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Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close. So when the seemingly-perfect Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close. So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples. And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and—despite anyone’s desire—always prefers choosing its own vessel.


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Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close. So when the seemingly-perfect Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close. So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples. And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and—despite anyone’s desire—always prefers choosing its own vessel.

30 review for Ivory Apples

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Tired of the same boring, unoriginal fantasy books? Then Ivory Apples might just be exactly what you need. It's a refreshingly unique take on magical realism from National Book Award-winner, Lisa Goldstein. I cannot tell you how much I loved it and finished it in a mere few hours despite trying to savour it. Both the primary and secondary characters were fleshed out incredibly well and were thoroughly engaging and the mix of mystery, magical realism, suspense, fantasy and mythology worked superb Tired of the same boring, unoriginal fantasy books? Then Ivory Apples might just be exactly what you need. It's a refreshingly unique take on magical realism from National Book Award-winner, Lisa Goldstein. I cannot tell you how much I loved it and finished it in a mere few hours despite trying to savour it. Both the primary and secondary characters were fleshed out incredibly well and were thoroughly engaging and the mix of mystery, magical realism, suspense, fantasy and mythology worked superbly to propel the slow-burn tale forward. It follows Ivy and her sisters who are desperately trying to guard a family secret - their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually renowned writer Adela Madden, author of a book named Ivory Apples but values her privacy fiercely. When obsessive fan Kate Burden becomes too close to finding out the truth the sisters swing into action and come to her defence by trying to keep Kate at arm's length. The writing style is really quite exhilarating and beautiful; it had me feeling very nostalgic and remembering reading all of those wonderful 90s fantasies I immersed myself in. It's a powerful story and as it moves forward it gets darker and darker and you see exactly how many intricate layers make up the plot. A great, original read. Many thanks to Tachyon Publications for an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    In Ivory Apples , four young sisters end up at the mercy of an outsider who charms her way into their family and then takes over. Kate is a clever but overly obsessed fan of the classic children's fantasy book Ivory Apples -- not just because she loves the story, but because she suspects that the author, Adela Martin, had access to real magic as she wrote the book, and Kate wants some of her own. Oldest sister Ivy is the only one not fully taken in by Kate's schemes, and breaks away from the fami In Ivory Apples , four young sisters end up at the mercy of an outsider who charms her way into their family and then takes over. Kate is a clever but overly obsessed fan of the classic children's fantasy book Ivory Apples -- not just because she loves the story, but because she suspects that the author, Adela Martin, had access to real magic as she wrote the book, and Kate wants some of her own. Oldest sister Ivy is the only one not fully taken in by Kate's schemes, and breaks away from the family in order to keep her aunt's secrets, only to return in desperation when she realizes that her sisters need rescuing. Meanwhile, Kate is right about one thing -- there IS a source of real magic, and Adela and Ivy both have access to it. I enjoyed the family dynamics and Ivy herself, as well as the central role played by the book Ivory Apples and its secrets. Not all of the magical aspects made complete sense to me, and the sense of urgency throughout lagged from time to time. Still, the book is different and unusual in all sorts of ways, and Kate makes for a devious and menacing bad guy beneath her pleasant and child-friendly exterior. I'd definitely like to read more by this author. Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley. Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies.

  3. 5 out of 5

    amanda

    ”Oh, I’m far older than that. Older than the trees, younger than the moon.” You know that feeling you get from a certain person? You just know they’re no good but nobody listens to you because said person manages to cover their bullshit scent with piles of floral perfume and laces their poison with sugar? Yup. Ivy knows just that person and she has come to ruin her and her family’s life. What’s left of it at least. Her mother Jane has died long ago so the family she does have is her father, four sis ”Oh, I’m far older than that. Older than the trees, younger than the moon.” You know that feeling you get from a certain person? You just know they’re no good but nobody listens to you because said person manages to cover their bullshit scent with piles of floral perfume and laces their poison with sugar? Yup. Ivy knows just that person and she has come to ruin her and her family’s life. What’s left of it at least. Her mother Jane has died long ago so the family she does have is her father, four sisters, great aunt Maeve, and a distant uncle. There is a big secret in the family if you must know. Great aunt Maeve is famous. So famous that her name is a pseudonym for Adela Martin. That’s right , the author of the best selling and iconic Ivory Apples. Aunt Maeve is notoriously reclusive and elusive and she always has been. That is just her way. So when the seemingly charming Kate Burden comes out of nowhere Ivy is on guard even though the rest of her family is not. This is a fairy tale filled with despair, sprites, poetry, and muses. In the end Ivy finds herself and we learn about the Ivory Apples and what it takes to be inspirational. From the start this was a different kind of story than what I usually read. I loved the writing right away. Ivy is wise for her years and that must come from the loss of her mother at a young age or it’s just who she is a person overall. No matter what I truly admired who she was and loved her personality. She grew and went through so much and I saw myself in her. I am also the eldest out of four girls and minor spoilers. Talia told her that she put everything ,even her dreams, on the back burner for her sisters. OOF. Major OOF. That hit me right in the gut. I had to do that to take care of my mother who had a stroke when I was 18 and take care of my sisters and family as well. It was necessary but also yeah, it’s hard as hell. Being the oldest is not fun at times. Great Aunt Maeve. Omg, what I hope to be in my older years. Famous elusive author who lives in the woods and just wants her checks lmaooo. But I also felt she was kind of selfish in a way? She could have done way more tbh and adapted to the way of the internet like Ivy’s father suggested but…older people sigh. Ms. Burden…guys…this is a villain you’re going to love to hate. Just…I hate her and I will always hate her. The sprites and the muses are amazing dreams. ALL AROUND. LOVE LOVE LOVEEE. This was fun and riveting to read. I’m coming around to fantasy novels especially if they’re like this. This is a modern day fairy tale NOT centered around love and I really really enjoyed it. Give me that fucked up family dynamic and I’m all for it apparently. There were some parts that I felt buckled but the writing is nice and I really think it hit that ‘we’re sisters but I will fuck you up if you look at me again’ vibe nice. You should definitely check this out if you’re looking for a nice fairy tale and a book within a book adventure. Thank you very much to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own. ”You interfered in the work of the gods,” she said. “And for that I sentence you to death.”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Actual rating: 2.5 stars I'm kinda disappointed in this one.. Full review: http://evelynreads.com/ivory-apples-a... Actual rating: 2.5 stars I'm kinda disappointed in this one.. Full review: http://evelynreads.com/ivory-apples-a...

