Just One More Chapter

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

-Vera Nazarian


I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time. 


Blacktongue Thief By Christopher Buehlman





This book has been on my radar for a really long time and I was both SUPER excited to finally get my hands on it and SUPER anxious to see if my (not so) patient waiting was all for nothing. Due to Life, Time has been a bit wibbly wobbly lately so I was only able to ingest this read in fits and starts BUT that was a Me thing, not due to any fault of the book. 


This thief (working for the evil guild) --> (relatively) Good Guy trope was addicting from the very first chapter. There were large Battle Ravens and the warriors (who happen to worship Lady Death as their God) that harbored and fought alongside them. There was a unique magic system showcased by magical: tattoos, Golems, animals, forests, meals etc... There were sea monsters featuring the shockingly sentient and surprisingly methodical Kraken. There was the tried and true trifecta of Witches and Goblins and Giants... oh my. There was a bevy of Gods to chose from and nefarious guilds (to avoid)... malicious Illuminati bent on World domination.


Our MC, Kinch Na Shannack, was from the Thief Guild (although he definitely made that decision under duress)... he's a thief with a well honed (actual) black tongue, a razor sharp wit and an internal meter allowing him to gage the probability for Lucky outcomes. He is definitely one of those characters that you either love or loathe. I for one relished his bizzar, and oft times tangential chatter and his, and especially his moon wife's, humor. All of the characters are gray hued and relateable and lovable/ loathsome in their own complicated ways... it's great!! The dialogue was also excellent!! It was both organic and (often) very funny. The World Building was incredibly rich and set so subtly that there was no rambling for pages and chapters trying to set the background just so... it was simply laid out like breadcrumbs... tidbits gently accumulating, leading to an expertly fleshed out, full-bodied, vibrant World of high fantasy. 



This is one anxiously awaited read that met its larger than life expectations head on and not only kicked butt but deftly won over my heart to boot. I can't wait for book #2! 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune





I'm going to keep this short because I don't want to spoil even the tiniest of things. BUT this book is something I didn't realize I desperately needed until I was neck deep, wading through its depths. I want to bottle these emotions so I can take them out on gloomy days and reminisce about the happiness and sense of completion this book gifted me. I have heard nothing but praise for The House In The Cerulean Sea, therefore, I was leary going into this read. I went in a Skeptic and came out an Apostle. As I sat in a doctor's waiting room with this in hand, within the matter of 15 minutes I had cried and then I laughed... all out loud... sniffling wildly in the middle of a pandemic, garnering looks of suspicion and outright disgust. I must have looked like a crazy person BUT I didn't care... I had found an ereader sized gem and I am going to treasure it Smeagol style for all time... also, wearing a mask helped hide most of the evidence. 


The characters are the stars of this show and I truly fell in love over and over again... deeper in love with each passing page. Each character will forever own a piece of my heart but Lucy... Lucy has the lion's... errr Devil's share. I love him to tiny little perfectly jagged little pieces of pure Love. 


I'll end things here but just so you know:


- characters--> AMAZING

- world building--> lush and evocative and tangible 

- writing--> raw and alluring and it completely ensnared me heart and soul.

- pacing--> a tad slow to start but when things got rolling and I started understanding what was going on more, it swept me away.


I am off to (reverentially) place this where it belongs... in my Favorites folder. 


~ Enjoy 

Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater





Wuuuuu eeee this book was a head trip!! The ineffable Mrs Maggie Stiefvater never fails to bring the Awesome especially in the last half hour of this book. I enjoyed this novel, as I have done with the rest of her books, auditorily, using Audible... (not a paid endorsement)... and Will Patton IS THE voice for all of Maggie's amazing characters and I absolutely LOVE his raspy, husky, inflections. I could listen to him read the phone book. Yummmmmm! Patton's voice + Maggie's full bodied characters are the one two punch that brings her gritty work to life.


