Cover Image: Winterly

Winterly

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Member Reviews

Winterly is darkly atmospheric, poetic gothic beauty. Jeanine Croft writes with a lyrical pen that drips with atmosphere, a melody that eerily invades the senses and refuses to relinquish you from its vampiric romantic depths. 

Emma and Markus, be still my beating bookish heart. These two are swoon worthy together. Emma, dear Emma, as she attempts to evade every deliciously decadent encounter with the dark and mysterious Markus Winterly, I couldn’t help but fall under the same thralling spell that was woven around Emma’s heart. 

And Markus, dastardly charming Markus Winterly, from the first word out of his mysterious mouth, I, like Emma, knew that I was in the presence of my newest bookish boyfriend. He’s so guarded and mysterious that when I finally learned more about him, I was all in and left with wanting more, more and more.

The characters of this charming dark novel are well written and the added depth of getting bits and pieces from several of the characters, not just Miss Emma Rose, rounded the depths of this tome into a piece that Croft should be mightily proud of creating. The world building drops you into the midst of Victorian England. The vernacular, the mannerisms, it screams of the period and added an element to the story that elevated this from just a vampiric tale, to a loaded gun of poetry, magic, love, mystery and lyrical literary goodness.

While Emma does make some decisions that made me want to physically step into the book and shake her silly, it did not detract from my love for the story or the character for that matter. Winterly is long, decadently rich in atmosphere and personally one of my favorite novels of the year. I was giddy whenever I spoke to those in my household about the depths of this novel and when I mentioned the talent and depth of the writing. I adored Winterly and can not wait to read the next book, there are characters that I need to know more about and relationships to swoon over.
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This was probably my most surprising read of the year. My expectations were for a vampire-romance, heavy on the romance, light on the vampire. What I got was a novel wonderfully reminiscent of Anne Rice, full of fun allusions to the very best of hysterical gothic literature, and possibly the sharpest heroine around.
It's not a short book, but I breezed through it - the writing is easy, confident and well paced, the dialogue is never less than engaging, and more often than not, brilliantly witty (several of the earlier scenes had me grinning like a loon on public transport, so thank goodness for masks).
I must admit that I preferred the first half to the second. The story as it opens is faux-gothic, entirely clever. Our heroine is the (sometimes literally) ink nosed Emma Rose, part-time spinster, full-time obsessed with the best/worst gothic novels ever written. Chaperoning her younger sister's Season in London, she is intrigued from the first moment that she meets the Viscount Winterly.
Its all very Pride & Prejudice as he is smitten and she easily rebuffs his every move with a suitably casual and hilarious manner. And all around them the atmosphere grows darker and more strained, as a series of grisly London murders unfolds.
I was entirely here for it. By the beginning of part two I was ready to call this my top read of 2020. But the second half-
Without dropping any spoilers, it takes a bit of a left turn. And then keeps turning left. And then just starts going in some circles. It's not that it's not still well-written, but the plot loses the initial tension that was built. As more and more elements were added, the more convoluted it became, the less invested I felt. It's a shame, because what is good is really, really good. And what's less good is still very good. Just perhaps not the story I wanted it to be.
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I started reading this book because I got the eARC form Netgalley. Thanks a lot for the trust in  me for my very first review chance there. 

This book was described as a dark version of twilight combined with lost of mystery and romance. 
I requested this ARC because of the beautiful cover and the strong short description of the book. 

The first thing I noticed was the difficult writing style or usage of more intricate vocabulary than I'm used to. English is not my native language but I am used to read, write and speak in English and can say that I am fairly good at it.
Second thing that bothered me is the slow pacing. It takes almost 15O pages to get to know the characters and the world they are living it. It probably takes even more pages, that I don't know as I DNFed after 150 pages. Mostly I like the time of a 60 - 100 pages for worldbuilding and character development as it needs that space. In Winterly I didn't had the feeling it should be that long as the characters felt pretty plain for me and the world was just our "human' world and didn't involve intricate magic systems of some sort. 

Overall the short description hyped me to read the book, but the slow pacing, low character and world development kept me from reading further. for that I decided to write my review based on what I read and dnfed the book. 
I am sure that people who love some faire descreptions of rooms and clothing will really enjoy this book, but it wasn't just for me.
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So this book! This book right here, had me so enamored.  The beginning is a tad bit slow but once the pieces start to come together, it just becomes more and more interesting.  I will say, Emma annoyed me a bit with the way she was back and forth with Winterly but this is a page turner that you don't want to pass up on. It's dark, gritty and oh so sexy!
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i never ended up downloading this, i've been reading other reviews on this and it sounds pretty good, so i might go get it~
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Thank you Netgalley and BooksGoSocial for the opportunity to review this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 
What would happen if your favorite Jane Austen or Bronte Heroine and hero were thrown into the world of vampires, witches, and other under worldly beings, and mixed in a bit of Jack the Ripper? You would get Winterly by Jeanine Croft. 

