2.5 star, YA

ARC Review: My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Summary



**My Contrary Mary comes out June 22, 2021**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been a fan of the Lady Janies since their first collaborative work, My Lady Jane, came out. With humor and plenty of witty asides to us readers, these ladies can really draw you into their version of history full of the miraculous and happy endings. My Contrary Mary follows this same line of storytelling, the first in I’m assuming a series of ladies named Mary instead of Jane. However, sometimes like a joke that repeats itself a bit too much in a comedic routine, it just loses its initial appeal.

Continue reading “ARC Review: My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows”
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Let’s Talk Bookish – Appreciation for Book Bloggers

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.

JUNE 18: APPRECIATION FOR BOOK BLOGGERS (RUKKY)

Prompts: Do you feel appreciated as a book blogger? Who do you think appreciates the work of book bloggers the most? Do you think that bookish social media is aiding in the depreciation of book bloggers or is it supporting them? Is it wrong to want compensation from the book industry for our work?

Welcome to the middle of June, everyone! Time passes by so quickly, honestly. Anyway, this week’s topic is from our very own host Rukky over at Eternity Books!

I think generally I do feel appreciated as a book blogger. When people leave their lovely messages or insightful comments, it does spark joy in my heart, and makes me feel like an integrated part of the community. In addition to the readers, other bloggers will also visit each other and give feedback and interact with one another, and I think this also helps to create a nice sense of community that makes me (and hopefully others) feel appreciated.

As for who appreciates the work of book bloggers the most… I honestly would have to say other book bloggers. It takes one to know one right? Not that readers don’t appreciate the work, but to fully appreciate how long it sometimes take to create a post, or the thought that goes into curating content or even just posting through bad moods…I feel like I only appreciated other book bloggers’ work when I started to do more of it myself. It takes quite a lot of discipline to be a stable and prolific book blogger. Especially those of you out there with huge followings, I can imagine there’s pressure to always churn out (good) content, which is really intense!

Bookish social media I suppose is just a natural progression from book blogging as technology advances and the popular types of social media continue to evolve. I don’t think they’re necessarily contributing to the depreciation of book blogging. They may take away attention, since the trend now is to have short, punchy, clickbait titles and content for readers to consume, as the average attention span is shorter this day and age. In a way though, such social media can also be a good tool in advertising for a blog, which can be seen as supporting the bookish blogging community. Social media, as always, is just a tool, and the way it is used could potentially be used to support or detract from the book bloggers.

I don’t think it is inherently wrong to want compensation for work! Although there is definitely something to be said about the powerful extrinsic motivation of money taking over everything you do. That being said though, if a blogger were to be putting in many hours into creating amazing content that has a lot of followers and ends up making a huge impact, I could see reason for why they might want compensation from the industry. The power of suggestion and a community mindset can really push the popularity of a book up or down in a big way. I am sure that there are many books that wouldn’t have reached as much of a critical mass in popularity without these blogs spreading the word and encouraging others to read and join the hype train.

What do you all think about the way book bloggers are seen and appreciated? May I just have an overly optimistic and rosy view. Sure it may not be the forefront of social media popularity, but I don’t think it’s a dying art just yet!


3.5 star, adult

Review: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

You won’t want to leave. . . until you can’t.

Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .



This was another one of those books I just randomly picked off the (library) shelf based on the cover and synopsis alone. Ironically, neither of which I find incredible – I almost just returned it without reading it, since I didn’t feel the strong urge to read it. However, just before it was due, I decided to just race through it, and honestly I’m fairly satisfied that I did.

The Sanatorium takes place at a newly constructed building located in the Swiss Alps, once a sanatorium turned into a fancy hotel. Elin, our protagonist, is there to celebrate the engagement of her estranged brother. However, quickly things start taking a dark turn. People start going missing, the weather gets worse and worse, all poetically coming up to a big climax as the tensions continually increase.

Although the story revolves around our protagonist, the first portion of the novel actually takes us through a series of different perspectives. This I found to be a little bit distracting, as the novel quickly introduces us to more and more characters, making it a bit hard to focus on the main story. I think I remember maybe 3-4 storylines? I suppose part of the suspense is sometimes not being able to remember every part clearly, but it also takes away some of the tension and suspense that is built when it is too diverging.

The characters in this story were quite good and well-developed. People were consistent in their character and actions, and suspicions were easily cast around as new information came to light. This really helped captivate me in the story, as each character seemed like a reasonable suspect, and each had their secrets to hide. Being a little bit invested in each character is an important aspect of a novel to me, as it really helps bind the story together (e.g. not skipping parts about characters you don’t like), and I felt that that was pretty well done here.

The suspense in this story was well done, but nothing too dramatic. There was kind of an underlying tension and suspense that was growing throughout the story, but over all, each little arc of tension and resolution weren’t too heightened. Even at some of the most tense moments, I found that the resolution came fairly quickly, and perhaps I was let off the hook almost too easily. This is obviously just personal opinion, as to how much suspense “should” take place, but for me personally, I was expecting more from the resolution of the tension. I was often left thinking: oh that’s it?

Now for my biggest gripe: the ending. Yes, it was fairly unexpected and I didn’t totally see it coming. However, that didn’t mean it was quite satisfying either. Similar to our buddy review for Don’t Look For Me, where the ending was completely unexpected but also seemingly a little bit out of nowhere, I found the ending in this novel to not give me the satisfying “aha” moment. The best moments in these kinds of suspenses and mysteries are when you finally come to the realization of how everything has panned and played out, and how everything has come to lead up to this exact moment. Let’s just say that in this novel, there is an explanation yes, but it just all seemed like explanations for explanations, and covering up loopholes, as if everything was explained in hindsight, rather than being planned from the beginning. Does this make sense at all? All in all, this ending just really didn’t do it for me.

I would say overall I did enjoy the story though. The suspense was good, the characters were good, and there was good tension in general. The story and history woven in were good, and the general intrigue was well-executed – I enjoyed all the little details of how everything was put together. Perhaps I’m just a little bit too much of a stickler for the ending, if anyone else has read this, what did you think?

Overall Recommendations

The Sanatorium takes places in a beautifully constructed new 5-star hotel (once a sanatorium) in the Swiss Alps, where our protagonist, Elin, is visiting with her boyfriend to celebrate her estranged brother’s new engagement. While seemingly luxurious in its minimalistic design, more and more strange events begin to happen at the hotel: starting with the bride-to-be going missing. What exactly is going on here at this new hotel and who is behind it all? With the heavy storm incoming, how much danger exactly has Elin walked into? This novel had good characters and decent suspense throughout the whole novel, and I would recommend it to any mystery/thriller reader who likes to focus on those elements.