  5. 5 out of 5

    WS_BOOKCLUB

    Thank you to Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be released on October 15th. Um…what did I just read? This book had such potential! I wanted to love it, but it left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. The thing is, I felt like this book was originally an idea for two separate books that kind of melded together into one book. The problem is, they didn’t mesh well. Ivory’s great-aunt is a famous but reclusive author. No one outside the family knows where s Thank you to Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be released on October 15th. Um…what did I just read? This book had such potential! I wanted to love it, but it left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. The thing is, I felt like this book was originally an idea for two separate books that kind of melded together into one book. The problem is, they didn’t mesh well. Ivory’s great-aunt is a famous but reclusive author. No one outside the family knows where she lives now and she has no interest in responding to fan mail, answering questions about her work, or- really- discussing it at all. Ivory and her family- her father, and three sisters- visit on occasion. Usually, the kids wander around while Ivory’s dad goes over business things with their great-aunt. On one such trip, Ivory comes across a shocking scene. It changes things for her, and affects her entire life afterward. Here’s the first issue I had with this book; aside from a few vague questions that aren’t satisfactorily answered, Ivory seems to accept this huge thing with very little issue. For me, it’d be a “Holy hand-grenade! What was that?”, type of thing, but she just kind of went with it. Shortly after that, the kids meet a kind woman named Ms. Burden. Something about her bothers Ivory, but no one else shares her suspicions. Things progress, and Ms. Burden suddenly becomes much more involved in their lives. Ivory has to protect her great-aunt’s secret while figuring out what Ms. Burden’s ulterior motive is, assuming she actually has one. At this point in the book, things start to get very choppy. There’s several chapters where not much happens at all. Ivory ends up kind of on her own, with no other characters to interact with. That would be fine if it led to some character growth. It really didn’t, though. By the time the book got back to the original narrative, I’d lost interest.. There were a lot of things that were just accepted, then never really explored throughout this book. It’s really too bad; there were some themes that could have been fascinating if they’d gotten a little more attention. Ultimately, I think what this book really needed was to become two separate novels. On their own, each of the disparate ideas would have worked very well; they just didn’t get along.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Absolutely loved this until the very end. For some reason the clean cut ending and drab feeling really killed the story for me. But up until then...I was fully hooked. Stayed up most of a night reading this because I couldn’t put it down. It’s a fantasy that really sucks you in at first. A totally unique tale. Just too bad about the ending. My copy was provided by NetGalley for review all opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ This is a very difficult book to review for the simple reason that although it was well written and engaging, it was also unrelentingly dreary. There were no redeeming moments, no characters I liked or wanted to root for, and not a single upbeat or uplifting moment to relieve the bleakness. Life sucks, the bad triumph, and magic isn't wonderful: just indifferent and damaging. I had a hard time picking the book up agai More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ This is a very difficult book to review for the simple reason that although it was well written and engaging, it was also unrelentingly dreary. There were no redeeming moments, no characters I liked or wanted to root for, and not a single upbeat or uplifting moment to relieve the bleakness. Life sucks, the bad triumph, and magic isn't wonderful: just indifferent and damaging. I had a hard time picking the book up again each time I put it down because I didn't want to go to such a dark place again. Story: Teenager Ivy, her father, and her 3 sisters live a quiet life in Oregon. Only they know that their eccentric great aunt is the author of a beloved and favorite fantasy novel whose fans are impassioned. Ivy's great Aunt lives alone in a remote area and the kids visit her once a year while their father makes a living from answering fan mail to the author. When the girls make friends with a lovely lady by the name of Kate Burden, they think all is well. Until tragedy strikes and their world gets turned upside down. It's a hard book because these young girls are psychologically and physically tortured, one lives on the street at age 15, doing casual sex, alcohol, larceny, and such, and the rest of the sisters are emotionally damaged through a repeated ordeal. Without giving too much away here, it's a dark book with dark things happening. The premise here is that Ivy, when young, encountered a 'sprite' or muse and bonded with 'him' - and he often takes her over and does random and often bad things. Ivy survives her ordeals because of the spirit but she also pays a heavy price for him as well. At the same time, Ivy is trying to figure out Kate Burden and how she came into their lives and managed to take so much control of it. And whether Kate is another fan after Ivy's Great Aunt - and perhaps a spirit of her own. One could say that author Goldstein put a heaping of reality checks in this book - the ambivalence of the sprites, the unrelenting darkness of a bad situation, the mistakes a young girl makes when left to her own devices. It's probably a book you don't want to read if you are a parent since it will undoubtedly trigger parental concerns. For me, I just found this so hard to read. It was far too depressing and dark and not what I was in a mind for at the time. It was definitely engaging - there is a lot of mystery to solve about the great Aunt, about Ivy's spirit, about the muses themselves, about Kate Burden, etc. But it didn't make me WANT to read them either. And that meant I finished this book because I had to for a review and not because I wanted to or enjoyed it. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Rodrigues

    *I consumed this story in less than 24 hours.* Ivy and her three younger sisters live a normal middle class life with their widowed father, with one big secret -- once a month, they go out to visit their secretive great-aunt Maeve who lives in isolation away from the view of her hoards of adoring fans. Aunt Maeve is the author of Ivory Apples, a fantasy cult favorite with a huge and obsessive following, and Ivy's father manages her finances and fan mail. After stumbling upon the supernatural durin *I consumed this story in less than 24 hours.* Ivy and her three younger sisters live a normal middle class life with their widowed father, with one big secret -- once a month, they go out to visit their secretive great-aunt Maeve who lives in isolation away from the view of her hoards of adoring fans. Aunt Maeve is the author of Ivory Apples, a fantasy cult favorite with a huge and obsessive following, and Ivy's father manages her finances and fan mail. After stumbling upon the supernatural during one of the visits to Aunt Maeve, Ivy finds herself with a secret supernatural companion named Piper whose capricious whimsy often threatens to overwhelm her own desires and feelings. And, at around the same time, a vaguely innocuous woman named Kate befriends Ivy's sisters and inserts herself into their lives. On the surface, Kate is a delightful lady, but something about her makes Ivy and Piper uneasy. The author has a deliberate way with words. The mystery around Kate's intentions kept me guessing -- clearly she is going to be important in these girls' lives, but is she going to be a mother figure or the villain? I was particularly impressed with the scene when Ivy stumbles upon the world of the supernatural in the grove behind Aunt Maeve's house. The descriptions of her first encounter with Piper were palpable. And, as only children can do, she immediately goes back to her normal life after experiencing something so incredible. I have some criticisms of the book, mainly that it didn't end the way I wanted it to end, but it's still a good ending. And any criticisms I may have are far outweighed by the magic of the rest of the story. It was full of the grittiness and darkness and hopefulness of old fairy tales, and it's something I'd certainly read again. arc received from the publisher

