Book Review: The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

I’ve been a fan of Katarina West ever since I reviewed Witchcraft Couture way back when. So, when I was approached to give my thoughts on The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice, refusing was never going to be an option.

The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice tells the story of Irene Nylander, a frumpy Finnish woman who is ignored by her husband and constantly undermined by her mother-in-law, who she has given up everything to take care of. On her 50th birthday, Irene finds out her husband is having an affair and, absolutely distraught, she decides she wants to die. Prank-loving angel Aaron hears these thoughts and decides that Irene will swap bodies with Hollywood superstar, Mimi Kavanough.

Ok, I know what you are thinking. The body swap story has been overdone and yes, I would agree. But I think West takes a new angle in this book with the intervention of angels. So, the book tells the story of three people instead of two: Irene, Mimi and Aaron. And that makes it all the more interesting.

Aaron is the instigator of the body swap and so the story needs him, even if he wasn’t my favourite character. It was Irene who was my favourite character and I was cheering her on from the very first page. Immediately, I felt sympathy for her and I knew almost instantly I was going to like her. She brought an intense start to the book but that didn’t turn me off. I liked that she made me feel emotional, and, later on, she also brings some very warm moments to the story.

Mimi, on the other hand, is not likeable at all, staying true to the role of celebrity spoiled brat throughout. But she was needed to balance Irene and I think West used this relationship of sorts to come to a good conclusion for both characters (although there will be a second book, so the story is not finished yet!).

Overall, I liked this book. I was eager to find out what was going to happen next, just as eager as I am to read the next book. Even more so, I like West as a writer and I am happy to be on her creative journey as each book is better than the last. Pick this up for your next weekend read – it will leave you with a smile on your face.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Katarina West

Book Review: Penny White and the Temptation of Dragons by Chrys Cymri

If you are a fan of parallel worlds, dragons and mythical creatures, then Penny White and the Temptation of Dragons by Chrys Cymri is the book for you!

Penny White is an everyday kinda vicar in rural England whose life changes soon after she finds herself giving a dragon the last rites. She proceeds to become a part-time vicar in Lloegyr, a parallel world populated by many fantastical creatures who also share the Christian faith.

When I was asked to review this book, I was at first expecting the story to be a lot darker. But, as soon as Lloegyr and its wonderful creatures were introduced, I was immediately reminded of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I knew Penny White was going to be a winner.

Cymri grips the reader from the beginning as the first few pages tell the death of a dragon on an English motorway. From there, we are brought on Penny’s journey in discovering Lloegyr. It was nice to discover this new world and its creatures at the same time as Penny; I felt her bewilderment and excitement at the same time. Nothing is presumed of the reader by the author so I didn’t feel left behind when it came to information.

Penny was a great character and very likeable, which I guess one wouldn’t often expect from a character who is a vicar. The book showed aspects of Penny’s faith and her commitment to it and I liked the theme of religion binding our world and that of Lloegyr together. It gave the message that we are all the same when it come down to it. But Penny also liked to drink whisky, was an avid Dr Who fan and grumbled about some of the tasks she had to perform as part of her daily duties and this makes her down to earth and relatable to the reader. I actually think that the character of Penny is based on Cymri herself and that made Penny all the more real to me.

I also enjoyed the theme of friendship in this book, especially between Penny and Morey, a gryphon who is Penny’s associate. Although Morey’s sarcasm and his tendency to be judgemental had Penny believing that they would not get along, they eventually become good friends, loyal to each other through tough times. We also see an unlikely bond form between Morey and snail shark Clyde, again showcasing the message of us all being equal and not judging a book by its cover (like I did before reading this. Oops).

I can’t really do anything but recommend this book, especially if you are the kind who loves getting lost in an alternate reality. And, if you feel cold turkey after finishing the last page, be comforted in the fact that there is more to come in this series.

I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

Penny White