Book Review – The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

The Immortal City
Book 1 of The Magicians of Venice
By: Amy Kuivalainen

Publisher – BHC Press
Release Date: September 19, 2019
Category: Fiction/Fantasy/Contemporary
I received this book for review from NetGalley

Summary from the Publisher

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.

Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.

As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks.

With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.

Overall Opinion:

This was a book I could not put down. I would have read it a day if it wasn’t for the fact that real life kept getting in the way (don’t you hate when that happens?)

I found myself towards the middle of the book almost afraid do turning the page because I didn’t want what I thought was going to happen to actually happen. At one point it was almost as if I were watching a movie and I almost had to put my hands in front of my eyes so as to protect myself from what would come next (not very helpful if you’re reading with your eyeballs — may work better if you choose the audiobook option.)

There were some scenes which I felt were a bit slow but the rest of the pacing made up for it. It was a quick book to read (take it from me, I read pretty slow) and it kept me interested in what happened to the protagonist throughout the entire narrative. There was never one point where I could say I didn’t care for the characters (even when they got me really annoyed – see below).

There certainly was a lot of care put into the world I felt the book could have done a much better job at the building the characters. Especially, Penelope. Some times I couldn’t help but feel that she acted like a child instead of a world-renowned archeologist. It felt as if sometimes she was confused as to whether she wanted to be a strong grown up woman able to take care of herself and then other times it felt as if she would break if anyone touched her. I felt frustrated not knowing which Penelope I was going to encounter at any point in my reading.

I started feeling a bit concerned when I realized that there was going to be romance in the book. I’m not much for romantic novels. However, the romance was done so well that I found myself wanting some of the characters to get together and sometimes felt disappointed that they didn’t and other times was sort of glad that they didn’t. I guess there is a time and place for everything right? (you’ll have to read the book to figure out exactly what I’m talking about.)

There were some very detailed descriptions of sacrifices done with animals and people and if your stomach is super weak I would say maybe not to read the full descriptions because they can go into a bit of a detail but for me, being one who does not enjoy gore at all and look away if someone gets a paper cut I found that I was able to cringe through them and they added to the hate I wound up feeling for the villain and the love and admiration I was lead to feel for the protagonist and Alexis Donato.

I think this is a great introduction book to the world of Fantasy and I give this book four stars. I would do five but the development of the protagonist made me crazy sometimes.

Thank you NetGalley for sending me an advance copy and your partnership.

Keep Reading
Ana

Fiction, Non-Fiction and Illustrated

3 Recent Releases

Good morning. It’s Saturday and I just had an idea!!!! Aren’t you excited? Well, I didn’t have an idea because it’s Saturday, but you know what I mean. I thought it would fun to list 3 different releases from different genres every weekend. I can’t think of a good name for the series so I’m just going to list the genres I choose as the title. If you can think of something better, please, feel free to shout it out in the comments.

So, since my coffee is getting cold and eventually I will have to start my day — which does include a trip to the local book store for some Christmas Presents — I will start the list and stop wasting your time. That’s what you’re here for right?

Hurrah for Gin: A Book for Perfectly Imperfect Parents

By: Katie Kirby

Love the stick figures and the fact that she makes it a point to remind you that this is not a “how-to” guide. This a satire book filled with real life and real people (stick people) funny moments of parenthood. I think it makes the perfect gift for a good friend or relative who is feeling stressed out this holiday season (that would be all of us).

Amazon: Paperback ($10.39); Hardcover ($17.48); Kindle ($4.99)

Published on 11/28/17 by Quercus (Reprint Edition); 400 pages

The Keeper of Lost Things

By: Ruth Hogan

What drew me to this book was the cover. This is a beautiful cover and although I know that you should never judge a book by it’s cover….. Can you blame me? Ok, so I came for the cover and stayed for the story. This is a debut novel by this author and it tells th story of possibilities, discoveries, promises that are made and/or broken and things that give meaning to our lives…. I can’t wait to pick this one up…. perhaps on my trip to the bookstore this afternoon.

Amazon: Paperback ($10.99); Hardover ($14.55); Kindle ($10.99); Audio ($17.56)

Published on 11/28/17 by William Morrow (hardcover published 2/21/17); 288 pages.

Principles

By: Ray Dalio

So I’m listening to this one on audible. I find that non-fiction lends itself better to audio books because I keeps my attention. This is part memoir and part guide on how his set of principles guided his every move. I won’t say too much as I am still just starting listening to this book but I am sure a review will be coming soon.

Amazon: Hardcover ($17.99); Kindle ($14.99); Audio ($19.59)

Published on 9/19/17 by Simon & Schuster; 592 Pages

A New Direction

If a book blogger reads but doesn’t post about it, is that book blogger really reading? Is that book blogger a real blogger? The past few months I have been really struggling with the direction of the blog and the reason why I started the blog. I’ve been reading, quite a bit actually but have not felt like I wanted to be criticized for my thoughts of the book.