Maggie's characters are deep and complex and gray... OH SO (yummily) GRAY! They have complicated backstories. They have expertly crafted interconnections and they are so delicious it hurts. Not only are the book's MCs dynamic, the secondary characters are rich and sonorous too. They all deserve to be taken out, put on a pedestal and lavished verbally with beautific prose but alas, I don't have the mindset right now for that and you probably don't want to read pages of character idiolzation. BUTTTTT there is Ronan... beautifully, humanly broken (in his own jagged way)... a lovingly restored stained glass montage of Rage and Love and Family (both found and blood) and Belonging and Power (in every sense of the word) and impotence. He is a rather interesting specimen of Juxtaposition. I don't want to give too much away so I'll just say that I am 100% sure that if you pick up this book (and by extension, this series starting with The Raven Boys) you will NOT be disappointed. It may feel like we didn't get very much done or had gone very far in this installment but in retrospect... when looking at the book (and the series) as a whole, you'll see that we have traveled a long way from where it all started. It also seems to me that book #3 is now set up to be one hell of a finale! I don't know about you but that ending?? Bryde reveal?? Twisty turns?? All of it... Epic!!




The writing... gritty excellence 

The background building... robust and intoxicating

The characters... perfection (as always). I'm sorry, I love love LOVE them and this book... this series... the series it branched off of... this author... 


*** Chef's Kiss ***


I'm biased (with just cause) but I'm also a bit lost. I have SOOO many more questions now that I have finished the book.

Bryde reveal???

Jordan awake? 

WTH happened to Ronan???

Is it a Sweetmetal???

What's the secret to making Sweetmetals??

WTH happened with the moderators??

What's the endgame Ronan?? Hennessy?? 

End of the layline??

End of the world??

My non Zed brain can't handle the uncertainty of it all... the unadulterated Awesomeness.

I. MUST. Have. The last book. ASAP!!


Interest piqued... Mind blown... Well done Mrs. Stiefvater... well done!


~ Enjoy 


A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P Djeli Clark



This novella is an awesome start to a unique series. I listened to the audiobook version and the narrator was amazing. She was authentic sounding, did the voices beautifully and pronounced each foreign word as if it were her native language... which it might be for all I know. 


This story has Djinn (of course) and (steampunk) Angels (??). There are Mortals and Ghouls with a taste for fresh flesh. There are (supposed) God(s) and various dimensions and worlds. This sounds like it could easily become convoluted and end up being a big, steaming pile of WTF mush. BUT (at least for now) these entities played nicely OFF one another in a very solid, cohesive, union even though they didn't necessarily play nicely WITH one another. 




This book had great writing and even better characters... in fact, the characters were definitely the stars of this rodeo. The world building was rich, and lush... even a halfway decent book set in early 20th century Cairo would have to work at being bland? The MC was a smart, capable, kick ass female and I for one loved her!! The only other character I liked was a secondary one who may or may not become a love interest... she was funny, sarcastic, extremely capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a foe and was an all around great addition to the story. I was constantly wondering what was going on and it was fun to see how everything played out. 


My interest is now piqued SO I am off to book #2.


~ Enjoy 

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen





After many... many (unsuccessful) attempts to get into this book, it just so happened that I was unable to soldier through AND, unfortunately... this was a DNF for me at 15%. Honestly I am surprised that I made it that far. I reread whole passages over and over again trying to retain what I had just read... to no avail. The prose in this debut novel were dense and... in my humble opinion... bland. It also seemed to go out of its way to be relevant by noticeably focusing on checking hot topic boxes... disabled character? Check! Transgender mercenaries proclaiming that they "are female, for now" (a bit trite?)? Check! Could I have misunderstood and misspoke? Maybe, things were hard to grasp and keep straight. I happen to love a good hardcore scifi yarn but this was not the one for me.




With large sections of pure info dumping it was extremely difficult to keep people and even background info straight. I tried, I really really tried. The synopsis sounded incredibly intriguing... so much so that I gave this one the ole college try several times over several months hoping that it was a Me thing but alas... it was not Me to me.

I desperately wanted a Space Opera and instead I got a boring, clunky, wanna be hard-core scifi snoozefest... harsh? Yes! BUT when I find myself slogging through a book and not caring one whit for any of the characters ... THAT is a cardinal sin in my book. So DNF it was. 

~ Sorry


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare





Death by someone else's literary brain-baby, that's my current state of being... eviscerated by a gifted artist's imagination AND I (happily) paid for the privilege... hard cash for a premeditated and blatant act of emotional homicide that i am quite sure the author enjoyed dispensing AND for that I say " Bravo Mrs. Clare... well done" and PLEASE take my money in advance for your next assault on my mental well being?


