on the side instead of the other way around, this was about 90% zany amateur sleuthing with 10% romance.
Zula and Fern are sisters who find a dead body in their little retirement community and set-out to find the killer. Fern suspects Black Widow Bob, Zula's intended beau and Zula suspects overly suave Phillipe, Fern's intended beau. Detective Jared is sent in to solve the case and Fern and Zula decide he would make a fantastic life long partner for their niece. Little do they know, their niece KC and Jared had met online, developed a close online relationship but KC broke it off when she thought she meet a great guy in real life.
As you can imagine, misunderstandings, white lies, zany interactions, official and not official investigating, and some actual danger fill out the story. Jared and KC don't actually meet in person until around the 50% (the coincidence of it all was thisclose to being too much for me), I would definitely say this story is centered on Fern and Zula as you'll follow them around for the vast majority of the time.
I'm not big on zany stuff, breaking into someone's home and snooping around because you think they are a murderer only to be caught because the little dog with you lets out a yelp/screech/bark, just isn't in my funny wheelhouse but if it's your thing, this story is chalk full of scenes and instances like that.
The eventual unwinding of the mystery and who was guilty seemed overly convoluted and extremely rushed at the end. This story was strong on Fern and Zula running around being zany and not so much on solid mystery plot thread, or maybe the this is who is guilty dump at the end disappointed me enough to not think it was worth wading through all the zany.
This is also a Christian book but wasn't overhanded with it, the beginning mentions it, the middle ignores any heavy tones, and the end brushes broad strokes over certain characters at the end.
The coincidences and seemingly adding and connecting of characters made the story seemed haphazardly thrown together. If you're wanting to read a story with two retirement members running around being zany and quite possibly causing more harm than good with a pinch of clean romance, this will more than fill your zany tank.
"So many," Tory whispered.
"All were sexual homicides. Raped and strangled. There was no semen. There was some physical violence, particularly in the facial area. That escalates with each victim."
"Because their faces aren't right. Their faces aren't hers. Hope's."
The main and underlining impetus for this story was the rape and murder of an eight year old girl who was the bestfriend of our heroine, Tory; pretty dark stuff. I couldn't help always having that in the back of my mind, even though the author kind of leaves the head on dealing with it until more toward the back end of the second half.
You get double the usual amount of recipes this time since I missed last weeks Menu Monday :)
Ok, so I won't lie, these take a little bit of time and effort to make, especially if you make the Mexican Rice recipe, which I recommend you do because delicious. I make these every year because they aren't challenging, just time sucking. But look how adorable they are! They also have the bonus of tasting fantastic, always get a "These are really good!". I pack my little pumpkins and get 4 with a little left over. If wanting to bring some fun to the table and feel the season, these would be top pick :)
You better be a fan of kick and spice because this little puppy has some bark. When I made the chipotle sauce I substituted mayo with Greek yogurt (I know, I know, not technically vegan anymore) and added about two tablespoons of water. Roasting the cauliflower takes 20 minutes but you can make the jalapeno cream sauce while doing that. You have to love hotness to like this one but oh man was this good. I, of course, got the "you should make this with chicken instead of cauliflower" because the sauce was such a hit. For the non-meateaters who love kick, this is a must make.
I ended up loving this one, which first looking at the recipe, I didn't think would happen. This doesn't look like much but it was filling and so tasty. I sauteed my kale with some garlic, cooked the quinoa in veg broth, and then poured some extra cauliflower sauce over the chickpeas and quinoa. Had a nice amount of spice and the combination of everything went so well together. So good, if want something tasty that probably only took me a little over half hour to make and feel like a boss ass healthy person, this is your go to.
I literally had one left when I remember to take a picture of these, lol. I'm a fry gal, I dream of fries, god do I love me some fries. These were pretty simple with some paprika sprinkled on doing most of the flavor work. I enjoyed them because fries any shape, size, or flavor have my vote. If you can see, I also sprinkled some shredded cheese on top because CHEESE AND FRIES.
