Monday, March 15, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Memory Collectors, by Kim Neville {ends 3/22}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

She sends the paper boat skimming across the waves. It’s easier this time, like she’s been building a muscle. There seems to be a quality to each object, the emotion it holds dictating the kind of response she can draw from it. She practiced with the lantern last night, lifting and floating it gently above her bed. She lit the candle inside and used the lantern’s joy to control the flame, brightening and dimming its glow. She lasted only a few minutes before her head began to ache and her limbs grew heavy, sending her into a deep, exhausted sleep.

This object is lighter than the lantern. It takes little effort to connect with it, to bring it alive. The list wants to move, so she helps it along. It takes flight, spinning and whirling with the wind until she can see only a speck against the navy blue of the ocean.

“How did you do that?”

She’s forgotten Brett completely. Oops. Ev shrugs, keeps her back turned.

“Wind must have caught it just right.” She squeezes her eyes shut, hoping he’ll accept the lie and move on.

What if objects carried the emotions of those who had possessed them before? What if they spread the old emotions as they moved throughout the world? Maybe for some people they do.

Official synopsis:
Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.

Ev holds others at a distance for their own good, at least that’s what she tells herself. She hates feeling the emotions of others through objects they’ve previously had. She purposely keeps her living space as impersonal as possible, so she can try to keep herself quiet and unaffected by other influences. While she spends time with Owen, it’s mostly because he doesn’t make her reveal more about herself than she wants to. Ev thinks the only one who truly knows her is her sister Noemi.

Then Ev and Owen meet Harriet. While Owen has always known that Ev’s relationship to objects is different than most people, he recognizes that Harriet also treats the objects in her care with more reverence than most. So if Ev and Harriet have that in common, should they be friends? Ev hardly trusts herself with her power, she’s really reluctant to trust Harriet, who has hoarded her apartment so full of bright things (as she calls them) that she’s making her neighbors sick with all the emotions spilling out.

Ev and Harriet were so unique. While their understanding of the objects they encounter seemed to be something they had in common, how they reacted was very different. Is it from their background? The strength of their power? Their own will? What does using their powers, or not, cost them?

The story and characters in this book were amazing to me, and I would give the book 5 out of 5 stars. I’d love to read it again and see what other signs I missed of how it all would develop next. I’d recommend this book for those who enjoy unique stories and magical realism.

{click HERE to purchase}

Becki Bayley likes flowers, shiny memories, and the smell of old books. Read more of her reviews and sometimes other thoughts at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Memory Collectors!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, March 22nd, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Memory Collectors, by Kim Neville


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