Cassandra Clare can write! She can especially write full bodied, robust, interesting characters and gift them, and by extension we devotees, with an unbelievably detailed/lush/gritty and vivacious World to romp about in. If you are not acquainted with the ShadowHunter Universe then #1) what rock have you been residing under? And #2) this is not the place to start. Imo you should head on over to Infernal Devices and start your journey there.


Mortal Instruments was fantastic and this series, Shadowhunters The Last Hours, is amazing as well but i believe that Infernal Devices is still stop #1 and my favorite series (love me some Will Herondale!!) WHICH happens to transition beautiful into this series chronologically. 



Full stop!! If you are fishing about and have not read Infernal Devices then there is a spoiler or two in here for you with regards to that series.... you've been warned!!!



Ok, back to the matter at hand...The Last Hours features Will & Tessa Herondale's Son, James, his sister Lucie and a slew of other amazing characters including the younger Herondale's friends... the Merry Thieves. This book has a bit of (my book hubby) Will in it but it mainly features the next generation of our beloved families... Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, Lightwoods, Blackthorns etc. James, as well as most of the Merry Thieves, is most definitely swoon worthy (he IS a Herondale afterall) and his frustrating matters of the heart are both vexing and severely trigger my anger issues. BUT, I must admit that, amongst all of the love triangle back and forth "does he... will they...", I absolutely love Cordelia! She is one bad ass female MC!! She is smart. She is lethal. She is honorable. She is trustworthy and she is in love... hopelessly so. Cassandra Clare has a flare for dreaming up love triangles so yummy you won't only be interested ... you'll be fully invested in, and rooting for, all 3 ill fated lovers... and I normally despise love triangles especially if they are done wrong... not that we have to worry about that here. Oh, and just to put it out there, I am 100% team James BUT I hope that Matthew gets his own Happily Ever After... just not with Cordelia.



ANYWAY, Mrs. Clare has a special way of connecting to, invisioning and portraying Victorian/Edwardian London, its ambiance and populace. She breathes life into every aspect of this unique universe in an unbelievably visceral way. I can't get enough of it and you won't be able to get enough either... I'm almost certain of that fact.




Cassandra gutted me, left me reeling and the only foreseeable cure is book #3... STAT! The Shadowhunter's universe will forever hold a special place in my heart and this addition is a thing of beauty. It's got it all. It is well written, fully developed and the characters are deliciously tormented.... they are also blessed/cursed by each others loyalty and destinies. I love this series, universe, author and I highly recommend this book!!


~ Enjoy 

Master of Djinn by P Djeli Clark





This is not your grandfather's Cairo BUT is it mine?? I don't think so. I listened to the previous novella via Audible and loved it! I tried listening to this book as well and even though the narrator is the same, I just couldn't get into the story. I found it difficult to care about what was happening or for the characters... an unforgivable travesty that is difficult to overlook and power through in my opinion.


This one is a DNF for me at ~ 50%. I tried over and over to psych myself up to go back to it but, ultimately, I failed. 


~ Sorry

Court of Honey and Ash by Shannon Mayer





This was such an addictive, coming of age read. It had loads of action... in fact, right off the bat, we were dropped into the fray of a physical and mental set of trials whose results were to determine the rest of the participants' lives. There was drama and betrayal and lots of butt kicking a la, our MC, Kallik's style. Skipping ahead to avoid spoilers at all costs. There's more drama, some running, some more bouts of MC badass-ery, alliances made, betrayal and then there's Lan... yummy, angsty, possible owner of a stick up his bum, Faolan aka Lan. There was some slightly witty, but definitely natural feeling dialogue... a possible love triangle (which I normally shy away from... vehemently... but here it was nascent and harmless... so far) and a world not only populated by we mere humans but Fae of varying types as well. There was even a tiny pinch of Seelie courtly intrigue. 


It was entertaining enough to demand all of my attention for the entirety of the book. I became increasingly vexed watching the page numbers increase, dreading the coming of the end WHICH, in and of itself, is an infallible sign of a truly enjoyable read! It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger but (no spoilers here) I was extremely happy to see who it was that showed up at the very end. The writing was solid, the background building and character development were both lush, and detailed. Kallik was gifted (?), had loads of abandonment issues and was definitely flawed BUT she was also a kick ass fighter, survivor and loyal friend. The pacing was perfect. It had lots of drama and a dollop of romance peppered throughout a primarily Action-centric book.