This one takes some time because you have to thaw the salmon and then marinate it for half to an hour but after that it goes quick and is really easy. I put mine on rice because hey, simple. Again, I bow down to these people that come up with seemingly wackadoodle flavor combos, peaches?!?, that turn out so freaking good. I'm starting to think "flavor combos" is my new "give it some kick". I paired this with white wine and jammie pants.
Have I mentioned I love sweet potatoes? I imagine I have mentioned that only slightly less than my love of spicy and kick. This recipe combined those loves together really well. The cashew sauce was so good, y'all. I do think sprinkling on some halved cashews would give it some nice texture and crunch because it did feel like maybe something was missing but still good taste overall and probably only took around 45mins to make.
The least photogenic and probably what I would call the loser of the week. I didn't add the zucchini because I loathe it, so maybe that would make it better? It was ok but just lacked something taste wise for me. Maybe kick? I kid, I kid, but yeah, blah. Was simple and easy to make without being time consuming, though.
This is another Halloween one I make every year and let me tell you, this are f*ing amazing. God, I'm sitting here wishing I had another 26 to shove in my face. The brownie and cupcake with butter frosting is unhealthy in a way I don't fully want to think about as I ate 2 a day but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I'll go to my grave ecstatic having eaten these even if they send me there early. Takes some time to make but not a lot and are pretty simple to put together. Sometimes I have to be careful taking the wrapper off as the brownie part wants to stick to it, so be aware of that. Make these and then try not to light 10 candles in my name after tasting these sweet, sweet heavenly demons.
This was pretty good but trying to find frozen cherries took me to two grocery stores, who knew frozen cherries were not popular. I think the orange juice worked to overpower this, so I would do less next time but overall pretty good for a smoothie.
Oh my god, did I say the turkey thing was the fail of the week? I TAKE IT ALL BACK. These little shits were the worst. They take TWO DAYS to make, scraping the pith off is not as easy as they make it seem (took me almost an hour), the heating, the draining, the reheating, the sitting, aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. They are a pain in the neck to deal with but my friends, the biggest sin of all? They tasted like bitter peels when I was done. The smaller ones tasted a little better but once you chew enough to remove the sugar coating, the fact that you just spent two days trying to make a lemon peel taste like candy slaps you across the face REAL quick. I halved the recipe, thank god, but I think four were consumed (I can't even begin to tell you how I tried to lie to myself that these tasted good because of all the time and effort. I think it was Raiden walking away, he never walks away when I'm consuming something!) before I threw in the towel and dumped the rest. The time. The effort. I'll be bitter about this one for a while.
Any food goodies to share?
White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them.
Creepy, intriguing, mysterious, frustrating, and melancholy, White is for Witching had a very strong start that sagged a bit in the middle and then ultimately puttered out into its own enigmatic mysteries.
Miranda can’t come in today Miranda has a condition called pica she has eaten a great deal of chalk—she really can’t help herself—she has been very ill—Miranda has pica she can’t come in today, she is stretched out inside a wall she is feasting on plaster she has pica try again:
To me, the house (and any real or imagined non-human inhabitants) is the sun with Miranda being Mercury, her twin brother Eliot as Venus, and their father Earth. Secondary characters such as a friend Miranda makes at college called Ore would be a moon of Mercury and the housemaid Sade could be a comet. This is an odd way to place the characters but I don't want to spoil too much of the story but still give an idea of the story's placement of characters.
The way this story is written and structured is different, povs from mainly Miranda, Eliot, and the house (yes, the house has a pov), flow in and out with blips from Sade, Ore, and maybe a couple other minor ones I am forgetting. You need to be on your game to fully understand who is talking but even then, things can get confusing with possible unreliable narrators and not knowing what is real and mental health issues.
The horror of the story is that there is a house that is possibly haunted, maybe by a soucouyant (a witch in Caribbean folklore), maybe by a curse on the female line of a family, and maybe simply a daughter that lost her mother and is spiraling down a mental health destructive hole. This story centers on women, their strengths and weaknesses; Eliot plays a good sized role but he is still clearly on the sidelines along with his father who is ineffectual in his drowning grief for his wife.
