Book of the Week – The Violinist of Venice

Hello gentle reader,

Violinist of Venice

Last winter I received an ARC of The Violinist of Venice by the lovely Alyssa Palombo, but I only recently found the time to read it. This Historical novel came out last December, and it’s Alyssa’s debut.

The story takes place over 30 years in 18th Century Venice, and follows the life of Adrianna D’Amato, a gifted violinist who falls in love with her tutor – the virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. This relationship is impossible in many ways – Adrianna’s father marries her off to another man, and Vivaldi himself is a priest – but their affair will impact both their lives long after it ends.

Although I did enjoy the plot, what really kept me reading this beautifully written book was the world building: Alyssa has seamlessly recreated 18th Century Venice and her descriptions make us feel as if we’re there with Adrianna. It’s also a very interesting portrait of the upper society of the time, where women had very few choices in life and even less freedom.

I recommend this book if you love Historical fiction, Italy and strong female characters. Here is the link to Goodreads if you want to add it.

What have you been reading this week? Feel free to leave me your recommendations below!

Victorian England on TV (part 2)

Hello gentle reader,

In 2013 I wrote a blogpost about TV shows set in Victorian England. Three years later, it seems that networks are still interested in producing such series, even if they don’t necessarily find their audience. Here are the three latest shows that caught my attention:

Jericho_ITV

Jericho

Historical drama set in the Yorkshire Dales. Inspired by the builders of the Ribblehead Viaduct in the 1870s, it follows a widow, Annie, who is left penniless after her husband’s death and decides to move to the shanty town of Jericho in search of work.

Dubbed “Britain’s first Western”, it boasts interesting characters (with a strong female lead and a diverse cast), as well as an impressive set. However I found the plot slightly predictable. ITV cancelled the show after its first series, but these 8 episodes are worth watching.

Photographer: Todd Antony

Photographer: Todd Antony

Dickensian

In the words of the BBC, it’s a “drama set within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ critically acclaimed novels, bringing together some of his most iconic characters as their lives intertwine in 19th-century London.” Bringing together characters from Bleak House, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol, among others, the 20-part mini series shows Inspector Bucket as he investigates the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge’s partner Jacob Marley.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series, which cleverly brought together various famous novels by Dickens. It was very well written and it gave a prominent role to female characters (the young Miss Havisham being a fantastic lead). Each episode mixed mystery, comedy and tragedy, and if you like Dickens’ books, I really recommend you watch this series.

The Living and the Dead

The Living and the Dead

Presented by the BBC as “a Victorian era supernatural drama series about a farm owner who yearns to prove the existence of the afterlife”, this series is the most recent of the three mentioned in this post. Starring Colin Morgan, the 6-part drama is about a pioneering psychologist who moves to his family estate after his wedding to a gifted photographer. As they try to keep the farm afloat, the young couple have to deal with strange and creepy events.

Each episode touches upon Victorian topics (child labour, occultism, etc.) and mixes supernatural and historical events very well. The main character’s slow descent into madness is incredibly well acted by Colin Morgan. And I loved the twist about the mysterious woman in red. I loved this series and I do hope a second one will soon follow.

Have you watched these Victorian TV shows? What did you think? Any other TV series set in Victorian England I should be aware of? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 87

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on GILDED CAGE (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James (expected publication: 14th February 2017 by Del Rey Books). It’s a YA Fantasy set in an alternate modern-day England. I’ve wanted to read this book since the book deal was announced, and this is definitely one of my most anticipated 2017 releases…

Gilded Cage

From Goodreads:

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.

NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.

Our world belongs to the Equals aristocrats with magical gifts and all commoners must serve them for ten years.
But behind the gates of England s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

“A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.”

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty but will her heart pay the price?

“A boy dreams of revolution.”

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

“And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.”

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate or destroy?

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Waiting On Wednesday – 86

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by debut author Kerri Maniscalco (expected publication: 20th September 2016 by Jimmy Patterson). It’s a YA Historical Thriller set in Victorian England, which obviously caught my attention.

Stalking Jack The Ripper

From Goodreads:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Waiting On Wednesday – 85

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE by Stacey Lee (expected publication: December 27th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books). It’s a YA Contemporary Fantasy and Stacey’s third novel. It sounds completely different from her Historical books, and I can’t wait to read it!

Secret of a Heart Note

From Goodreads:

“Most people don’t know that heartache smells like blueberries.”

As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of using her extraordinary sense of smell to mix base notes, top notes, and heart notes into elixirs that help others fall in love—all while remaining incurably alone.

The rules are clear: Falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mim doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of having a normal high school existence, including a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman, Mim has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation. As she races to set the lovers straight, Mim quickly realizes that when it comes to falling in love, the choice isn’t always hers to make.

Stacey Lee is the author of the critically acclaimed UNDER A PAINTED SKY and OUTRUN THE MOON. Hopeful, funny, and romantic, THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE is a sweet and charming coming-of-age story that speaks to all of the senses.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Waiting On Wednesday – 84

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING (Kingdom On Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess (expected publication: 20th September 2016 by Random House BFYR). It’s a YA Historical Fantasy set in Victorian London – you all know how much I love those… And isn’t the cover amazing?

A Shadow Bright and Burning cover

From Goodreads:

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess’s spellbinding fantasy introduces Henrietta Howel, a powerful, unforgettable heroine, and an entertaining world filled with magic, monsters, and mayhem.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Waiting On Wednesday – 83

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’m waiting on CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber (expected publication: 10th January 2017 by Flatiron Books). It’s a YA Fantasy and I CANNOT WAIT for its release, mainly because: 1) the cover is gorgeous, 2) the premise sounds fantastic, 3) I read the first chapters and they’re amazing, 4) Stephanie, whom I met in L.A. last summer, is possibly the nicest person ever, and this is her debut. Is it January yet?

Caraval_final-cover-1

From Goodreads:

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?