This book was a (very) happy accident. I found it hidden among the other Kindle Unlimited books soooo I ended up paying $0 and walked away with a really enjoyable read... win-win! This one's a great choice for lovers of Fantasy, Fae and (pretty tame) friends --> enemies(ish) ---> (possible) lovers tropes as well as those just looking for a magical, Alaskan read. It'll also be a hit with those that love kick ass female MCs that are working on personal growth, magical growth and trying their best to exorcize their emotional demons. The writing is really solid, the pacing is perfect, the world and character developments are diverse and quite satisfying. My interest is piqued and I'm anxious for September 27th to get here so I can find out what happens next. Luckily it's only a few days away but that can feel like torture when waiting for a sequel to drop.


I reccomend this book to all Jennifer Armentrout, (maybe some) Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black or even Julie Kagawa fans... it's a great way to spend a few  hours... or many hours depending on how fast you read. My advice is to read slowly because waiting for the next book??... no es divertido!


~ Enjoy  




A Throne of Feathers and Bone by Shannon Mayer





I got this one at 12:03 a.m. the night/day of its release. I waited and refreshed as often as I could while still reading the book I used to fill the void between A Court of Honey and Ash and A Throne Of Feathers and Bone. So far I'm now 1/3 of the way in and I'm addicted and fully invested hook line and sinker. I'm loving Kallik and Lan even more than in book #1 and I can't wait to see how they navigate their new world and the muddy waters of their ever evolving relationship. 


Ok. Now that some time has passed and I have just finished the entire book, I have so much to say but only a smidgen of it can be voiced... spoilers and all that.


To begin with, I'm pleasantly surprised by how vastly different this book's tone is from the first. In this book, Kallik is no longer running like a scared babe in the Woods.... trusting whomever will show her even the slightest bit of kindness. Don't get me wrong, she's still on the run but while scrambling frantically about, she manages to find a place where she can put a concerted effort into cultivating (and maybe appreciating more?) her freshly discovered/newly shaped magical abilities. Along the way she finds out more about herself... more of who she really is and what that means to the Fae world. She learns who has had her back all along... in the shadows (and out)... and why. She learns key bits about her backstory, answering many frustrating questions like what are the real reasons why her magic is wonky, (especially when she and Lan have any sort of contact)? She learns the truth about her family and how that ultimately changes her entire world. 


Then there's the fire building between her and Lan which, in the last book, felt like a handful of embers that had potential for more if only it were tended to more vigorously WHICH definitely happens in this book... it is working itself into a raging 5 alarm blaze... the kind of legendary Amore that minstrels and bards go on and on waxing poetic about. I love them together. They are a sexy Ying/Yang although there are some complications whenever their powers intermingle but hey, there's always a learning curve with each new relationship, right?... some more than others. 




There were a couple of twisty turns that were a bit easy to foresee ahead of their reveals but there were also a few that were better disguised. Either way, the decent amount of curveballs made this book one magical, action aplenty, romance, coming of age and into one's role in Life tale. I'd label that as a successful plot and a rewarding way to spend the day... and then there's that ending!!!



This book has it all.

- solid writing? Check

- lush, detailed background? Check 

- magical action? Check

- some sexytime heat? Check(ish)

- courtly drama? Check

- dramatic plot twists? CHECK

- excellent character development? Double Check!!

All that and an emotional cliffy ending? Yes, thank you! If you liked A Court of Honey and Ash, you'll especially enjoy this read. I hope book #3 comes out soon... I already miss Kallik and Company. They'd 100% never go by that name but it's better than Kallik et al. 


The take away here is that I tore through this book with glee. I really enjoyed it and I'm excited to dive back into this World with these well crafted characters hopefully sometime soon.


A Crown of Petals and Ice can't come soon enough for me.


~ Enjoy 


Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison





I listened to this audiobook and winced... often. Even though the book was interesting, there were so many odd names and lineages and associations and positions held and dates that at times, I just zoned out and said to myself "I guess this (named action/occurance) happened because of some weird named guy, I hope I don't need to remember who they are later on". AND remember I did not. I know it got excellent reviews BUT I'm instituting Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50 here... in this case it's 50 minutes of audiobook instead of 50 pages but you get the gist. This is a DNF for this disappointed gal. 