  9. 4 out of 5

    Judi Easley

    Ivory Apples Lisa Goldstein Tachyon Pub, Sep 20, 2019 288 pages Fantasy Provided by Edelweiss ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The cover is delightful and definitely gives you the feeling of this book. It’s magical and its best magic happens in a garden. The story is twisty, almost like a mystery. You start out with what seems like an innocent story, then you get caught up in an escape act with Ivy, who is the primary character and in whose mind you seem to spend your time. After awhile Ivy remembers her sisters and the nanny and Ivory Apples Lisa Goldstein Tachyon Pub, Sep 20, 2019 288 pages Fantasy Provided by Edelweiss ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The cover is delightful and definitely gives you the feeling of this book. It’s magical and its best magic happens in a garden. The story is twisty, almost like a mystery. You start out with what seems like an innocent story, then you get caught up in an escape act with Ivy, who is the primary character and in whose mind you seem to spend your time. After awhile Ivy remembers her sisters and the nanny and returns to find out what has been happening back at home. What she finds and what happens from there comprises some really rough twists and some amazing changes in all their lives. While Ivy and her sprite have been off having their adventures and causing havoc in the wide world, what has been happening back home? To her two younger sisters who are still in the care of Kate Burden? To their house? To Great-Aunt Maude? To the garden? To the magic? And what will happen when magic makes its decision? You do know that you can’t force magic to do things your way, don’t you? Magic always makes its own decisions about where it goes and who it goes with. For some magic can be a reward, but for others, magic can be a punishment of the worst kind. I highly recommend this magic fantasy. In my mind, it’s a woman’s tale, maybe because so many of the characters are women and there’re the garden and the apples. Things that I associate in such abundance with women. Also because there is such a feminine feeling to the book, though nothing says that a man wouldn’t enjoy the story just as much as I did.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    This fantasy novel started off with promise and some beautiful writing: in a grove in the woods, a girl incorporates a sprite into her body, and has to learn to control it and when to let it take control. The grove is owned by her great-aunt, a recluse who write a best-selling fantasy novel herself but became plagued by fans and hides from them. So far, so good. But then the story's development gets unfocused and the writing changes, becoming flat and dull, and the plot becomes ever-more complic This fantasy novel started off with promise and some beautiful writing: in a grove in the woods, a girl incorporates a sprite into her body, and has to learn to control it and when to let it take control. The grove is owned by her great-aunt, a recluse who write a best-selling fantasy novel herself but became plagued by fans and hides from them. So far, so good. But then the story's development gets unfocused and the writing changes, becoming flat and dull, and the plot becomes ever-more complicated and full of nonsensical actions on the parts of the characters, who also fail to develop beyond the two-dimensional. The sprite-carrying protagonist soon finds her life infiltrated by an obsessed fan of her great-aunt; soon the fan has killed Ivy's dad and taken over control of Ivy and her three younger sisters, Ivy leaves, and there are gaps in the story where she simply says "years went by." The sprite in her body comes and goes in mentions so inconsistently it's as if it's not really part of the story, and Ivy's sisters, the evil guardian, and other characters do seemingly random and bizarre things that are unrelated, or, equally strangely, pick up conversations ended seemingly months or years before as if nothing had intervened. The book reads like it needed a lot more developmental editing and another year or two to be fully cooked.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendi Lee

    I wanted to ruminate about this novel for a few days before writing a review. I'm frustrated, guys! Part of me really liked it, ultimately it fell short. Ivy is visiting her great-aunt Maeve, when her life is changed permanently, and in a very supernatural way. Ivy and her sisters have already suffered through terrible circumstances (the death of their mother), and soon more tragedy befalls them via Kate Burden. Kate is a terrific villain. I could read entire books about Kate, and her past adven I wanted to ruminate about this novel for a few days before writing a review. I'm frustrated, guys! Part of me really liked it, ultimately it fell short. Ivy is visiting her great-aunt Maeve, when her life is changed permanently, and in a very supernatural way. Ivy and her sisters have already suffered through terrible circumstances (the death of their mother), and soon more tragedy befalls them via Kate Burden. Kate is a terrific villain. I could read entire books about Kate, and her past adventures (misdeeds?) before her path crossed Ivy's. Ivy also had a poignant story arc and some character development, though I did struggle with her various life choices. I felt badly about her sisters, almost more than I thought Ivy did. And that, my friends, is my biggest problem with the book. Ivy can be a very unsympathetic character, and I struggled with her relationship with her family, and her reactions to circumstances around them. It would be different if they were bad people, or had contentious relationships with Ivy, but they weren't and didn't. I was also disappointed by the ending.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julenka

    Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. I wanted to love this book so so much, but unfortunately, it fell short for me. My rating is somewhere between 2 and 2,5. The premise is incredibly exciting and exactly my jam: The great-aunt of a four girls writes a fantasy book that is loved by tons of fans. Something mysterious is going on though. A suspiciously charming person that is interested in the book appears and the girls' wo Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. I wanted to love this book so so much, but unfortunately, it fell short for me. My rating is somewhere between 2 and 2,5. The premise is incredibly exciting and exactly my jam: The great-aunt of a four girls writes a fantasy book that is loved by tons of fans. Something mysterious is going on though. A suspiciously charming person that is interested in the book appears and the girls' world starts to change. Wow! I was so excited. I got reminded of the premise of Hazelwood a lot - an old relative writes a very famous fantasy book that people obsess about. Going into the book, we get to know that great aunt doesn't want anyone to know how real name. Also, there's a place near her house, where magical creatures live. Hmm….suspicious, no? My first though: amazing! Does she not want to be followed by the people from her fairytale book? Because this place is real? Great! Let me know more about it! (Spoiler: No, the book won't let me know more about it. The name change also seems just a precaution against crazy fans. That's all.) Magic Unfortunately, after the first 30% of the novel, the story went an entirely wrong direction for my taste. Throughout most of the book, we didn't really get much to know about this original fantasy book - Ivory Apples - and get to see much of the great aunt or much magic and fantasy, really. Yes, there were these magical creatures and one of them is a big part of the plot, but it's also not doing much than being annoying to the main character, bring her into trouble, do tricks or let her take a risk and go out of her comfort zone. We got to know one little story on top of the fantasy book and had tiny tiny passages from Ivory Apples, which can all probably be summed up in one paragraph of less than 10 sentences in the end. So this was a huge dissappointment for me. Some magical reveals in the end of the book didn't help to get my mood up, as it was too little too late and I didn't know, why the fact needed to be included into the book so late either way, as it didn't change anything in the plot much and made me even more sad to think of where the book could have gone, if it had used this potential plotline. So many things were unnecessary and just dragged on and on. Half of the plot in the middle of the book, for example. Or the romance in the end. Characters Also, the villain Kate annoyed me to no end. Everything that she was doing seemed way too easy to succeed. This happened mostly because of her oh so Incredible rhetorical skills. As the main character said: She can lie her way through life and get what she wants by being convincing. Weirdly, she is also reaaally awful at storytelling and it's boring to listen to her talking and her imagination is basically non-existent. How do those characteristics match? I have no clue. Example: Someone asks Kate how the hell she knows the password of a safe and thus how the hell could she get some important documents for her plan. Kate's answer: Oh, I don't have time to answer your questions and to think of such things. Don't bother me. Result: The person lets it be. Why? I'll never know. In the beginning I really liked the plot around her, she was mysterious, creepy, weird and I would have loved her to develop into some awesome great terror. But everything she did to the girls, even though it was awful and gruesome… I don't know… I just disconnected at some point and didn't see it as so bad, as I thought that most of the things could have easily been prevented. This leads me to another point - the girls have been just passively chilling throughout their lifes and everything that Kate did to them, they just let it happen. Apparently also no authority in this world thought of checking in on them and to see how their lifes are going. Even though it is said later in the book, that Ivy is taking on everyone's problems and works to figure them out, I really didn't see it that much in the plot. She thinks of a plan, the plan doesn't work, as she falls for traps every single time there is one, and then she's all just like, oh well, ok, I lost, I'll just stay here and let her do bad things to me. Towards the end of the book, as the girls suffered some trauma due to Kate's doings, kinda nothing at all happens about it. They sit around and stare into the world, and everyone lets them be. I don't know if this is supposed to be some critics on our modern society's way of neglecting mental health issues, but if it is, I didn't get that from the writing really and am just thinking of it now in hopes of finding any kind of exuse to why this heavy topic wasn't properly discussed in the novel. Then, the relationships between all the girls confused me to no end. In the first part of the book, I could really see them as real people, real children and teens, behaving the way that fits their age. Later in the book, I lost that feeling as well. I didn't understand any of their cctions, motives, anything. Even though the book sometimes tried to provide some weird explanation for their cctions, those didn't make much sense. And yes, I am aware that in this story many things and characters are not supposed to make sense. But you know, even in the nonsense world, there is some logic to be found to that nonsense? To sum up the review: The plot started strong and then dissappeared after some 30% into the book. The character development wasn't there, or didn't make any much sense due to previously happened events. The characters seemed like something written on paper, not real believeable actual people. For all the talk about the famous Ivory Apples-book, we didn't really get to know much about it. The whole last part of the book was concentrated on freeing the magical creatures, which also seemed to randomly become the most important plot point and wasn't carried through logically. One positive thing is, that the writing style itself was quite enjoyable and so it was fairly easy to get through the book quickly. I am really disappointed, but hope that someday someone might take this premise and finally write something amazing for readers to enjoy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. * 3.5 stars. Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein contains a good handful of my favorite tropes. It contains a book within a book and is a dark fantasy with a magical realism flare. Ivy Quinn's great-aunt Maeve is a recluse, an author by the real name of Adela Madden (for some reason listed in the Goodreads synopsis as Adela Martin), who wrote the cult fantasy novel Ivory Apples. She is in hiding from a fo * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. * 3.5 stars. Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein contains a good handful of my favorite tropes. It contains a book within a book and is a dark fantasy with a magical realism flare. Ivy Quinn's great-aunt Maeve is a recluse, an author by the real name of Adela Madden (for some reason listed in the Goodreads synopsis as Adela Martin), who wrote the cult fantasy novel Ivory Apples. She is in hiding from a following of obsessed fans, some of whom Ivy assumes must be out to harm her in some way. When the mysterious Kate Burden becomes obsessed with Ivy and her sisters, Ivy is highly suspicious in all the right ways. What follows is a tumbling story of darkness, deception, and fantastical bits all rolled into a narrative with beautiful and whimsical writing. This was my first time reading a Lisa Goldstein work, but it certainly won't be my last. Her writing style is magnificent and I devoured this book. For some, this won't work...as it requires a bit of suspending reality, but I love this kind of fantastical writing. Add in myth and legend, and well...I was hooked. I don't want to spoil any of the magic, so I will leave my synopsis rather vague beyond this point. However, I will say that I wanted more of Pommerie town and the original Ivory Apples. In fact, I wanted more of this book. I really enjoyed my reading...in fact...the book was well on it's way to a 5-star rating...but I was let down somewhat by the ending. After so much intricate weaving of tale and prose, the ending just felt rushed and cluttered. The conclusion was unfulfilling. There was a bit of this that hinted at the potential for a sequel, though I could find nothing indicating that this is in the plans. I will say that the existence of a sequel would help bolster my rating as I could forgive a little vagueness should a continuation of the story exist. As it is, this could have easily been a 5-star for me with a more solid end. I will still likely grab this book for a reread in the future and will probably keep my fingers crossed for that hoped for redeeming sequel. As a side note...a finicky bit of the narrative. For me, the presence of a romantic element for Ivy felt forced. It shows Ivy's increase in age/maturity as the tale goes on, but it felt like the existence of an LGBTQIA+ thread simply to check a box. I'm all for diversity in my reading and in my characters, but I don't like when authors appear to add this into the narrative simply to make their book seem more inclusive. In this case, Ivy's sexuality and romantic feelings did nothing to affect or further the plot and was a minor piece that more detracted from the overall flow of the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    3.5 stars I got this book from NetGalley to review. A long time ago I read Goldstein’s “Waking the Labyrinth” and remember really enjoying it, so I was eager to read this book. This was a decent story about muses and mysteries. It was an intriguing blend of mystery, fantasy, mythology, and magical realism. Ivy’s aunt is actually a famous writer of a book called Ivory Apples, the only book her aunt ever wrote. However, Ivy’s aunt’s existence is kept a secret. One day, when Ivy is at her aunt’s ho 3.5 stars I got this book from NetGalley to review. A long time ago I read Goldstein’s “Waking the Labyrinth” and remember really enjoying it, so I was eager to read this book. This was a decent story about muses and mysteries. It was an intriguing blend of mystery, fantasy, mythology, and magical realism. Ivy’s aunt is actually a famous writer of a book called Ivory Apples, the only book her aunt ever wrote. However, Ivy’s aunt’s existence is kept a secret. One day, when Ivy is at her aunt’s house, she finds a strange grove and a fey-like being ends up merging with Ivy. While Ivy struggles to find balance with this cohabitant of her body, a woman named Kate Burden starts joining Ivy and her sisters at the park to play. Kate Burden seems perfect but Ivy is convinced the woman is up to no good. While I didn't love this story, it was an interesting read and I was engaged enough in the story to finish it. The writing style seemed older to me, it reminds me of urban fantasies I read from the late 80's/early 90's. The story moves slowly, parts are a bit ambiguous, and it is a strange blend of magical realism and mystery. However, that being said it’s very different from other books being released right now which made it somewhat refreshing. The writing style is beautiful and I enjoyed it. Overall this is a slower read with an interesting blend of elements. It was a bit boring but I also enjoyed how nostalgic it felt and how different it was from the majority of fantasy being released right now. If you have enjoyed other of Goldstein's novels you will probably enjoy this one. It also reminded me a bit of Charles DeLint’s books in the feel and tone of the story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Lisa Goldstein has created a masterpiece of fantasy and reality. Ivy and her family have a long kept secret and her great aunt is one of the most famous novelists of all time. Everyone wants to meet her and will stop at nothing to show their love for her books until Kate Burden gets too close and too obsessive almost having Ivy and her This book was received as an ARC from Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Lisa Goldstein has created a masterpiece of fantasy and reality. Ivy and her family have a long kept secret and her great aunt is one of the most famous novelists of all time. Everyone wants to meet her and will stop at nothing to show their love for her books until Kate Burden gets too close and too obsessive almost having Ivy and her family secret exposed. Kate is asking way too many questions and growing her curiosity of Ivory Apples and Ivy will stop at nothing to protect her family and the magic she shares with her aunt. This book brought smiles all around my face and I could not stop reading it because there was something intriguing on every page. I know everyone will grow to love this book as much as I do. We will consider adding this title to our Fantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    I enjoyed this but I almost think it was dragged out too long. I found myself getting sort of bored with it and I will admit, I didn't always follow the characters' motivations as clearly as I would hope. That said, I think it does lean into the style of a fairy tale hard where a lot of action happens in summary, not in real time, and in fairy tales, you don't always get why something happens (you might after a couple of reads) so it was playing hard into that genre and I think quite successfull I enjoyed this but I almost think it was dragged out too long. I found myself getting sort of bored with it and I will admit, I didn't always follow the characters' motivations as clearly as I would hope. That said, I think it does lean into the style of a fairy tale hard where a lot of action happens in summary, not in real time, and in fairy tales, you don't always get why something happens (you might after a couple of reads) so it was playing hard into that genre and I think quite successfully. I think why the second half was a bit of a letdown is that the first half of the book flys - a ton happens, really quickly and then the second half slows down a lot and things got murky at times.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Books about books are one of my favorite things, particularly when I really would love to read the book we're talking about. And Ivory Apples, one written by Adela Martin, sounds like one of those books. At first I thought that Adela/Maeve would be one of those who had spent their lives trying to get back to the world of Ivory Apples, but that's not what this is - it's about others trying to get into that world and her family trying to protect her. Which works, somewhat. There's more going on he Books about books are one of my favorite things, particularly when I really would love to read the book we're talking about. And Ivory Apples, one written by Adela Martin, sounds like one of those books. At first I thought that Adela/Maeve would be one of those who had spent their lives trying to get back to the world of Ivory Apples, but that's not what this is - it's about others trying to get into that world and her family trying to protect her. Which works, somewhat. There's more going on here but no spoilers. I just wish we heard more about the original story and less about Kate Burden. eARC provided by publisher.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristine Mann