They were naked except for corsets laced so tightly that their desiccated bodies dipped in and out like parchment scrolls bound around the middle. They stared at Miranda in numb agony. Padlocks were placed over their parted mouths, boring through the top lip and closing at the bottom. Miranda could see their tongues writhing.
The beginning had me captured with Eliot leading us into the story about how his mother died and how his sister is withering away because she seems only able to eat chalk. From Eliot's point of view it seems more like a mental health issue with occasional povs from the house and Miranda popping in to make you believe in the shiver going up your spine. The middle starts to transition to more of Miranda's point of view, her struggles with her mental health and the house, along with looks at Miranda's female ancestors.
When Miranda leaves the house for a little while is when the story started to lose me a bit. Sade and Ore get added to the story, I thought Ore was too late of an additive and even though she brought an outside look and probably worked to more definitively answer the mental health or truly haunted question, I missed the atmosphere of the house and Eliot with Miranda.
“I’m to go home. The house wants me,” she cried. The moonlight made her look blue. It made her look as if she was dead. She opened my window and sat herself on the ledge; she dangled her bare legs over it. We were four floors up.
I don't know how many have watched the tv series The Leftovers but this story gave me the same kind of feelings. Majorly intriguing start, with questions, mysteries, and interesting characters everywhere, only to maybe out write themselves and end up leaving a lot up in the air in a way that devalues the story.
As far as giving you the heebie jeebies, this will definitely do it, some scenes had me looking hard into dark corners in my house. As far as the characters sticking with me, probably not, as they didn't quite become fully fleshed out to me. I do know I would love to see this made into a limited series, Netflix get on that, the psychomanteum room scenes would be chilling good.
That was the first and last time I’ve heard my own voice.
I've been posting my reviews online for about 10yrs now, I know I've liked books that could have some problematic characters, actions, and storylines (This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, comes to mind) but as I get older and in our current climate, I'm really having to challenge and make decisions on what I'll go along with for the sake of the story.
Suddenly he bellowed and vaulted out of the tub. Reaching down, he closed his fist around her mane of hair and hauled her up with him. Furious, dripping water and rage in equal proportions, he shoved his angry face toward hers. His voice was surprisingly mild. She would have preferred shouting.
I wish I could say that this would have stopped me in my tracks at 25yrs old as it did at 35yrs old, but I'm not sure. All I know is that currently, it made me immediately put the book down. This is the "hero" acting towards the heroine.
They were high school sweethearts who ran away to get married but her parents forced them to get an annulment because they thought the hero was too poor and other-side of the tracks. They meet back up at their 10yr high school reunion where the hero not quite so teasingly demands a wedding night. They are being hot and heavy when the heroine tries to put the breaks on and she then tells him why she stayed after the reunion broke up at his house, the charity she helps wants to buy some land the hero owns. He gets angry because he thinks she was using her body to get a good deal on the land. He then basically holds her hostage claiming he'll sell her the land if she lives at this house as his concubine.
It's a hurt revenge angle that was seen quite often in '80s romance, along with the endless descriptions of fashion (the heroine has an eel skin purse and matching heels!). After this scene, there really was no hope for me to ever connect to the hero, he physically assaulted the heroine in my eyes. I skim read the rest of the book (I rate books whether I read fully, skim, or dnf, it is the way I keep track of books so don't @ me) and wasn't all into the heroine still wanting the hero to love her.
Everyone has their own opinions but please, let's all agree that this was assault/abuse and call it as so.
Halloween goodie time!
I'm an uber dork, so I have themed months where I make desserts that can match up with some holidays. I love making Halloween desserts. These aesthetically looked nice and Halloween-y and tasted good but, I wasn't wowed. There was also more of the cream cheese layer than brownie, which was a little disappointing. Still would make a fun little party treat, though. Making and cook time easy and quick.
