Category Archives: Reviews

Review of The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Will and the Wilds

A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series.

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him. 

My Review:

This is a delightful, dark fairytale that explores the question: “What happens if you meet the monster lurking in the dark corners of your nightmares, and the interaction goes on a lot longer than you’d expected?”

Enna meets Maekallus, a Mysting, which are beings from the monster realm beneath our world. They both find themselves in a bit of a a bind, and when Maekallus tries to save himself by eating Enna’s soul, but she’s not entirely willing, it leaves them in a bit of an awkward ‘deal-unsealed’ situation. The story follows their attempts to get themselves out of the mess they’ve created.

This is a highly character-driven story. Not a lot happens aside from the ongoing interaction between Enna and Maekallus, but it works well here. The writing is solid and the character development is fantastic. I enjoyed Enna’s perspective but would’ve loved to hear a bit more of Maekallus’ POV. I’m a full-on ‘Sympathy For the Devil’ sucker for seeing through the monster’s eyes.

Enna’s relationships with her father and with Tennith did nothing for me, and the plot wandered a bit, getting off-topic occasionally. I would’ve loved to exchange all of that for a bit more Enna/Maekallus face-time.

The entire time I was reading I was positive I knew the ending, and I was surprised when it didn’t pan out the way I’d expected. And that’s a good thing. While I’m not a fan of getting sucker-punched in my day to day life, I love when it happens in a book.

Review: Watching Glass Shatter by james j. cudney

Watching Glass Shatter
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36140949-watching-glass-shatter?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Jw8aHaqTj0&rank=1

Synopsis:

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits.

My Review:

Since my genre is usually fantasy/sci-fi/speculative fiction, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Watching Glass Shatter. I was fortunate enough to win a copy in a contest after also having a friend whose literary tastes I greatly respect highly recommend it.

This intimate portrait of a family coming unravelled pulled me in right away! All of the characters were heartbreakingly genuine, a mix of good qualities and glaring imperfections. They were all so very human, and I enjoyed the jumps in perspective from one to another so that I never got bored with a POV. I enjoy changing perspectives in my reading, so it was a literary choice that worked for me, particularly with such a well-written cast of characters.

The story is neatly woven together around a mystery surrounding the Glass family’s past that comes to light upon the patriarch Ben’s untimely death. But the mystery presented in the beginning is certainly not the flesh and blood of this story. Essentially, it is a story about family — about the ties that bind them as a family of shared origin and the unique relationships they struggle to maintain as they juggle their own lives and their issues.

Watching Glass Shatter was a well written, intriguing book, and I would definitely read something else by Cudney.

REVIEW – THe Queen of Nothing by holly black

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy

My Review

I will miss the elves !!!

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This was a wonderful conclusion to a rich, beautifully written story. I felt that the characters Black has made me fall in love with all finally got the screen time they deserved. The Wicked King took a bit too many trips away from the main Jude/Cardan plot to deal with Locke, the Undersea, etc. This was the one I’ve been waiting for!

There have been times throughout this series when I wanted to kick Jude for not learning from her mistakes, but I have to say that, after watching her full journey, I’m pleased with her character development.

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My only regrets are –
1. How much I will miss Jude and Cardan
2. The fact that there weren’t 50 more pages of the epilogue. 

Review of Veiled by Desire (Laith #2) by Candace Robinson

Veiled By Desire (Laith, #2)

In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain…

My Review :

After reading “Clouded by Envy,” I was very excited to get back into the magical world of Laith. And there were a lot of familiar magical items and creatures – the mythology of Luca, jovkins, bats, and the Stone of Desire – but “Veiled by Desire” introduced a whole new depth to Laith, really fleshing out the world in a way that drew me right in.

I LOVED the characters in this book! Rhona and Tavarra, the two POV characters, were so different, and I enjoyed reading about their journeys even before their stories intertwined. The side characters – Eza, Quil, Perin, and Lana, all won special spots in my heart in the end as well. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Perin in particular tugged at my heartstrings in every possible way, and I was sooooo invested in him and his happiness. I laughed and cried for him. The relationships between the characters were well developed, natural, and sweet in a way that really won me over.

Told through the two POV’s of Rhona and Tevarra, and rich with flashbacks and the slow unmasking of character history, “Veiled by Desire” left me wanting to stay in Laith, and missing these new characters when the the book was done. I love how the human monster mythologies are being woven into the plot, and I cannot wait for the next Laith installment!