I really enjoy reading for pleasure and when I started the blog all I wanted was to share my honest thoughts about my experience. However, blogging about books quickly became a stress. Am I reading the right books? Am I reading enough books? When browsing for books I became very critical about the books I was picking up. It stopped being about picking up a book because it looked like something I wanted to read and instead became about the review. Additionally, writing about my enjoyment of the book became less about my thoughts about the book and more of what was expected from a good “book review.” I became a lot more conscious about reading critically which took away from enjoying the reading. In short, it stopped being fun and became a job.

The past few months I’ve enjoyed reading for the sheer enjoyment of reading. I have not thought about posting a review and I’ve regained the momentum which got me on the road to posting about my love of books. I’ve read mostly non-fiction and self improvement books. Not because I prefer that genre to another or because of Non-Fiction November, but because that’s what I wanted to read.

I’ve given the blog a lot of thought the past few months, too. I want to continue sharing my love of books and my love of stories but I will not, or at least I will try, not to fall prey to the pitfalls of the past. The blog will focus mostly on books but I will also be posting about other things when there are no books to talk about about. After all, this is my blog and I will make it what I want. No guilt and no pressure!

Ok. I’m done with my soap box…. how about a little list of of the books I’ve been reading?

 

The Happiness Project

Getting Things Done

Find Your Why

Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook

It’s Not Book Related but ….

It’s true.  I have been missing in action and slacking on the reading front but as we all know, life sometimes takes over and … well….. I roll with the punches.  So, because it’s been so busy and I’ve been rolling with the punches most of my reading has been articles, newspapers….. I have not picked up a book in …. well….. months!!! Sad to say!

I am fully aware that in order to stay relevant I really have to make a larger effort and get on here a little more.  I’m sure most of you guys have already moved on and found a replacement for “Ana Talks Books.”  So here I am.  This time I’m going to, instead of telling you about books, I’m going to share some of the best articles I came across in the past few weeks.  I hope you don’t mind and you can hang tight until I get myself untangled from this crazy busy life and get back to serious book business.  So here we go!

Most of us have day gigs, you know that place we go to every morning and if it weren’t for the paycheck some of us would not return the next day.  I will admit that I do enjoy what I do, so I’m not in that category, but I am normal, after all, and as any normal human being sometimes the thought of making the trip to the office makes me cringe.  I am absolutely not into office childish games and sometimes that how it feels.  Well, I found this article to which I’m sure most of you can relate.  Popularity at Work Still Matters.  Let me know what you think.  Doesn’t it hit on all the points?

Beloved Nutella changes its recipe!  WHAT???? We are all going to miss the comforting feel of sitting on the couch, after a very complicated adulating day and enjoying a jar of Nutella, savoring that familiar homey feeling…… ok, maybe that’s just me.  So, yes, I’m a bit charged up about this.

“What’s your current salary?” Has been banned from interviews in New York.  How do you feel about that?  Well, as an employee and a woman I feel really good about this.  No more trying to figure out if I’m selling myself short.  Now I can, instead of saying how much I make, I can actually tell them how much I’m worth.  Isn’t that much better?

There were others but true to form I forgot to save them.  I really need to get with it!!!! Let’s start small and grow from here.

I do hope you are all having a great day and have an awesome weekend.  I’ll try to not go silent for this long again.

See ya!

The Man Booker Prize List

The Man Booker Prize was announced last week and all over the internet you will find opinions, lists of lists and various thoughts about this list of “must reads.”  The short list will be coming out in September and the winner will be announced in October.

I am not even going to pretend that I can read all 13 books on the long list before the September 13th date when the short list will announced, nor am I interested in all the books.  However, I feel like I need to challenge myself in some way and made a list of 5 books and hoping that the one I enjoy best will be winner this year.  Last year I did not like the winner, although may other bloggers can’t say enough good things about it.

So for my list of Man Booker Prize Selection:

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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Autumn by Ali Smith

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Solar Bones by Mike McCoramack

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4321 by Paul Auster

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Lincoln and the Bardo by George Saunders

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I am currently reading Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and so far I am enjoying it.  I’m about 38% into the book and although it’s a prose that to me sounds and feels more like poetry…. It’s a different type of prose than what I’m used to but I am enjoying it very much.  I do not want to read or watch any reviews as I don’t want to be influenced by any of them but I will give you my thoughts once I’m done with the book.

What caught my attention here was three aspects of the story, there is a romance, a raw type of romantic story between Saheed and Nadia, there is the war aspect and how a town taken over by war is surviving or not and then there is the fantasy aspect which is what I was most interested in….. the doors that exit west are just now coming to the surface and I have not been able to stop reading except for the sleep last night.  Going back tot he book after the post….. I’m glad it’s Sunday.

Since I don’t have any of these books right now I’m reading this one on my iPad and right now I’m trying to figure out if I want to continue reading them on the iPad or if I should order the books (that’s a post for another day).

Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend and I’ll see on my next post.

Ana