~ Sorry 

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal





This Historical Fantasy chronicled the Victorian Eras' obsession with "freaks " and "oddities". The writing was succinct yet descriptive and even though it was written well, with a premise brimming with potential, it ultimately fell flat for me. It was not action packed. It was not filled with lacy prose or Magic or even deep, well fleshed out, likable characters. There was a bit of a quasi- romance but it felt odd, stilted and plain old weird... and not weird in a good way. It was your run-of-the-mill, middle of the road, teetering pile of Meh. If I were not committed to reviewing this arc, I would have enacted Pearl's Rule and placed this one firmly in the DNF pile. It barely skirted the right side of decent and regrettably, it sloooooowly courted disinterest all the way through. I thought Toby was a cliched, love and attention starved Beaten Dog trope (although I did end up feeling for him a bit by the epilogue), Nell was WAY too annoying to connect with or even to pity and I Loathed (with a capital L) Jasper and not in some Gothic "I love to hate him" way. I thought he was not relatable or likeable or redeemable at all. His motivations were muddied and although we were repeatedly told that he and his brother were linked and regarded each other as the other half of their own souls... it was more of a telling than a feeling (on my part) through actions and intentions. There was only one time that Jasper's loyalty to Toby was irrefutable and it's a pretty big plot hook so I won't spoil things for you, BUT aside from that one time when he was a decent brother, he was odious, dastardly and down right toxic. Don't get me wrong, it's true that a good villain can be better than all the heros a book can muster BUT when I can't get behind, or even stand, any of the MCs... not even 1 of the 3... then THAT, in my humble opinion, is a literary travesty. There are only a few literary no-no(s)that I can absolutely not abide by and this is a major one. AT LEAST ONE MAIN CHARACTER MUST BE INTERESTING!! Now, the book could have done better with a bit more "freaks" and a LOT less... other boring people but that's not what we were given here. 





This book had a decent premise with loads of potential but, ultimately, it fell flat. I did really like one character, Stella, but that's about it, the rest of the cast were either dull, despicable or annoying. Nothing better than a lush, creepy, freaky, circus yarn (especially around Halloween time)but sadly, if you're in the market for one of those kinds of reads you're going to be disappointed here.


~ Sorry 

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff





This wickedly action packed rollercoaster ride was a tachycardia inducing, heart bruising pleasure to experience. I was given a sampler but I quickly got bogged down with the names and Vampire lineages and such so as soon as I was able, I bought the audiobook and man oh man am I ecstatic that I did because this narrator, Damian Lynch, was AWESOME!! He was able to produce a bevy of distinct voices, all with varying accents. I never had to question who was speaking at any given moment or guess the tone with which they truly meant their words to have. Of course Jay Kristoff had a little part in achieving that but Damian Lynch made this book a new favorite. I'll definitely be looking him, and his yummmmy, husky voice up and seeking out some more of his work.




Empire of the Vampire was extremely reminiscent of one of my all time favorite reads, The Name of the Wind, with an infamous "hero" recounting his escapades, trials and triumphs that lent him his "Hero" title... The Black Lion. He recollected (and in doing so he relived) his entire life... ups, downs and in-between, to a vampire that was chronicling our MC's, Gabriel De Lion, history from inside a jail cell. 


Kristoff brought Vampires back into the realm of ugly, nasty, nightmare fuel. The writing was equal parts evocative, poignant, graphic, atmospheric, and ohhhhh sooooo vivid. If you're looking for a sparkling, vampire tale with a saccharine ending then you are out of luck because this book will take you to dark places and have you questioning if Happily Ever Afters can ever truly exist let alone in a world devoid of sunlight and populated by crazy, blood sucking, atrocious creatures. And then there was that ending... an ending steeped in promise. I just this moment finished this book and already I pray book #2 comes out quickly. 





I usually read a book in print and listen to an audiobook during the same time frame. This book was so raw, and visceral, gritty and dark that it made the other book I was reading seem tame and boring. Was it fair to compare? No! BUT it was impossible not to and so I put 2 other books on hold because they couldn't match Empire of the Vampire's tone or fervor. This is new territory for me and I'm here for it. This was a long read/listen but 100% worth every minute spent. The characters were deep, well fleshed out and oh so beautifully, humanly flawed. The background was a little confusing at first but Damian Lynch really brought it home and turned this LARGE tome into an instant favorite. I HIGHLY reccomend this book... especially as an audiobook AND especially if you like books such as The Name of the Wind. I LOVED it!


