Cover Image: Carpe Glitter

Carpe Glitter

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Member Reviews

I had not seen the number of pages before I started the book. It is not a thing I really do anymore, since kindle obligingly tells me how much reading time is left (and is right some of the time). I bring this point up because I thought that it was wrong in its assumption, given the ambience that was building up. Strangely enough, I did finish it in one sitting. As it was a book that had been on a virtual shelf, I had to wonder why I had not just picked it up much earlier!
Since the book is a novella, I will not drag this review much longer than the original text.
The plot is straightforward enough. We have a woman who has come to clear out her grandmother's house after her demise. This is difficult because her grandmother was a magician as well as a hoarder making the entire process unique. What she finds in the hidden depths involves a little faith in the paranormal/science fiction, even though this would not count as a horror book.
It was an easy read and did its job well in describing the situation in an immersive manner. I might have liked it even more had it been slightly more convoluted/longer.
I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
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Interesting and charmingly weird, my main problems with this story were one, that it felt hyper condensed, even for a novella, and that I was slightly disappointed with the denouement. 

But it's a fascinating family character study and the hints of magic and the supernatural were superb and creepy.
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What more is there to say? "Carpe Glitter" has just won the 2019 Nebula (awarded in 2020 for 2019 works) for best Novelette. It's a treat.
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There is a definite disconnect between the combination of the title Carpe Glitter with the bubblegum-pink cover stylized like a YA novel from 2005 with a ballgown and top hat, and the actual meaning behind the title and the story behind the cover. Carpe Glitter was the personal motto of the protagonist's recently departed grandmother, a stage magician and hoarder in her retired years. The novella is the musings, memories, and story of the protagonist as she works to clear out her grandmother's house, and the secrets that are hidden among the stacks of newspapers and her grandmother's doll collection. If you want something sparkly and pink, go elsewhere. But if you want an eerie look at personal responsibility to the past versus yourself, with a ghost and secret agents and obsession and casual murder and a life-size sentient nazi automaton that is for whatever reason evidently anatomically correct, then this is for you.
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Persephone Aim inherited her grandmother's houses. Not only was her grandmother a hoarder who added buildings to her property to hold all of her possessions, she was also a stage magician. I got happily lost in the pages of this novella and my only complaint is that I wish it was longer so I could have spent more time with Persephone, watching her sort through her grandmother's possessions. I think I would have loved this book just for its descriptions of old dresses shedding sequins like scales, but then there's the artifact that she discovers broken into pieces and hidden throughout the three houses. That's the point where Persephone realizes that there's a lot about her grandmother that she didn't know.
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An interesting and dark magical novella which highlights dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships.

The writing drew me in and the main character kept me immersed in the story. I hope to read more of this author's work.

I received a free copy. I am leaving my honest opinion.
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Carpe Glitter is a pretty solid and enjoyable novelette featuring a woman - named Persephone - who had felt a pawn in the battle between her grandmother - a stage magician - and her mother, all her life.  Now with her grandmother dead, Persephone has been given the task of going through her grandmother's hoarded property, as per the will.  But Persephone's mother and others are also interested in her grandmother's belongings, and Persephone begins to find some strange objects in them, which suggests some hidden truths behind the conflict she never knew - some of which may not be explainable by anything other than magic.  

The above is a couple of classic formulas (going through deceased relative's stuff, stage magician's magic being real, nazi magic, being caught in a conflict between relatives) merged together into a really solid and fun story.  Still, it kind of doesn't get more than solid - mostly because we never really do get to learn about who the narrator is outside of the conflict between her mother and grandma - the story notes her grandma made her study engineering at MIT (oh just engineering at MIT like that's nothing?!?!) and then never explains whether she liked that or what she does other than that she wandered.  She felt a bit to much of a blank slate for me to really care too much, a proxy for the reader to discover the magic and plot of everything else.  The story works, but without a stronger building up of Persephone, it doesn't quite hit that spot of truly great stories.
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Publisher’s synopsis: What do you do when someone else’s past forces itself on your own life? Sorting through the piles left behind by a grandmother who was both a stage magician and a hoarder, Persephone Aim finds a magical artefact from World War II that has shaped her family’s history. Faced with her mother’s desperate attempt to take the artefact for herself, Persephone must decide whether to hold onto the past – or use it to reshape her future.

WOW! What an incredible magical mystery! Truly captivating. I read the entire book in one sitting. It was the perfect escape for a couple of hours. From the first two pages I was hooked! And yes I'm going to keep using exclamation marks because that's how enthusiastic I am about this book and this review! It truly was the perfect novelette. 