Review: Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques

Marrow Charm

‘In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but They were already in our world and They were hungry.’

-The Lost History, Library of Avergard

Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.

Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.

The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.

And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more. 

My Review:

Wow! This was such an unexpected wild ride, full of heart-wrenchingly tragic circumstances, exotic creatures, and complex relationships.

Marrow Charm springs off its pages with beautifully descriptive writing and an interesting, unique tone. After reading so many books, it’s rare that I find a truly fresh voice, and Jacques did not disappoint in that area.

I found myself continually drawn back into Azzy and Armin’s world, enjoying both perspectives and equally captivated by what was slowly revealed to me of their backstory, and what I am still itching to find out.

I’m waiting with baited breath for the second book in this series!

Review of Lineage by C. Vonzale Lewis

41084948._SY475_Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick. On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs.

With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Little does she realize, the moment she sets foot inside the building, she becomes a pawn. A sinister force has set its sights on her and will stop at nothing to use her in a sadistic game.

Tribec’s proprietors, the Stewart family, are curiously preoccupied with the Naqada, the mysterious pre-dynastic Egyptian society. Nicole finds it creepy, but on the bright side, the job reconnects her with her estranged friend, Marta. Yet the eerie atmosphere, disappearing Magick wards, and the smell of blood inside Tribec bring Nicole to a startling conclusion—the Stewarts are practicing Blood Magick, the deadliest of the Five Principles. By the time Nicole uncovers the truth, Marta and her four children have gone missing, and all signs implicate the Stewarts and an archaic blood ritual to an Old One, a Naqada god imprisoned on Tulare Island.

Battling the evil of Blood Magick will demand Nicole to confront a hidden past and unlock the Magick buried within. But can she set aside her deep-rooted fears to work with a team of vigilante Mages? Or will the clock run out on Marta and her children—and on Nicole?

My Review:

 

Blood Shining GIF - Blood Shining SplashBlood GIFs

Dark magic, a snarky main character, and a fast-paced high-stakes mystery made for a fun (if intense) read. A few scenes sent chills up my spine and violence was for sure a critical aspect to the book’s intensity.

In this magic-infused mess that our main character Nicole finds herself entangled in, we get to meet a lot of really cool, mysterious side characters, from the ‘patient’ Jonah and his barely contained violence to the swoony Alex and his tortured past. Lineage was an intense, pull-no-punches thriller, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series.

Review: Collateral Damage by Taylor Simonds

Collateral Damage

Power. Courage. Invincibility. The marks of a true hero.

Meg Sawyer has none of these things.

Meg has never stopped a moving bus with her bare hands, been bitten by a radioactive insect, or done anything moderately resembling saving the world. She doesn’t have to. She’s a background citizen, a nobody, one of the swarms of faceless civilians of Lunar City–where genetically enhanced superhumans straight out of the comics have thwarted evil for years.

For as long as the Supers have existed, Meg has had one goal: to not become a casualty in their near-daily battles for justice. And for the last seventeen years, she’s managed to do just that. Sure, her minimum-wage job at the local coffee shop isn’t great, she can’t even leave her apartment without loading herself up with protective gear, and her car was just hijacked to throw at a supervillain (again), but she’s not dead yet.

But when Meg accidentally finds one of the city’s perfect, invincible protectors murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, her whole “innocent bystander” strategy falls apart. After being coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help prevent the deaths of the remaining Supers, Meg finds herself forced into the foreground of a story she never wanted to be part of—one that challenges everything she thought she knew about both her city and herself.

My Review:

I’ve been on sort of a superhero kick lately (hello Avengers!), reading the ‘Archenemies’ series and ‘The Supervillain and Me.’ But Taylor Simonds’ Collateral Damage is such a unique take on the premise of living in a superhero-infested city, it was a breath of fresh air.

Simonds’ fresh perspective of the ‘everywoman’ civilian was spot-on. I loved Meg, and her cynicism with all of the heroes and villains running around, just tired of being stuck in-between as … here it is – collateral damage.  Great title, by the way! It sums up what’s going on in the midst of all the Supers, and even takes things like insurance and damage reimbursement into account.

Simonds’ writing was fast-paced and fun, and she didn’t pull any punches with what happens when people are seen as expendable. I already mentioned Meg, but I loved Oliver and the whole cast of Supers (not giving away their identities, so don’t worry).

Totally worthwhile, fun read!