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review 2018-03-05 04:20
The Coincidence Makers
The Coincidence Makers: A Novel - Yoav Blum

After reading the blurb for this one, I was excited to start reading it, so I loaded it up on my Kindle immediately and dove in. More than a month later, after laying it aside numerous times, I was still trying to finish. I did finally make it to the end, but for such an intriguing premise, the delivery fell quite short. The book is a bit of a hodge-podge of genres ranging from Sci-fi to romance and even some mystery. The reader is treated to some rather boring, textbook-like 'excerpts' from the Coincidence Makers... Umm... Manual? But, that wasn't the worst of it for me. No, that came when I finally hit about 50% and was still waiting for something to happen to show me where this convoluted tale with its lackluster characters was heading. At that point, I started skimming, but that didn't work either because then things made even less sense. Maybe this one just wasn't for me, but I came away sorely disappointed with the end result of what started as such an interesting concept.

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text 2018-02-11 19:26
Reading progress update: I've read 19%.
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern  A lot of people are comparing this to The Night Circus, which is one of the reasons why I picked it up. Completely different story, but has a similar magical feel to it.

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review 2018-01-24 15:00
A fine piece of magic realism – a little long but very good
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale


This novel takes us from 1906 to 1953 in the life of Papa Jack's Emporium in which toys are miraculously brought to life to the delight of shoppers in the winter months. It is also the story of Cathy Wray who finds herself arriving there in 1906 and her development alongside the Godman family who run the shop.

Generally enlightening and engaging, this book is full of wonders but also melancholy in many ways as things do not go always as expected or as planned. Strong on character development and on magic realism, it is enjoyable but perhaps a little overlong in the second half.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



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text 2017-12-30 14:51
December Wrap-up
Old Celtic Romances - P.W. Joyce
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols - Laura Tempest Zakroff
Fairies:: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk - Morgan Daimler
Dreamtime Dragons - Nils Visser
The Grand Phantom - Harold Cloninger
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Plum Dandi Knits: Simple Designs for Luxury Yarns - Alicia Plummer,Melissa Schaschwary
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gowar
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale
About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution - Paul Davies

Yes, there's one more day but although I'm getting close to finishing Uprooted by Naomi Novik, I definitely won't be finishing any other books before January 1st.


I seem to have given myself a lot of non-fiction to read this month. Mostly from Netgalley.


I expect to finish Uprooted between today and tomorrow so I'm counting 11 books for the month. Not bad for me!


The stand out ones besides Uprooted (which I'm really enjoying) would be The Toy Makers and the Dreamtime Dragons Anthology. Both have given me a lot of reading pleasure. I enjoyed the re-reading of A Christmas Carol too. 5 of the books are non-fiction so only a couple of meh books.


I also got through some of the samples backlog again. I've only got about 80 left. I collected a LOT over Halloween!


I still have some non-fiction reads in progress so that may slow me down for January reading, but I seem to be averaging more in a month than I used to. I blame all of you.

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review 2017-12-05 14:55
The Toy Makers
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale

by Robert Dinsdale


This is a story about a magical toyshop in the heart of Mayfair, just at the beginning of WWI. A young girl, Cathy, is pregnant and not at all happy with her parent's plans to send her to a 'home' where her baby will be sold to adoptive parents and she can try to pick up the threads of her life in shame.


An employment advert comes to her attention and she decides to take control of her destiny and forge another way forward.


From the start it is clear that the toyshop is out of the ordinary. I found myself quickly getting into the childlike sense of wonder that this magical place attracts and enjoyed watching Cathy learn to fit in with the other residents and toy makers.


It isn't all magic and joy though. The real world encroaches on the magical world of the toyshop, especially when the Great War breaks out. By then we've already learned the far too real history of Papa Jack, who started the toy shop with his two sons. The contrast of the magical world within the real world makes for a good story and kept me interested all the way through.


There is everything from sibling rivalry to magical animals that come alive, war time prejudices contrasted with paper trees that grow and develop living paper mache wildlife, war time correspondence and through it all the perspective of a child discovering everything for the first time.


It's not all happy, but the twist at the end makes the journey worthwhile. Well defined characters and a very unpredictable plot along with good writing make this one of the best books I've read this year!

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