The very first thing that caught my eye was the cover. It is absolutely stunning. It drew me in and made me want to read this book. Then the synopsis mentions it's Penny Dreadful and Northanger Abbey with a dark twist of underworlds containing mystery, romance, and masquerades. Count me in. 

Winterly follows sisters Emma and Milli, who live in London with their aunt and uncle during the Season. However, there are mysterious murders happening in London, leaving behind bodies without hearts. One evening, after being separated from her aunt and uncle, Emma gets lost and almost killed before she is rescued by the mysterious Mr. Winterly. Ever since then, he keeps popping up, until one evening Milli and Emma are invited to stay with at their home by his sister.  While there, something mysterious happens to Milli, and Emma is thrust into a world of dark beings that she never knew existed, and worse, she finds that she may feel more herself in that world than her own. 

At first I struggled with the book. I found it to be a bit slow at the beginning and to drag in other parts as well. I also found that I didn't always connect with the characters. At first, I found Milli to be shallow and silly, while Emma was just not very interesting. It wasn't until about half way through the book that I started seeing some growth in them and started feeling invested in what happened to them. I did however really enjoy Markus from the moment that I met him. I loved his sass and sarcasm.  I also really liked the Gothic atmosphere, with the castles, and talk of abbeys and catacombs. 

All in all, it was an enjoyable book that left it open for a sequel, that I am interested in reading.
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Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to review!

This dark and Gothic vampire tale is a bit of a climb to get through but oh so worth it! I loved the characters and the writing style kept me entertained.
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The premise of this book was so promising. A naive girl, a mysterious viscous, and maybe some otherworldly creatures. What I ended up with were some well developed characters with a great story but the biggest distraction from the story was having to Google so many words to make sure I was understanding the text. I understand wanting to use vernacular for the period but it totally distracts from the flow of the novel. The interwoven stories of the supernatural  characters was welcome but the mixing of 2 separate types of creature didn't have enough explanation to suit my curiosity. Despite all this, I loved the book and would recommend to anyone who loves supernatural romance books.
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Before I get into my review, can we talk about how gorgeous this cover is? I love the simplicity of the design and the subtle but sharp use of color. 

This being my first book from Jeanine Croft, I was unsure what to expect but I was totally blown from the start. Jeanine wove a powerful and enchanting tale that was so beautifully written that eloquent seems insufficient a description. She is such a powerful word wizard that I had to break out my dictionary more than once during my read which I appreciate as I love learning new words and phrases. I also appreciated the thought that went into this novel as evidenced by additional touches such as each chapter having its own intro (which I enjoy) and a gothic theme that carried throughout. 

Emma Rose was quite different from MC of her time with a sharp and witty mind. This, coupled with her love of grotesqueries and a curious mind leads her to appreciate the darkness and its secrets. Throughout Winterly, Emma transforms from a shy and meek book lover to something fierce and to be feared. 

Winterly was a delicious game of cat and mouse that had me on the end of my seat. The darker almost gothic sense of humor was different yet still immensely pleasurable. The spectrum of supernatural within Winterly ranged from vampires to gypsies and paid homage to classic myths and legends such as horsemen of the apocalypse, Cleopatra, and the fallen angels. 

The sheer volume of characters made keeping up a bit difficult but it also ensured all the characters both primary and secondary were properly developed which enhanced and strengthened the plotline. Winterly had layers upon layers of villains, wickedness, lies, deceit, and wrongdoing. With so much doom and gloom, the catharsis was rightfully both light and dark, both good and bad and both life and death. 

While I enjoyed the novel I was immensely frustrated by Emma and Markus. There was such delicious anticipation that their actual interactions left me disappointed. I felt shortchanged at a lot of their scenes. Another shortfall for me was Emma’s sister and her dilemma. It seemed very vague and I am not sure the outcome was justified. Emma’s familial ties were a bit underdeveloped, especially when considering the time and place in which the novel was set. 

That being said there was a deep-rooted sense of being true to yourself that I admired and I extremely interested to see how the author transforms this magical world further. 

Thank you to Book Go Social, the author and NetGalley for providing me with an arc. 

This review can also be found on my blog: https://jessicareadsit.wordpress.com/
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I like to read fantasy, I like to read romance, but period historical fantasy romance?.....this genre has not really interested me......So why am I now reviewing this  book?....I loved the cover!!!

Anyway.....I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the darkness and atmospheric descriptions. I found myself completely involved in the whole story, almost like a movie, but in my head. 

The characters are well developed, interesting and annoying! I found myself raising my eyebrows in disbelief at some of the things that happened, laughing at some of the humour and mentally shouting at some of the characters. 

The old fashioned language was off-putting to begin with, but once I got used to it I think it just added to the feel of the story........(I read this on a kindle so it was easy enough to look up some of the words if I could not make out what they meant.)