Persephone's mother has many traits and similarities that resemble my own mother. So much so, that I can literally feel the frustration that Persephone has as she describes it. Often, she didn't even have to express her frustration, it didn't have to be written. I knew it was there and I know how she feels. But for those who don't have the (eyeroll) wonderful joy of a mother like that, Cat Rambo's engaging and descriptive writing is enough to make you feel it anyway. Rambo is clearly an intelligent woman, I can tell that just by the way she writes. It was refreshing to be reading such a compelling book that I truly didn't want to put down. Is there a better feeling? Rambo knows her audience and writes perfectly. I had to use the dictionary on at least one word on every page. Completely unheard of for me, but I am not mad about it at all.

What I liked: The description of the plants and succulents. Although (spoilers) they had a hidden meaning I am a plant lover myself with an abundance of agaves and succulents so it was exciting to see one of the things I enjoy outside of reading be included in a book that wasn't specifically for gardening. 

What I didn't like:  If I had to pick SOMETHING to nit pick, it would be that the agents taking so darn long. 
Rated 5/5 Stars
My sincerest thanks to Meerkat Press LLC and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for my review.



SEPERATE NOTE TO EDITOR: Are the purple magical things that go in Heinrich Beans or BEADS? both are mentioned over two pages and one must be a typo. A little confusing but didn't affect my review. 

This review was also posted to my Twitter, Wordpress, Tumblr and Instagram. You can find me on all of those platforms under @ShaeRikiReads
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Well, this was just too fun! Although maybe a little darker than I had anticipated.  Cat Rambo wasted no time, no words, just bam bam bam told us her story and told it well.
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I loved the way Cat Rambo blends dark humor, fantasy and sci-fi elements, and family relations. Death can reveal secrets and the ones we discover in Carpe Glitter are interesting. It's short (60 pages), quick to read, and entertaining.
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Carpe Glitter is a strange little bit of magic realism. It is a very internal story, focusing on the lives of the few main characters largely in isolation from the rest of the world. 
Overall it was not for me, but I recommend it for fans of The Night Circus who are looking for a bit of introspective storytelling.
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This was a very cute yet very short story. I liked it well enough. Kinda wanted a little bit more from it. Kinda was bored. Kinda didn’t care.
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Carpe Glitter Review and Links 

I was unsure what to expect from this novella. I had seen the author's name before, but I had not yet read any of her work. Reading CARPE GLITTER I was impressed with Cat Rambo's writing. 

The story starts off in one direction and there is some foreshadowing of a surprise to come, but I could in no way have predicted the twists and turns this story. 

For a novella of only 62 pages, Cat Rambo has skillfully created fully developed and complex characters. The fact that she has been able to do this for multiple characters is extremely impressive. 

I loved the way author brought Persephone to life and I identified with her and her desire to live life on her own terms. 

I do not want to ruin this book by giving away any of the plot. But I do want to impress upon people who are thinking about buying this book to go ahead and grab a copy for themselves. Potential readers will not be disappointed. 

Family dynamics and dysfunction, a WWII mystery, a grandmother who was a famous magician (and a secret hoarder,) a granddaughter who has spent her life loving both her grandmother and her mother who each hated the other, a strange inheritance, government agents, and much more. This book has everything you could ask for as a reader. 

I rate CARPE GLITTER as 4.5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⚡

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***
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I don't read many novellas, so I was impressed with the fast pacing of this little fantastical mystery. It was quirky and engaging from start to finish.

What I loved most were the vignettes that shed light on the relationships between Persephone, her mother, and her grandmother. With few words, the author was able to sketch the contradicting mixture of love and animosity among them all to great effect.

What I struggled with were the limitations of such a short piece. Explanations were either pithy or absent to the point that it left me with whiplash trying to follow along.

I recommend this as a quick and unusual read where family provides the battleground for a fight over a magical object.
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This one had me at magic and magicians. A consistently irresistible lure. I don’t think I’ve ever read the author before, if you just mentioned the name to me, I’d probably have an image of an aggressively militant feline. But at any rate, this novelette proved to be a complete delight. Nowhere near as silly as something with glitter in its title might turn out to be, this was a story of a young woman who comes to sort out her grandmother’s estate and the things she finds there. Ok, it sounds a lot more exciting once I mention the grandmother was a famous magician before she passed away and a protégé of one of the best female magicians of her time, who was also a spy during WWII. Now it sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? And it is, a really enjoyable story that managed to feature an almost conspicuous amount of elements of personal interest to me in such a small volume. In fact, didn’t really want it to end as quickly as it did. And usually I’m all about finishing books, but this one was just, you know, magical. So yeah, an absolutely lovely read and a great introduction to a new author for me. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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