This turned out to be a dark horse favorite of mine. I wasn't expecting much, just a quick, easy, and simple pasta. The flavoring! I loved this one. I halved the amount of noodles but wish I didn't so I would have leftovers. Get that extra lemon for spritzing. I'll definitely making this one again and you should too! Meateaters could add shrimp or chicken easily.
The recipe calls for the chicken to be cooked on low for 8hrs but either my slow cooker runs warmer on low or they are exaggerating because chicken usually only needs about 6hrs in my crock pot. Cooking the noodles in the sauce made them extra tasty. The bf really enjoyed this one but I was just meh on it. The sauce was rich but I just wasn't wowed by the overall flavoring.
I may have posted this one before, it is an old favorite. I halve the butter and use Spicy Ranch seasoning instead of the original. It is so easy and good. Everything meshes together and the potatoes cook to perfection. You'll feel like a competent human being too as you get your meat, potatoes, and veggies :)
My biscuits didn't fluff up as much as I would have liked and I had to add flour to my gravy to thicken it up. Can tell the biscuits are low carb, lol, but I thought they were still tasty, the gravy was good too. I think this recipe works for people on the Keto diet, which seems to be insanely popular right now. Would be a tasty meal for dieters and was very easy to cook-up and probably only took a half hour.
Any Halloween delights to share?
I wish in order to portray heroines as independent and fierce, author's didn't make them fall into the TSTL category.
Our heroine Margo was apart of jury that convicted a guy who announced to the court room that until his conviction was overturned, someone from inside the courtroom would be murdered every 72hrs. 3 people have already been murdered when our hero Striker comes into the picture to guard Margo. Is Margo happy about this and willing to take her personal safety seriously? Of course not, because that would somehow mean she is being bossed around. Ugh.
The insta-attraction also felt a little out of place as it was mentioned over and over immediately in the beginning, it felt a little off when just jumping into the whole life in danger element. I can let go of realism to a certain extent in rom suspense, but let me settle in a little first.
I also thought there was some uncomfortable casualness to some issues (rape, domestic violence) incorporated; they were jarringly, abruptly brought up, to seemingly add instant emotion. I'm needing a little more care and thought behind the why and how for the inclusion of these topics right now.
Shep, as the other inmates called him, was a lot older than most of them and was serving time for murdering his wife. It didn’t take long for anyone who hung around Shep to know just what sort of man he was: a natural-born leader—a positive one.
Not knowing at this time if Shep was guilty of the crime, reading about a man killing his wife in one breath and the next saying what a swell guy he is, was hard to read.
I thought the idea of ex-cons going into the protection business was interesting but the insta-attraction, mesh of romance and suspense not working for me, and jarring moments kept me from getting into the story. I generally liked the character dialogue and interaction writing, the components worked for me but the structure did not.
Just as they all knew the legend of the Holy Grail, so had they heard of the Unholy Grail.
Pru has cancer and is looking for any way to negate her grim diagnosis, when she starts up a friendship with Marcus, they begin in earnest a search for the Holy Grail. Our hero is a 600yr old vampire who was once a knight of King Phillips of France who was also on the search for the Holy Grail. What Chapel and his group of mercenaries found instead was the Unholy Grail.
"You do not frighten me."
"I think I do, but not in the way I should."
This started off darkly intriguing with the French band of mercenaries and grail that turned them all into vampires. I read this with the anticipation of a danger filled dark and stormy search and chase, filled with villains coming out of the woodwork. Instead this turned out to be a character driven story with a slow burning romance between Pru and Chapel; read this for the romance, not the adventure.
The Silver Palm. Chapel had heard of them before in whispers and old texts. They named themselves for the silver that crossed the palm of Judas Iscariot— coin imbued with the essence of Lilith, mother of all vampires. The same silver that had been melted down to make the chalice from which he and the others had drunk.
The first half was all about the romance while the second gave us a peek into, what I imagine is the set-up between the villains and future heroes of the series. I was vastly curious about the Silver Palm villains but they only make a very brief appearance and other than their name, not much else is learned about them.
The Brotherhood of Blood.