~ Enjoy 

*** I was given a sampler of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***


Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger





This book had such potential! I just couldn't get lost in its crazy/mish mosh/over saturated world. It had a lot going on like: vampires, ghosts, ghost whisperers, ghost pets (including a temperamental ghost dinosaur) bat people, coyote people and a nefarious, devilish deviant, most likely immortal, (human?) antagonist. Sounds pretty entertaining right? Nope! What a letdown. Now, I can't say with 100% certainty that this book doesn't deliver at the end because I threw in the towel ~ the 47% mark... but life's too short to spend time on a read that is tedious or boring especially when my teetering TBR is begging for my attention. 


This could be a case of It's Not You It's Me but I am too bored to find out.


~ Sorry 

The Menagerie series by Tui T Sutherland and Kari Sutherland





This review will be for the 3 book series as a whole because each book was just as good as the last. I listened to this audiobook with my husband and 11 year old daughter each night before bed and here I'll report what each family member's opinion was. 



My 11yo: "I really liked this series. I loved that everyone had their own personalities, making it easy to tell who was who. The cliffhangers were a little anticlimactic. I also didn't like how Jasmine was made out to look like a rude, selfish, brat when she was actually really nice. I enjoyed the writing, it was so good that the author was able to make me hate certain characters with all my heart... that's talent. I wanted more time with the creatures individually. The mythical members of the story deserved more page time especially when they were interacting with Logan who also was an awesome creature whisperer."


"It's no Harry Potter (though who besides the original can be?) but it was a decent book series.

All in all I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars."



My 38 year old Husband: "this was a cute series. I personally wouldn't have picked it to read on my own but it held my interest even when it was a touch trite. The mythical creatures were the best part of the book.

Overall: it was interesting enough and everyone in the family enjoyed it. I rate it 3.5 stars."


Me: this Middle Grade book was a fun way to spend some time, listening, with the family! I won't recap the synopsis but I will say that I loved how vivid it was while still staying within the parameters of a Middle Grade read. The writing was solid and, apart from trying to figure out who was causing all the ruckus and why, I really enjoyed meeting the bevy of mythical creatures! There were the usual suspects... mermaids... gryphons... dragons... a basilisk... a kraken... a variety of were-creatures and more. The vast array of characters were introduced in a succinct/seamless manor. We, the reader/listener, were never bogged down and burried underneath a huge cast where it feels like homework trying to keep everyone straight. The characters were strong and well rounded yet they all brought something unique to the group. I adored the way the protagonists slowly learned to rely on one another and work together in a cohesive group in order to achieve success in whatever the current problem was. The pace was never stagnant (in any of the books) and it kept us guessing (almost) straight through. The ending tied things up neatly with a tidy wrapping and a pretty were-bow on top... not normally how I like my endings BUT in this Middle Grade book it worked out well. 


The Menagerie was a well written Middle Grade read with a bunch of mysteries to solve and great characters created to achieve that goal. The magic was entertaining and the backdrop just as good but the characters and fantastical creatures were the stars of this show. This is good, clean fun for the whole family and I give it a solid 4 stars.



Menagerie by Rachel Vincent





"if monsters could look like humans, and humans could look like monsters, how could anyone ever really be sure that the right people stood on the outside of all those cages?"



This was my first foray into the the amazingly imaginative mind of Rachel Vincent and boy oh boy was I pleasantly/horrifyingly surprised! This was a very unique PN alternate world trope that was populated by hybrid & mythelogical creatures (called Cryptids) and plain ole Normies like you and I...or are we?? It turned out to be an interesting commentary on many topics like: How exactly do we react to any and all things "different" from us? What does it mean to One's sense of Self if we found out that we are not really what we originally thought ourselves to be? What if we are no longer considered middle of the road, spectacularly Meh Normal? How would it feel to have all of the luxuries one takes for granted abruptly and forcefully taken away only to find ourselves living a new life as Property, Pet, Plaything or Hunted?



“A cage locks other people out as much as it locks you in, and sometimes that’s for the best.”



