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."
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.”
Good day, our fine readers! We hope that you are all doing well and ready with a glass of Demoniac in hand for today’s book of choice: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. This is a hauntingly beautiful retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. For a very special treat, this post is one of our author interview posts! We got to ask Nghi Vo some questions and peek behind the curtain of her inner thoughts for how and why she wrote this gorgeous piece of work. So, as always, stay tuned past the “read more” link and check out the interview with Vo after a quick synopsis and our own thoughts about the book.
“Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.”
Hello everyone! We are excited to be back again to share this amazing book, The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin. Further posts will be coming a bit more often hopefully. For us, it all depends on what is happening in our lives. Ashli lives with chronic pain and fatigue and Erin has two amazing kids that keep her on her toes. But this blog keeps us reading and we love getting to share our new favourite books with all of you lovely readers. Without further ado, let us introduce you to this week’s new release!
“Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.
August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old book shop nestled in the heart of London.
Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.”
This week we are diving into the beautiful debut novel by Sarah Penner, The Lost Apothecary. Both of us got this book as a digital Arc through Netgalley and it was actually Ashli’s first arc through this service all because of Erin’s insistent texts with bits of the tale. We knew that we had to talk to Sarah so our personal reviews are going to be brief and then we will dive straight into our conversation with Sarah about her research into this time period and herbology as well as try to tease some information about upcoming projects out of her. Don’t stop scrolling though because at the very end Sarah gave us a couple photos of her research materials that we can share with all of you! Without further ado, The Lost Apothecary…
“Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella waits for her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new customer turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she discovers an old apothecary vial in the River Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters, and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating exploration of women rebelling against a man’s world, the destructive force of revenge, and the remarkable ways that women can save each other despite the barrier of time.”
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…”
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E Schwab… This book left us speechless for the longest time. But now we have way too many words to say that we knew we had to make a blog post about it. But first, here is the official description of Addie:
"A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name."
Now that you are also hooked (and hopefully buying a copy of the book to read yourself); here are our own thoughts on this masterpiece!