    I really liked this book it was hard to put down.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paula Reyes Wagner

    This was such a great read! I want to thank Netgalley for providing me with a copy if this book, I certainly enjoyed it. From the beginning was an eerie read, the misticism around Ivory Apples was super appealing, and the characters are interesting and engaging. I started slowly, but once I got to the main conflict in the story, I couldn't stop reading, I was so angry that I wanted to throw the book (kindle) against the wall, but at the same time, I needed to keep reading. I hated so much the vil This was such a great read! I want to thank Netgalley for providing me with a copy if this book, I certainly enjoyed it. From the beginning was an eerie read, the misticism around Ivory Apples was super appealing, and the characters are interesting and engaging. I started slowly, but once I got to the main conflict in the story, I couldn't stop reading, I was so angry that I wanted to throw the book (kindle) against the wall, but at the same time, I needed to keep reading. I hated so much the villain in this book, and that was great and frustrating though. The ending fell down for me, it was so clean so nice for everyone, that it didn't felt right. (view spoiler)[I NEEEDED for Kate to have what she deserved for all the terrible things she did through out the story u.u (hide spoiler)]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jade @theelderbooks

    What a quick entertaining read ! Ivory Apples is made of a magical ambiance, and I loved the mixing of fairytale and reality. They entertwine so closely you sometimes don't know what's real anymore, and somehow, in this book, this is a good thing. Ivy and her family have a secret. Their aunt Maeve is actually Adela Martin, one of the most famous author in the country. Adela only wrote one book, "Ivory Apples" and disappeared from the publishing world altogether after releasing it. When Kate Burde What a quick entertaining read ! Ivory Apples is made of a magical ambiance, and I loved the mixing of fairytale and reality. They entertwine so closely you sometimes don't know what's real anymore, and somehow, in this book, this is a good thing. Ivy and her family have a secret. Their aunt Maeve is actually Adela Martin, one of the most famous author in the country. Adela only wrote one book, "Ivory Apples" and disappeared from the publishing world altogether after releasing it. When Kate Burden slithers her way into the family, Ivy does not trust her. Kate also has a secret of her own. Who is she really and what does she want ? Ivy doesn't know, but she has a gut feeling it has to do with her aunt and "Ivory Apples"... This book and I didn't start on the right foot. Lisa Goldstein kind of throws the reader in her world, with little introduction whatsoever, which made the first 40 pages a little hard to read for me. Fortunately I kept going on, and all in all, it was worth it. Even though the story is really fast paced and you have to really focus to keep up, I enjoyed the magical vibe I felt while reading. As usual, I liked side characters more than the main one, and I fell in love with Ivy's sisters. It might be because they're described from Ivy's point of view, and I felt the big sis love, but I thought they were incredible characters, and their development through the book is delightful. No spoilers, but I just want to say that Piper definitely reminded me of Peeves in Harry Potter, and I can't express enough how happy I was about him ! The only aspects bugging me were the length of some sections, in which the story felt overdevelopped, the overdescription, how the villain is a little cliché and the redundance of a few paragraphs. It was a short book, and if you like light fantasy, this really could be a book for you. Some topics might be considered as trigger topics though (child neglection, death, etc...) but it's no highlight of the plot, and I was not shocked by any of it. Thank you Netgalley and Tachyon publications for providing me with an e-arc of the book !