If you like "old fashioned" type vampires, werewolves, witches and other fantasy creatures, you will love this. 

I would absolutely recommend this and I can't wait to read the next one.
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Winterly was the perfect read coming into October with a variety of paranormal characters, romance, and a Beauty and the Beast feel. Emma's discovery of the paranormal world as she tries to protect her sister from the darkness was a fun new take on vampires.
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Well, this was a fun read and I'm glad I finished it entering October. I have a soft spot for vampires and Victorian aesthetic, so I knew from the start that I was going to enjoy it, but the prose is so beautiful that I absolutely loved it.

Set in the dark streets of Victorian London, we meet Emma, an almost-spinster that lives with her aunt and uncle, and her younger sister. One evening, she meets the misterious Markus Winterly, and her life is torn appart forever. Love and blood intwine in this dark tale, when the call of the darkness is stronger than the light.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book to read and review.
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Jeanine Croft's Winterly was my first foray into the genre of paranormal romance in quite a while. The last PNR books I read that pop to mind are Vampire Academy and, of course, Twilight. I'll be honest I was slightly apprehensive going in but Winterly didn't disappoint.  For one, the language, befitting gothic London, was a treasure trove of new and interesting words. But probably the best part of Winterly was that it didn't give in to the trope of the vampire warning away the poor girl who is helplessly in love with him---you know, the "I'm dangerous. You should stay away from me. For your own good." *stares intensely into her soul*

Instead, and forgive me the language, Winterly was a typical self-aggrandizing bastard from almost his very entrance, and Emma wasn't so caught up in his charms as to not notice it. She knew he was wicked (so to speak) and fell for him anyway, discovering her own 'darkness' through him. That, for me, was the highlight of the book, but there is one more aspect, that I will not reveal to keep well away from spoilers. Still, I will say this--the flashbacks regarding the Vampyres and other paranormal beings in Winterly is a well-employed plot device, and one with details that I was nowhere near anticipating.  The conflict and the paranormal presence created by Croft are well-developed, with a certain quality of realism in the dynamics as well. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and would probably have enjoyed it even more if Emma didn't annoy me every so often with her ceaseless judging and jumping to (mostly) erroneous conclusions. 
All in all, an enjoyable return to the world of PNR and I will be sure to catch the next book of the Dark Creatures series...the ending, while not a cliffhanger (thank you Jeanine!) was one that left me in anticipation of an amazing showdown waiting to happen. 

My rating: 3/5 stars

Go on, grab yourself a copy of Winterly and transport yourself to the gloomy, magical world of old London.

Trigger Warnings: As with most PNRs, there's a certain amount of expected blood and gore in Winterly. You would be more than prepared if you have watched/read any part of The Vampire Diaries and/or one of the many spin-off/sequel/prequel series. Some references to incest (but only in the extremely long life-span way).  One scene that did bother me a little was one where the MC is involved in what she believes is a dream but, well, is not. The concept of consent there is a little sketchy since she consents to those actions under the assumption they are an erotic dream, but that's up for your interpretation.
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I don't typically read gothic romance, so this was new for me. I thought the romance was interesting and I thought the author did a good job of interweaving historical fiction and paranormal romance.
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Settle in for Winterly. It's a long, slow burn. But overall, it's worth it. This book is filled with beautiful prose and interesting characters. Vampires, werewolves, and angels... Violence, vengeance, and love... Winterly has it all. I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment.
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Very different from what I’ve read read before. The plot was original and the story thrilling enough to keep you turning page after page. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a fantasy romance book with a unique spin.
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Looooved the writing! It brought me back in time. Everything flowed very beautifully and I enjoyed all of the mystery. Vampire books have a special spot in my heart and this one was very good! Just didn’t enjoy a couple incest aspects thrown into the book.
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Ok against popular belief I know, but I couldn’t get into the book. I admit winterly had me intrigued a bit and Emma protecting her sister was strong, but I couldn’t get into the dialogue or keep myself involved in the plot. Maybe it’s cause of the historical setting but I thought the supernatural component would override that for me. I just couldn’t pick it up to want it.
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~ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
As a fan of gothic suspense, I wanted to like this novel. Sadly that was not the case. This was a book in need of a genre it could stick to--it started as a regency romance, turned into a vampire romance and ended somewhere else somewhat more metaphorical. It was also way, way too long and badly in need of an edit. There are moments the author tells her story well and catches her readers' attention--but all too often, an awkward word or phrase will stop the read dead. (Seldom have I seen the word "vittles" used so frequently and so poorly.) I felt the author was most coherent and comfortable in her regency stage and had she stuck with it--I think it would have made a better, more cohesive book. Paranormal books are currently in vogue, but this mishmash of a story fails to meet the mark of a good one.
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A beautifully gothic paranormal romance. I liked the feel of the story more than the actual story. My issue was mainly with the main character who I didn't like all that much. Other than that it's pretty good.
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