A favourite winter tradition for many is to take the family to a rendition of The Nutcracker ballet. If they can't go to the ballet, there are countless movies to stream instead. While we love both of these options for our Nutcracker fix; books are where it is at. Therefore it was a no brainer that we'd be picking up Midnight In Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar. It is a beautiful retelling of the classic tale. We will warn you all that this is a typical British written novel. The pacing is a little bit slower but the magic pulls you through until the very end. You still fall deeply in love with all the characters and the story. Just keep in mind that you need to be in the right mindset for a slow paced magical romp in order to enjoy it at its fullest.
With that said, we got to interview M.A. Kuzniar to find out where her choices came from and, of course, find out her tea (or lack of tea) preferences. Here's a quick blurb on what Midnight In Everwood is about and then onto the interview!
In the darkness of night, magic awaits…Nottingham, 1906
Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but, as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered – she must marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But, when a mysterious toymaker, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in Marietta’s life.
After Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance on Christmas Eve, Marietta discovers it carries a magic all of its own – a magic darker than anyone could imagine. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself transported from her family’s ballroom to a frozen sugar palace, silent with secrets, in a forest of snow-topped fir trees. She must find a way to return home before she’s trapped in Everwood’s enchanting grip forever.
In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…
Hello and welcome to the beautiful winter season here at Books, Tea & Whiskers. It's getting chilly out there so now is the perfect time to curl up by the fire with a cup of tea and our furry friends to keep us warm. The best books to do that with are those with a wintery tale, of course! Get cozy because we have two amazing author interviews for you which will help you choose your next favourite wintery read. First up is Ashli's newest favourite book (second to The Night Circus, but its climbed fast); The Winter Garden by Alexandra Bell. For this post, we are going to dive straight into the interview after this quick blurb to get you hooked:
"Welcome to the Winter Garden. Open only at 13 o'clock.
You are invited to enter an unusual competition.
I am looking for the most magical, spectacular, remarkable pleasure garden this world has to offer.
On the night her mother dies, 8-year-old Beatrice receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden. A place of wonder and magic, filled with all manner of strange and spectacular flora and fauna, the garden is her solace every night for seven days. But when the garden disappears, and no one believes her story, Beatrice is left to wonder if it were truly real.
Eighteen years later, on the eve of her wedding to a man her late father approved of but she does not love, Beatrice makes the decision to throw off the expectations of Victorian English society and search for the garden. But when both she and her closest friend, Rosa, receive invitations to compete to create spectacular pleasure gardens - with the prize being one wish from the last of the Winter Garden's magic - she realises she may be closer to finding it than she ever imagined.
Now all she has to do is win."
When a book’s first description is “the Hunger Games for villains” there is no chance that we are missing that story. We’d like to think that all our readers are already aware; but we are major fans of the villains here at Books, Tea, & Whiskers. It’s only natural that we have decided to review and discuss the newest book from Amanda Foody, co-written with Christine Lynn Herman, All of Us Villains. It is such an interesting take on the idea of pitting children against each other in a battle for their lives. Blood before all; let’s get ourselves some Villains.
“The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.
The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world--one thought long depleted.
This year, thanks to a salacious tell-all book, the seven champions are thrust into worldwide spotlight, granting each of them new information, new means to win, and most importantly: a choice - accept their fate or rewrite their story.
But this is a story that must be penned in blood.”
Come into the Sin Corridor with us and discover which house is your ultimate destiny… Welcome to our discussion on Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco! You’ll remember that one of our first posts talked about Kingdom of the Wicked, book one of this beautifully haunting and sexy series by the author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Ashli was on board for the whole thing, while Erin was busy questioning the time period. There is a lot to discuss about Emelia and Wrath’s adventures in this volume of their tale so let’s get to it!
“After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.
She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria... even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.
The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world... or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?
Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves...
Two sinful princes.
Infinite deception with a side of revenge… Welcome to Hell.”
This last week has been a rollercoaster of books for the two of us here at Books, Tea & Whiskers. We’ve finished two cliff-hangers and have A LOT to talk about for both books. To start, let’s talk about Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. This is the first book in a new series that takes place in the world of her first trilogy, Caraval. You don’t need to have read Caraval in order to enjoy this one, but you will need to have a copy handy for the end so that you can binge that series afterwards. Trust us; you’ll see why in a moment.
“How far would you go for happily ever after?
For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings...until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.
Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.
But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy….”
Well, hello there strangers! We are back after our summer hiatus with a wonderful little romp in the afterlife. This post is slightly different from our usual back and forth because our thoughts literally just worked out much better this way for this particular review. Feel free to let us know either in the comments or on Instagram as to the format that you all prefer. The goal is to make this as reader friendly for all of you so you can find your next read. And now, onto the synopsis and discussion!
"When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop's owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn't ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo's help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with."
Greetings readers! As we speak, the sun is shining and the temperature is that perfect balance where we could spend most of the day curled up outside with a book. There are so many on our TBR lists including a few that will be coming up here on the blog that we need this weather as long as possible.
This week, we bring you our many thoughts (mostly good we swear) for Victoria Aveyard’s newest book; Realm Breaker! It’s been a long wait since we first heard about it but our copies finally arrived in the mail and man did we binge read this week. As always, click that read more button after the synopsis and enjoy! We will warn readers… There are some spoilers as we couldn’t not talk about one of the big twists. Sorry but not sorry y’all!
“A strange darkness grows in Allward.
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.”
Alright folks… We finally gave into the amount of love that people have for From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout. However… Neither of us really fell in love. You’ll see with our thoughts once you click that read more button at the end of the upcoming description of the book in question which starts… Now!
“Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.”
The moment Erin has been waiting for is finally here! We are talking all about A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas today and Erin has lots to say. With this being Erin’s favourite author and series, Ashli is not surprised and was happy to take the backseat on this one to let Erin rant. But in all honesty, this book has a lot to talk about and we really only scratch the surface. Both of us loved it and can give it a 5/5 on the star rating scale. As always, we can’t wait to see what Maas brings us next.
“Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she''s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can''t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre''s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta''s orbit. But her temper isn''t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.”
It’s the end of January and we are ready for a new month. Hopefully everyone is doing well and coping during this ultra long pandemic. For our last review of the month, we are finally looking at one of Ashli’s favourite authors, Kerri Maniscalco. Maniscalco is known for her Stalking Jack the Ripper series. In October of 2020, she released book one of her new series, Kingdom of the Wicked. As usual, here is the official blurb for the book and then we’ll jump right into our thoughts.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…”