Category Archives: Adult Fiction

Book/Audio Book Review: The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

BOOK OF SPECULATION_tpMECH_01.inddTitle:  The Book of Speculation

Author: Erika Swyler

Release Date:  June 23rd, 2015

Genre:  Adult Fiction

“As Simon, a lonely research librarian, searches frantically for the key to a curse that might be killing the women in his family, he learns strange and fascinating secrets about their past. A tale full of magic and family mystery, The Book of Speculation will keep you up all night reading.”—Isaac Fitzgerald, BuzzFeed

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.

One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned–always on July 24, which is only weeks away.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola?

In the tradition of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, The Book of Speculation–with two-color illustrations by the author–is Erika Swyler’s moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

Summary from

My Review:  I came upon this book because it was in my suggestions on audible.  I am a librarian and the main character was a librarian so I thought it would be interesting to give this book a chance.  I have seen comparisons to The Night Circus and Water for Elephants and I would not put this book in with either of those.  Yes, there is a traveling circus in this book, but that is where the similarities end for comparing those books end.  The Book of Speculation weaves a story from the past and the present together in a magical and intriguing way that keeps you completely enthralled, desperate to discover how the two are related to one another.

I listened to the book on audible and the narrator was fantastic!  He did all the voices, read at a great pace and was very engaging.  I loved him and will be sure to look up what else he has narrated and give those a try as well.  There were a couple of moments at the beginning of the story that I was not sure if I was going to stick with it, but his narration kept me interested and I am glad I stuck with it, because about 50 pages in, it really started to pick up.  I will say that listening to the audio had one downside, I did not know there were drawings in the book until after I was done.  I happened to pick up a copy and noticed them and wish I had known about them earlier because I would have liked to see them as I was reading.  I am pretty sure they were described to me throughout the novel, but the illustrations were very interesting and I went back through to see all of them.  So if you do listen to it, know that there are small illustrations in there that you might be interested in seeing.  I just checked the book out from my library and scanned through them that way.

I am not sure how much I can really say about the book itself without giving too much away.  The magic in this story was not knowing what was going to happen and who was related to whom.  Each chapter unraveled one mystery only to present a new one which kept me very intrigued and always guessing about what was going to happen next.  We follow Simon, a librarian who is about to be let go, as he tries to uncover why an old book landed on his doorstep and how it relates to him and his family.  The book itself tells the story of a travelling circus from long ago, the characters all acts within Mr. Peabody’s show.  Honestly, almost every one of them could have had their own book and I would have been interested in learning every detail about them.  I was fascinated by their lives and what they entailed.  At the beginning of this book I wanted to get back to the chapters about them, but by the end I was more interested in Simon’s life and how it connected to this traveling circus.  Swyler weaved an amazing journey, that I was not sure I was willing to go on at first, but now I cannot stop thinking about it.  I know it is a book that I will re-read and it will stay with me.  I have not read anything else by her yet, but I will be on the lookout for her books in the future in hopes of getting lost in a new and magical world.

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Sourcebooks eBook Spectacular!

Sourcebooks is feeling the spirit of the holiday season and we want to share it with you! We’re running our biggest promotion yet: daily discounts on our most popular ebooks, starting December 1 and lasting through December 25! When you sign up, you’ll be notified every morning of which book is going on sale that day. And, when you sign up to receive our daily email notifications, you’ll automatically be entered to win two ereaders: one for you, and one for a friend or family member.

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Sign up today for the Sourcebooks Christmas eBook Spectacular on our ebook promo page (, for the chance to get great books and great prices, and to win ebooks, candy, print books, and an eReader for you – and one for a friend or family member!

Sourcebooks Launches Discover a New Love

Online Readers Club Focuses on Connecting Romance Authors & Readers

(Chicago, IL) April 10, 2011—Sourcebooks, one of romance fiction’s fastest growing publishers, announces the launch of, an online readers club that offers members exclusive, early access to some of the hottest new authors, deep discounts on new and bestselling romance ebooks, and a nonstop party for both readers and authors.

At the heart of Discover a New Love are monthly ebook selections that offer members the opportunity to download an ebook from one of the major romance subgenres: contemporary, paranormal, and historical (plus a special “wild card” title thrown in for fun).  While many selections will feature sizzling new debuts and rising stars, members will be pleased to find nationally bestselling authors like Georgette Heyer, Grace Burrowes, Catherine Mann, and Carolyn Brown in the monthly mixes.

“Readers have a hard time figuring out what they should try next.  It’s an issue of discovery—finding great new authors with amazing stories,” says Deb Werksman, Editorial Manager.  “Now, they can choose their favorite categories, and we’ll treat them to something new on a monthly basis, sometimes even before these new books are available to the public.”

Membership to Discover a New Love is offered for as little as $1.67 per book and provides access to the monthly selections, “members-only” deals, sneak peeks of forthcoming titles, and author chats. “For what you’d normally pay for one romance, you can now buy two or three,” says Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks Senior Editor. “It’s a fabulous way to read your favorite authors and get a chance to try new ones without putting a big dent in the book budget.”

In addition to great ebook deals, each month readers can join Barbara Vey, romance fiction expert and blogger of Beyond Her Book, as well as featured authors, for online parties to celebrate their books and discuss all things romance!

“I’m thrilled to be involved in a venture that brings readers and authors together, because what’s more fun than talking about romance with like-minded people?” says Vey, who will be regularly blogging and hosting parties for Discover a New Love. “The only thing better than reading good romance is talking about it with other readers who love it just as much as you do.”

A couple of other notes about Discover a New Love:

  • In response to reader demand, many of the featured ebooks will be available on a worldwide basis.
  • The ebooks offered will be DRM free. Sourcebooks wants readers to own the books and for those ebooks to be portable across ereading devices and platforms.
  • Discover a New Love is starting with Sourcebooks titles, and is looking to work with other publishers to make their authors available on this new model.

“Discover a New Love is a new model built directly in response to what we’ve heard from authors, agents, and readers,” says Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks. “Expect a lot of experimentation from us.” officially launches at 9:00 a.m. CST officially Tuesday, April 10, in time for the RT Book Lovers Convention in Chicago. The featured titles for the month of April are: One Hot Cowboy Wedding by New York Times bestselling novelist Carolyn Brown, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal by New York Times bestselling novelist Grace Burrowes (released one month early to members), Tempted by Elisabeth Naughton, and Mariana by New York Times bestselling novelist Susanna Kearsley.

For more information about Sourcebooks, its authors, and new initiatives, visit