  21. 4 out of 5

    BookwormishMe

    Maeve is a pseudonym for Adela Martin, the renowned author of the folklore novel, Ivory Apples. Maeve changed her name and moved to the middle of nowhere, because her fandom became more than she could bear. Ivory Apples was not only a success, it created a following that was cult-like. Ivy is Maeve’s great niece. Ivy and her three sisters live an average, everyday life with their father who is an engineering professor. Ivy’s mom passed away much earlier, when her younger sister was just a baby. Maeve is a pseudonym for Adela Martin, the renowned author of the folklore novel, Ivory Apples. Maeve changed her name and moved to the middle of nowhere, because her fandom became more than she could bear. Ivory Apples was not only a success, it created a following that was cult-like. Ivy is Maeve’s great niece. Ivy and her three sisters live an average, everyday life with their father who is an engineering professor. Ivy’s mom passed away much earlier, when her younger sister was just a baby. Occasionally they visit their Aunt Maeve, but they are under the strictest orders to never reveal who Aunt Maeve really is, nor where she lives. When a woman befriends Ivy and her sisters and the park, Ivy is suspicious of her. This woman is too kind and too friendly and wants to insinuate herself into their lives. The woman, Kate, is far too fond of the book Ivory Apples. No one else suspects anything. Until Kate truly becomes part of their lives. The fairytale quality of this book enchanted me. I loved how it was a book within a book. The need for Maeve to escape due to her fandom is probably a real thing. It makes sense that if a book inspires people to become obsessed, they would haunt an author into retreating. I loved the way that Lisa Goldstein incorporated Greek mythology into the story, even making it a focal point. There is a lot of tragedy in the book, but it’s real, everyday stuff that people deal with. This was the first novel by Lisa Goldstein that I’ve read. I would definitely read her other books, as I loved the fantasy element and the fun. She does a brilliant job of weaving fantasy and reality into one tale. 3.75 stars on Goodreads This review will be posted at BookwormishMe.com on 11 October 2019 .

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    Ivory Apples Lisa Goldstein Long-protected secrets, obsessions and the power of magic threaten to tear a family apart in this powerful fantasy from Lisa Goldstein, which I recently read courtesy of NetGalley and Tachyon Publications. It is good. Really good. It has a unique story to tell, great characters and exists in a thoroughly believable world  Ivy and her sisters have a secret. Their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually the reclusive author Adela Madden, who wrote a wondrous fantasy - Ivory Apples, a Ivory Apples Lisa Goldstein Long-protected secrets, obsessions and the power of magic threaten to tear a family apart in this powerful fantasy from Lisa Goldstein, which I recently read courtesy of NetGalley and Tachyon Publications. It is good. Really good. It has a unique story to tell, great characters and exists in a thoroughly believable world  Ivy and her sisters have a secret. Their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually the reclusive author Adela Madden, who wrote a wondrous fantasy - Ivory Apples, a book that still, many years after publication, inspires a steady stream of fan mail. And some of these fans can be obsessive. Dangerously so, as the girls are soon to find out. The mysterious Kate Burden has a way of popping up wherever the girls are, and quickly strikes up a friendship. She loves their Great-Aunt's book and easily wheedles her way in to girl's daily lives, and that of their widowed father. What once seemed harmless and innocent, now seems dark and threatening. It is, in ways the two girls cannot begin to imagine. The book is filled with magic, enchantment and lots of surprises that will leave readers guessing and afraid to turn to the next page. Goldstein's contemporary fantasy has a dreamlike atmosphere throughout the book which, when events turn sharply dark, just heightens their impact (and our jumpiness). It is beautifully written, with a pace that drives us through to 'OMG what happens next.' There is an honesty to the writing, a matter-of-factness, that insists on the reader accepting that 'well, this is always the way things happen. Why do you look so surprised,' A great read. Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... ARC from @TachyonPub and voluntarily reviewed I’m a big fan of fantasy novels and had high hopes for this book. I hoped I was going to love it. While I didn’t love it completely, I enjoyed reading it and am glad I gave it a chance. It’s a mixed sort of book; some stuff works really well but other stuff just falls a little short. It’s an uneven read. There are moments that just don’t have the impact they should have. For example, Ivory is visiting her Aunt a https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... ARC from @TachyonPub and voluntarily reviewed I’m a big fan of fantasy novels and had high hopes for this book. I hoped I was going to love it. While I didn’t love it completely, I enjoyed reading it and am glad I gave it a chance. It’s a mixed sort of book; some stuff works really well but other stuff just falls a little short. It’s an uneven read. There are moments that just don’t have the impact they should have. For example, Ivory is visiting her Aunt and stumbles across something quite shocking. Ivory does not really react to this and seems to take it in her stride as something quite ordinary when it’s not. This didn’t sit well with me. There are some good things in the book, some enjoyable moment where I started to fall in love a little. However, these moments are ruined by the fact that so many things are just accepted and glossed over which made the book uneven.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2019/0... Goldstein's latest centers on young Ivy, the oldest of four sisters, whose great aunt is the reclusive author of a famous fantasy novel. But maybe it’s not all fantasy? And maybe the young woman befriending the girls isn’t what she seems? I found the narrative voice and Ivy's journey compelling, but felt that her sisters were underserved by the story (especially Amaranth). The end also felt a bit abrupt. I did like the fantastical elements a lot; this is a https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2019/0... Goldstein's latest centers on young Ivy, the oldest of four sisters, whose great aunt is the reclusive author of a famous fantasy novel. But maybe it’s not all fantasy? And maybe the young woman befriending the girls isn’t what she seems? I found the narrative voice and Ivy's journey compelling, but felt that her sisters were underserved by the story (especially Amaranth). The end also felt a bit abrupt. I did like the fantastical elements a lot; this is a strong entry into the mysterious magical book genre. A-/B+. __ A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released tomorrow.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jack Deighton