Rachel Vincent WOWED me with such a naturally paced, expertly crafted, realistically beautiful/barbarically honest imagining of a world faced with crippling fear of the unknown (especially after an attack by a fanatical faction of said unknown). This book was so realistic that it even made me rethink my patronage of Circuses and Zoos though I admittedly, not-so-secretly already harbored a hatred for these barbaric institutions where in majestic creatures are forced to exist in. The book just deepened my loathing!



"the only true difference between the hybrids and most of their handlers was that the handlers hid their beasts on the inside. A wolf will growl to warn that it’s angry and a bull will paw the ground before charging. Rattlesnakes rattle, cats moan and hiss, and hyenas grunt and cackle. But a man will smile right in your face as he drives a knife into your heart. Such was the nature of humanity,"



The book was told with varying POVs but did not confuse me as is often the case with such narratives. I thankfully did not find myself flipping back to the beginning of each chapter, trying to decode whose mind we were currently inhabiting. The MC was a no nonsense, kick butt young woman who did happen to rub me the wrong way at times (especially when she was stupid enough not to realize that playing along a bit would be smarter than repeatedly ramming your head against a brick wall because of your pride). Anyway...she lucked out finding Gallagher who not only treated her like an actual person but who also promised to be her Champion of all bloody Champions (pun intended). He Is hands down my book bff and is someone you DEFINITELY want on your side (though his motto of "his word is his honour" I could happily have done without so often)! This pairing is so bad @$$ that no one thus far was able to mess with them and I don't foresee anyone besting them in the near future. I am extremely excited to see how their current predicament is handled as well as see what direction Mrs. Vincent takes the storyline in altogether. 



All in all a 3.5 - 4.0 star read that unfortunately suffered from the aforementioned annoyances coupled with an ending that felt rushed. I will definitely read on in the series and I strongly recommend that you pick up this book asap!



WARNING:::: there are references to Rape (though not graphic), abuse and major brutality.

Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith





Witch Haven was a really well thought out, detailed, Magically Realistic, Historical Fantasy. It was set in 1911 New York and showcased a bustling city occupied by the downtrodden, the working class and the wealthy (who believe(d) themselves untouchable). We were shown the classism and misogyny of the times which, sadly, ridiculously, we still have too much of today. It was a coming of age and into one's powers kind of book. It was also a whodunit with a splash of magical tug-of-war between the male magic wielders and the female witches... winner take all of NY. Although, the women appeared to want nothing more than to manage their Magic enough to pass as normal, marriage ready, societal place accepting young ladies. Our MC, Frances, wanted nothing of the sort. She just wanted to learn true magic and see justice for her brother's murder... that's at the crux of Frances's story... that and she vehemently desired to nurture the found family she had with the ladies of Haxihaven Academy (sanitarium). There were other characters that had very different motives, and a twist or two that were easily sussed out ahead of their reveals, BUT the heart of the story was about a 17 year old girl who finds out she is magical after some seriously bad situations and wants to learn how to wield that power so she can see her murdered brother again and avenge his death. There was a magical school/sanitarium and a lot of sneaking around which was rather easily accomplished... oh, and there was a very tame love triangle which I normally detest but since it was just a blip in the story, I didn't judge it too harshly on that account. 


I listened to this gem on Audible and I was extremely impressed with the narrator's depth of range. She was very skilled with the cast of varying characters' voices making it easy to keep track of who was talking at any given moment . 


The end was wrapped up rather neatly (for the most part). For many of my friends there is a deep divide between those that crave that sort of conclusion and those that detest it. I find myself straddling the fence depending on how well and how neatly packaged each story is. It was looking a bit saccharine towards the end, that was until the last 2 minutes... there was a lifeline teased out ever so slightly... a hint of possibly more to come. Yes there is some wiggle room concerning a possible sequel but I for one love how open ended it was at the close. 




I enjoyed this read/listen a lot. The slight love triangle was tame enough as to not trigger my angst. I will admit that I liked both suitors although I had a softer spot for Oliver. The best part of this story were the friendships Frances forged. Frances managed to build relationships that could technically be defined as a Sisterhood (plus Oliver). I loved Maxine and Leena and even some of the other young witches. These sister-like relationships were a boon for each other especially considering the underlying, depressing and repressive climate for women of the time.


I highly reccomend this read and I recommend the audiobook even more!


~ Enjoy