Even though I was a little disappointed in the balance of romance and action in this one, the set-up of Chapel's friends, The Brotherhood of the Blood, being pitted against the Silver Palms is darkly intriguing. Don't get me wrong, I thought the vast majority of the romance was done well here, Pru is a tough, daring woman willing to fight for what she wants, while Chapel was a more lost in his self-loathing for what he was, but they did have a connection that was felt. I thought the ending was needlessly dragged out angst as a sudden change of heart by Chapel gave us a quick perfect bow ending. I'm going to read the next in the series because, like I said, I'm intrigued by the set-up but I'm going to hope the continuing plot thread plays more heavily.
He smiled— just for her. Every woman should know the joy of having a man be joyful just for her presence.
Templars. It was said that the knights had in their possession various holy relics, including items believed to have belonged to Christ Himself.
The heroine searching for the Holy Grail hoping it will cure her illness, the hero drank from the Unholy Grail and has been cursed for 600yrs.
When I was looking for books in my tbr for this, I can't even describe how giddy I was when I read "Unholy Grail".
So far has started off deliciously dark and stormy atmospheric.
I happened to glance at my follower account and noticed I went over 1000 followers.
Awesome! Rad! Super!
I went to my followers list to follow some of these Awesome! Rad! Super! potential new friends.
HerpesBlitzProtocol was one of my Awesome! Rad! Super! followers.
In fact, after looking through the list, I've decided to put away the party confetti for now.
HOWEVER, I did come across this profile: Mr. Azmuth
A quick scan looks like they are real and posting semi-regularly since they started. I'm sure you all want to befriend HerpesBlitzProtocol but how about showing Mr. Azmuth some love instead.
She gave the guards a nod as she went through. It didn’t occur to either of them to stop her because witches, like beekeepers and big gorillas, went where they liked.
Part of the Discworld but also the Witches series, Granny, Nanny, and Magrat run and steal the show. I would describe this as kind of a Monty Python take on Macbeth and Hamlet (with a little bit of King Lear, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, and probably splashes of more I missed). If you're a reader of the Discworld, you'll be ready for the little bit chaotic, humor, brick wall bleakness, and underlining too true takes on humanity.
A kingdom is made up of all sorts of things. Ideas. Loyalties. Memories. It all sort of exists together. And then all these things create some kind of life. Not a body kind of life, more like a living idea. Made up of everything that’s alive and what they’re thinking. And what the people before them thought.”
We start off with the murder of a King, who becomes a ghost, our three witches taking a baby from soldiers, the new mad King and his reveling in her evilness wife, and a wise fool. Even though the witches normally try to stay out of things, Granny decides that she needs to set things to rights and have the true heir on the throne. I enjoyed the first half, which was more Macbeth, than the magically fast forward 15 years Hamlet like second.
The duke smiled out over the forest. “It works,” he said. “The people mutter against the witches. How do you do it, Fool?”
“Jokes, nuncle. And gossip. People are halfway ready to believe it anyway. Everyone respects the witches. The point is that no one actually likes them very much.”
Shining through and underlining all these seemingly chaotic going-ons, are some excellent hot takes on propaganda and how history is recorded, by who, why they are writing events and figures the way they are, and how this influences and shapes future attitudes. This is an aspect of history that I don't think is talked about enough, questioning the motives behind historical recorders.
“But I’m his Fool,” said the Fool. “A Fool has to be loyal to his master. Right up until he dies. I’m afraid it’s tradition. Tradition is very important.”
“But you don’t even like being a Fool!”
“I hate it. But that’s got nothing to do with it. If I’ve got to be a Fool, I’ll do it properly.”
“That’s really stupid,”said Magrat.
“Foolish, I’d prefer.”
Granny is the immediate stand-out in this but the Fool is the dark horse. In all this spoofing, he has some of the most thought provoking quotes; they bordered on dystopian at times. I couldn't help reading this through a current political climate lens and it hurt at times reading the scenes with the Fool, the new King, and his wife. Even when we get the second part of the witches work to change things, it doesn't end up quite to their preference but maybe for the best? This would be a great book club selection as I highlighted the heck out of this and could have endless discussions about it.