    Ivy and her increasingly more exotically named sisters, Beatriz, Amaranth and Semiramis, motherless for a few years when the book begins, have been brought up to keep the secret of their great-aunt Maeve’s identity. Over fifty years ago, under her real name of Adela Madden, Maeve had written a book called Ivory Apples, describing a fantasy town. The book was a slow-burning success but Maeve soon withdrew from social communication. In the interim her work and fantasy world has gained an enthusias Ivy and her increasingly more exotically named sisters, Beatriz, Amaranth and Semiramis, motherless for a few years when the book begins, have been brought up to keep the secret of their great-aunt Maeve’s identity. Over fifty years ago, under her real name of Adela Madden, Maeve had written a book called Ivory Apples, describing a fantasy town. The book was a slow-burning success but Maeve soon withdrew from social communication. In the interim her work and fantasy world has gained an enthusiastic following, with websites devoted to the book’s meaning - trawled for clues to Maeve’s real identity and the messages her replies to letters (in fact supplied first by Ivy’s mother but now by her father Philip who also deals with Maeve’s finances,) may contain - annual conventions and the like. The family visits Maeve every month or so in order for Philip to do this work. On one visit Ivy takes a walk through the nearby woods and finds a lake hitherto unknown to her. Maeve is swimming there naked and the trees which surround it are festooned with sprites. As she is leaving, one of these jumps at Ivy and penetrates into her body, squeezing into her every extremity, filling her with a kind of exhilaration and heightened awareness. The sprite thereafter is a more or less constant presence in her awareness (unless he withdraws into himself) and she names him Piper. She is warned by Maeve not to tell her sisters and to be careful, to choose wisely, that sprites have the attributes of tricksters. One day in the park the children are befriended by a Ms Burden, who soon inveigles herself into the family’s lives then prevails upon Philip to investigate a noise in her basement but he dies there. His will comes as a shock to the girls as it entrusts them to Ms Burden’s care. Thereafter her previous solicitude becomes callousness, neglect and gaslighting (the embodiment of a wicked stepmother even though Philip hadn’t ever considered marrying her.) It is her persistent questioning of them about Aunt Maeve that reveals her real interest, though. She is on a quest to find the present day whereabouts of two original Greek muses, Talia and Claudio, and believes Maeve knows where they might be found or is in contact with them. Ivy undergoes various adventures, running away from home followed by a life on the streets in which the presence of Piper is a great asset to her, the discovery of the depths of Ms Burden’s perfidy, her meeting with a female private investigator to whom she is attracted, becoming Maeve’s carer then journeying into the fantasy town, before the denouement. In the meantime she becomes a published poet with the raised awareness which Piper has brought her (sprites can act as muses and so apparently heighten your artistry. Ivy speculates that Shakespeare, Bach, Dante etc had been so inspired – a thought which to my mind does a disservice to their artistic endeavour) and meditates on the leach-like qualities of a writer, “I learned later that every writer did this with people they knew, that we were all vampires, feeding on other people’s experiences,” which is true to an extent but again devalues the importance of imagination. Goldstein certainly writes well and it is gratifying to read a fantasy which doesn’t have a cod-mediæval setting (with its potentially iffy political stance) and to have the villain of the piece resolutely human.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Novak

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Review of Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein I like Lisa Goldstein and most of her work that I've read, so when I say, "Not her best effort, for me," there's an element of praising with faint damn, in there. Ivory Apples is the story of Adela Martin's four grand-nieces, and especially of the eldest, Ivy. Martin is a bit of a combination of JD Salinger and Robert Jordan and Madeline L'engle-- she wrote one infamous book of great personal importance to many young readers in her (relative) youth, then di Review of Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein I like Lisa Goldstein and most of her work that I've read, so when I say, "Not her best effort, for me," there's an element of praising with faint damn, in there. Ivory Apples is the story of Adela Martin's four grand-nieces, and especially of the eldest, Ivy. Martin is a bit of a combination of JD Salinger and Robert Jordan and Madeline L'engle-- she wrote one infamous book of great personal importance to many young readers in her (relative) youth, then disappeared into self-imposed exile/seclusion/secrecy, and in that vacuum a vibrant on-line fan community sprung up. It's even set largely in the late 90s/early 00s, so the comparison to the on-line fan communities of the time is absolutely unmistakable. Ivy and her increasingly younger sisters, Beatriz, Amaranth, and Semiramis, are her grand nieces, living with their widower father, who is Adela's nephew only by marriage and who provides substantial amounts of her care (she is in her 80s.) The plot turns on two events, both of which occur early enough in the story (first and second chapters, respectively) that they're not really spoilers: First, Ivy's... possession? Inhabitation? by an inspirational woodland spirit. Second, the appearance on the scene of a rather dodgy obsessive super-fan. What Goldstein is very obviously going for here is a low-fantasy riff or meditation on inspiration-- its origins, what to do with it, how it affects you, how it affects others. And it is that! The story is that-- it's not a bad book, per se, that completely misses it's target. But it has flaws. One, the big one, is that the book is depressing. There's a lot of things going from bad to worse and then to worse still, and since the protagonists are children of various ages that gets a little tough to read. (No it does not go there, to that "worse still.") Second, there were a fair amount of contrivances to enable that sequence of bad to worse-- both major characters and the generalized background had to do some pretty contrived things to enable this. A side effect of this is that some of the characters come off looking pretty unsympathetic when I don't think that was the intent. And third, I'm not really convinced that there's much depth or cohesion (two separate things) to what Goldstein is saying about inspiration or how her in-fiction manifestations of it work. So my overall impression of the thing is, itself, incoherent-- it was a page turner, in the sense that I read it basically over the weekend, once I got cranking on it. At no point did I contemplate Nope-ing Out and moving on to something else. But it was also curiously flat, in that there wasn't enough payoff to make me overlook the plot contrivances which enabled all the character misery in the first place. Neither recommended nor anti-recommended, really.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steph Warren

