Review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter

Kate Morton La hija del relojero

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical fiction novel written by Kate Morton. The story is about a group of young artists who in 1862 spent a few weeks in Birchwood Manor. By the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared. Over a hundrer years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London comes across a leather bag that contains two objects: an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a house and the photograph of a woman. Why does all of this seem so familiar to Elodie? And who is the woman in the photograph?

It’s the fourth novel I read by Kate Morton. They all follow a similar pattern: a mysterious death or disappearance that occurred decades (or centuries) ago will try to be resolved by a character from the present. And there’s always a tinge of romance.

There was a real ghost and some supernatural elements involved in this story. I felt it would’ve been a great opportunity to experiment with some magic realism. But there wasn’t much detail on these elements, which upset me a bit.

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Review: Good morning, midnight

Good Morning Midnight Lily Brooks-Dalton Olivine Books Review

Good morning, midnight is a beautifully written novel following two characters. Augustine, an elderly astronomer who resides in the Artic alone, since his team evacuated a year ago due to war rumors, but he chose to stay. And Sully, an astronaut who is returning to Earth after she and her crew visited Jupiter. They meet briefly from a distance but are more connected than they believe. 

Sully’s chapters were my favorites. One of the aspects that got me hooked was the romance — or rather the possibility of it happening later on, although it’s not the focus of the novel. The story is about what it means to be human, loneliness, and dealing with the past and emotions. 

Augustine’s chapters felt a bit bland in my opinion. And in both storylines, the descriptions became somewhat repetitive. 

Also, it’s not your typical sci-fi novel full of action. It’s character-driven and filled with introspection. Things start to get interesting towards the end which was a bummer to not be able to find out what happened afterward.

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Review: My Heart is a Chainsaw

my heart is a chainsaw stephen graham jones

My Heart is a Chainsaw centers on Jade Daniels, a half-native american outcast with an abusive father and an absent mother. She finds comfort in an unsual source: horror films, especially slasher ones. Jade narrates the story of the town of Proofrock as if it were one of those movies. But when people actually start dying in the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls the reader inside her encyclopedic knowledge of murders and her predictions were right all along. As Jade drags us into this nightmare, we get to know the true side of her: a sensible who has suffered and desperately wants a home. A girl whose heart is like a chainsaw.

I have conflicting thoughts as I’m writing this review. First off, I LOVED the slasher theme here and all the references to slasher movies. I’ve seen several of the ones the author mentioned throughout the story, and the comparisons and connections were on point.

Our main character, Jade, is peculiar. At first, it was hard for me to empathize with her until I got to know her better in later chapters. Her behaviors are odd, and even though she is obsessed with everything slasher-related, her intentions are good. She has a dark sense of humor, very sarcastic, but I actually found some parts funny, which is so weird because it’s the last type of book I thought I’d find myself laughing out loud. Her voice felt vivid.

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Review: Autumn

Ali Smith Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith is a Brexit novel but at the same time, it isn’t. It’s a story about love, friendship and growing old. The description on Goodreads is just as vague: Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever…

Some passages are very abstract and it’s filled with metaphors. Sometimes there’s a metaphor within a metaphor. And there’s no chronological timeline or specific plot. Things just happen, and Ali Smith does an excellent job at making the mundane seem interesting. 

Although it’s short, it’s not the type of book you should rush through. On the contrary, I enjoyed it more when I read it slower. The reader must be committed to pay attention and make inferences, as many of the events and things described require interpretation. There’s also a lot of cultural references which I suggest you look up in case you don’t know much about them. 

There’s a main character, two actually, Elizabeth and Mr. Gluck. But they’re not the sole focus of the story. The narrator is sometimes omnipresent, sometimes tacitly becomes the characters, while other times it narrates scenes with no characters involved. 

There’s a prominent Virginia Woolf influence, but Ali Smith has a more modern, direct, and unique style. Her words flow easily, it feels as if you were floating in a body of water and the only way to read the novel is to let yourself go and flow with the current. 

I cannot wait to read the rest of the seasonal quartet.

Overall rating: 4/5

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight

a court of frost and starlight sarah j maas

I know ACOFS isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a novella that’s meant to serve as transition and closure.

I’m glad Sarah J. Maas wrote this. In many books, whether stand-alone or series, we never know what happened to the characters afterward, leaving the reader intrigued. I prefer knowing vs. not knowing the continuation, even if it’s short and lacks action. 

☼ I loved seeing how Feyre’s and Rhy’s relationship continues to evolve, even if they constantly calling each other mate. Let them be, they’ve only been together for a year lol. 

☼ We witness how the rest of the characters manage (or at least try) to move on after the events of ACOWAR.

☼ And lastly, we get an introduction to Nesta’s and Cassian’s upcoming story. I was liking Nesta in the previous book, but not I’ve gone back to disliking her. The Archeron sisters are stubborn, but she wins first place by far. 

Now I have ACOSF left to read, but I think I’ll wait a bit. I’ve heard that Rhys becomes unbearable and I’m not ready to hate him. 

Review: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath Harper Perennial

I am genuinely surprised that I’d enjoyed The Bell Jar this much. The first time I tried reading it was back in 2018 but couldn’t continue after just a few chapters. It really affected my mood, and maybe that’s because I wasn’t in the best place emotionally speaking back then. But now that has changed, and I’m glad I decided to give this book a second chance!

Despite being a rather sad story about Esther Greenwood going mad with depression (and possibly schizophrenia), her peculiar retellings and personality have made her a memorable character for me. Mental health is a topic that’s greatly discussed nowadays, but it wasn’t so much in the ’60s when it was first published. And while most of us stay informed, only a handful undergo severe conditions like the one Sylvia Plath recounted.

In addition to the psychological side of this novel, here Plath goes beyond and shares common experiences, misconceptions, and doubts that many young women go through while entering womanhood.

Despite being a little over 200 pages long, here the reader will experiment alongside Esther, all sorts of emotions — from funny moments to very gruesome ones. The quality of Sylvia Plath’s writing makes it all palpable and real, being simple yet beautiful.

I can officially say it has become a new favorite of mine, and it won’t be my last time reading it.

“I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.”

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Overall rating: 4/5

* Trigger warning: suicide