I've mentioned before how humor is a tough one for me, so that hurt my overall enjoyment along with the frenetic/chaotic tone pushing against my more structured self. Many friends have said this is one of their favorites from the disc world and I can see why, the three witches will delight you, I felt the second half let them down a bit. Even though things may not have worked out exactly like Granny wanted, I leave you with some inspiration from her,
Granny Weatherwax was often angry. She considered it one of her strong points. Genuine anger was one of the world’s great creative forces. But you had to learn how to control it. That didn’t mean you let it trickle away. It meant you dammed it, carefully, let it develop a working head, let it drown whole valleys of the mind and then, just when the whole structure was about to collapse, opened a tiny pipeline at the base and let the iron-hard stream of wrath power the turbines of revenge.
He looked her straight in the eye and said, “I was in jail serving time for manslaughter.”
Probably not in the top ten list of things I'd want my new hot bodyguard to say when I ask him what he did before joining a protection agency.
Criminy’s Clockwork Carnival was in full swing.
This is a novella, so the shorter page count (100ish pgs) hampers character and plot depth a bit, but I think the author did a fantastic job with what she had. This is listed in the Blud series as coming before Book 1 – Wicked as They Come but as the main couple from Wicked is already together, I wasn't sure why. Even if familiar or not, you'll get an introduction and refresher on the various characters that make up Master Criminy's Clockwork Carnival. The world building leaves a little bit to be desired as it isn't fully explained how Blud people and animals (vampire like creatures) exist in this other world; it is like Victorian time period Earth but not quite.
She stared down into the nest of books and hidden miracles. Before, the trunk had held hope. Now, in the wrong hands, it held evidence enough to hang her.
“If you’ll trust me, I think I know how best to keep your charges safe.”
Their eyes met over the trunk. She felt as if she stood on a precipice, one step away from freedom or doom. “I find that I trust you, Mr. Murdoch.”
“God help you, Madam Morpho.”
You'll feel for Imogen as you learn her story, Mr. Murdoch less so as I don't think he ever fully emerged from the shadows and fully showed up on the pages. He builds the clockworks and mechanics for the caravan carnival, I would have liked to have seen him interact more with his creations and what was the story behind his partner/friend Vil? They were a calm, cool, and tentative couple and I liked how they worked together but, again, the page count wasn't quite there to build their relationship.
Arm-in-arm, they watched Torno lift his weights, his strength defying physics thanks to Criminy’s magic. Emerlie juggled hedgehogs and rode her unicycle high up on the wire, her lime and magenta costume glowing against the velvety night sky. Next up came Abilene and Eblick and the two-headed Bludman, each waiting behind a curtain to amuse and entertain and, in the twins’case, terrify. A collection of bizarre creatures floating in large jars of liquid was surrounded by a crowd so deep that Imogen caught only a glimpse of the horrors within. They passed Letitia in her turban, telling fortunes in a sequin-spangled tent.
Even though the overall world building was somewhat absent, the immediate caravan carnival world was delightfully detailed and created. There was a sense of unknown, magic, wildness, freedom, jovial companionship, and troubles. I wish I could see the shows.
“Her name is Madam Morpho,” Henry said sharply. “And she doesn’t speak to the riff-raff.”
The main story thread comes from Imogen on the run from her former boss and hiding out in the caravan. I thought the sense of danger and romance was eclipsed by the descriptions of the people and clockworks that made up the caravan carnival. I also thought the magic and wonder of the butterflies Imogen stole got lost in the mix, they could have brought more sense of wonder if utilized more. The ending brought an extremely gruesome conclusion to the issue of Imogen being in danger. I suggest reading this in October to appreciate and enjoy the grisly ending, the spooky vampire like creatures, and the sense of magic and wonder.
“Imogen,” he said, voice ragged as he stepped closer to her, his feet brushing the wide swing of her skirts. “Are you aware that I haven’t seen a woman this close in more than six years?”
“That seems excessive,” she murmured. “Are we such fierce creatures?”