    *I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Tachyon Publications and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.* Ivory Apples is a dark fairytale; intended for adults, rather than children. I was reminded at first of books like Joan Aitken’s Wolves Chronicles, or Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, as there are similar themes here: orphans, corrupt guardians, terrible trials and special powers or skills. However the tone here is older and darker, a *I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Tachyon Publications and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.* Ivory Apples is a dark fairytale; intended for adults, rather than children. I was reminded at first of books like Joan Aitken’s Wolves Chronicles, or Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, as there are similar themes here: orphans, corrupt guardians, terrible trials and special powers or skills. However the tone here is older and darker, and infinitely more disturbing, as it deals with loss of sanity and the inability to trust one’s own senses. The author’s imagining of the Muses – inspiration to artists and authors alike – is enchantingly wild and yet innocent. I was as bewitched by the woodland grove as the characters themselves were, and felt a strong compulsion to search for such a place myself, gifts (and sacrifices) in hand. What I wouldn’t give for a Piper of my very own! Well, what I wouldn’t give is my family, my mind, or my future. Ivy is faced with some serious choices over the course of the story, and doesn’t always make the morally obvious decisions. Just as in reality, her character has the potential to love and sacrifice, but also to be selfish and neglectful. Similarly, whilst the villain/s of the story are led astray by their intense jealousy and selfishness, it was hard not to feel sympathy, even pity, for them as they are excluded from a world of magic and wonder for not being ‘special’ enough. Ivory Apples is a story about stories and inspiration; growing up and responsibility; accepting oneself, and making the best of what you already have. This is not a happily-ever-after fairytale, but a grimmer story of toil and trauma. But magic is magic, whatever the flavour; and Lisa Goldstein’s glimpse into the dark secrets of creativity casts a lingering spell on the reader that no counter-spell can completely dispell. There were a lot of things I didn’t understand about Great-aunt Maeve when I was growing up. For one thing, although she and my father insisted that we call her Maeve Reynolds, that wasn’t her real name. – Lisa Goldstein, Ivory Apples Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog https://bookshineandreadbows.wordpres...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annette Jordan

    This is a hard one to pin down, a blend of fantasy, mystery and a hint of magical realism. I was immediately drawn to the cover and the premise sounded intriguing. The book tells the story of four sisters , whose great aunt wrote one book, a much loved fantasy classic called Ivory Apples, before becoming a recluse who only has contact with the girls and their father, who acts as a type of secretary, answering fan mail etc. Numerous fan theories about the author have done the rounds online, and e This is a hard one to pin down, a blend of fantasy, mystery and a hint of magical realism. I was immediately drawn to the cover and the premise sounded intriguing. The book tells the story of four sisters , whose great aunt wrote one book, a much loved fantasy classic called Ivory Apples, before becoming a recluse who only has contact with the girls and their father, who acts as a type of secretary, answering fan mail etc. Numerous fan theories about the author have done the rounds online, and eventually one of her more obsessive fans tracks down the girls and manages to weasel her way into the family. Determined to find out about the real magic behind the book she loves, she goes to deadly lengths to shatter the bonds between the sisters , but the oldest, Ivy, is determined to protect her aunt, and her magic at all costs. Parts of this book work incredibly well, Kate, the fan with an ulterior motive is a captivating villain, and over the course of the book her actions become ever more horrific and disturbing. How magic works in the world the author has created is also very interesting , and I loved the almost mythological aspects of muses who inspire creativity through their magic. On the downside, this book is dark, and almost unrelentingly so, things continually go from bad to worse for Ivy and her family, with very little in the way of respite for her or the reader. In a weird way this book reminded me of an older style of fantasy, and I did enjoy the nostalgia, and the many layers of the story which gradually unfolded. I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Ivy and her sisters have been brought up to keep the secret that their Great Aunt Maeve is really Adela Martin who wrote Ivory Apples. Maeve is a recluse hiding away from fans and refusing to answer their letters. Instead the girls' father takes care of correspondence and business. One day though while the girls are at the park, they meet Kate Burden. At first all is fine, then Kate starts insinuating herself into their lives. Kate wants more than friendship. She wants something from Maeve. Some Ivy and her sisters have been brought up to keep the secret that their Great Aunt Maeve is really Adela Martin who wrote Ivory Apples. Maeve is a recluse hiding away from fans and refusing to answer their letters. Instead the girls' father takes care of correspondence and business. One day though while the girls are at the park, they meet Kate Burden. At first all is fine, then Kate starts insinuating herself into their lives. Kate wants more than friendship. She wants something from Maeve. Something that Ivy already has. The story takes some dark turns. Kate isn't the person she pretended to be. Ivy spends some time in despair. And magic of sorts is real. Most of the book moves along at a good pace. There are a couple of spots where it is less show and more tell; and it slows the momentum. It is also a pretty dark fantasy. In some ways it reminds me of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. Magic is real, but it's not for everyone. And it always has a price. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It's good. It's well written except for a couple of slow spots. Kate is a good villain. And you will hope for the best for the girls. It's also so dark in a couple of places I had a little trouble reading on. It turned out to be a good October read. I'd recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy, magical realism, and dark fantasy. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Ross

    Lisa Goldstein is one of the treasures of fantasy literature, with each new work a gem. Ivory Apples is, I think, her best yet. It centers around a book of the same name, one of those magical favorites that gets re-read a hundred times by obsessive fans, that helps readers weather desolate times, and that spawns fan clubs, websites, and entire conventions devoted to the story, its character, and its mysterious author. It’s also the secret in the lives of young Ivy and her three remarkable sister Lisa Goldstein is one of the treasures of fantasy literature, with each new work a gem. Ivory Apples is, I think, her best yet. It centers around a book of the same name, one of those magical favorites that gets re-read a hundred times by obsessive fans, that helps readers weather desolate times, and that spawns fan clubs, websites, and entire conventions devoted to the story, its character, and its mysterious author. It’s also the secret in the lives of young Ivy and her three remarkable sisters. From as long as she can remember, her Great-Aunt Maude has been a recluse, an extreme introvert terrified of publicity, the family visits to her remote home never to be spoken of. For not only is Maude the author of Ivory Apples, she wrote it while partnered with an actual Muse. Soon the entire family becomes the target of Kate, manipulative and unscrupulous and single-mindedly set on getting a Muse of her own. I found myself swept up and captivated by the story in very much the same way Maude’s readers have been transformed by Ivory Apples. This book is a true treasure, worthy of multiple re-readings, a perfect holiday gift for the child in all of us.

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