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. 

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The Ingenious by Darius Hinks- Unique and Well Worth Persevering Until the End

When I first read this book's synopsis I was SO excited I immediately bumped it up to the top of my TBR. I was elated to the point that I tore right in and boy was I.... confused!?! It started off as a slow to percolate, wildly innovative, confusing at first (and second) glance read that was hard to visualize... not a good sign. The characters and world building were both exotic.... maybe too much so?? Both were so unique that I had no idea what was going on for a span in the beginning. NOW, that may have been a ME defect but I definitely think it's something to mention in the review because, on the off chance that you are experiencing the same mental disconnect, I am here to encourage you to trooper on. If you are on the DNF fence then I want to let you know it's going to be okay...better than okay. I really enjoyed how everything came together in the end, it was extremely satisfying. I'm glad I stuck with it because the last 20% was really good. It was total HD- surround sound- mental movie immersion!


The MC, Isten, was an unlikely heroine. She was a character with many vices and little prospect/desire to change. She fought her destiny at every turn and was a hot mess! Her past, present and possible futures were constantly stewing in a messy mixture of substance abuse and self destructive behavior. Every decision she made was clouded and without knowing what she was truly running from/towards, it was hard to fully get behind her BUT by the 70(ish)% mark I was a fan... a comrade, a loyal backer of her wildly effective ways. By the 80% mark I was reading at the edge of my seat... ummm bed... and couldn't put the kindle down until I knew how things wrapped up. In the end Isten was a force to be reckoned with and also in need of some taming. Puthnok seemed like the perfect person for the job. Speaking of the tertiary characters, they were robust, rich and relatable... except you Alzen, you little self-aggrandizing, murderous maggot! Him I was glad to see get his comeuppance.


Overall, the writing was enjoyable. Its quality kept me motivated to push on when I was confused, slightly bored, and seriously considering throwing in the DNF embroidered towel. I'm quite pleased that I saw it through to its satisfying end.


Great addition to the Fantasy genre!

 

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

Book Love- Readers Delight , Comic Style

Book Love - Debbie Tung

Lovers of the Written Word Unite and be prepared to giggle!!


This is an adorable, accurate, witty, poignant, highly enjoyable and most of all relatable comic style read. These comics spoke directly to the ardent bibliophile in me as I am sure it will do for you. I often found myself nodding along in silent agreement/enjoyment and feeling seen/understood/spoken up for. It was humorous and, as a fervent lover of literature, I was thrilled to have the chance to read this book.


The holidays are almost upon us and I believe this to be a cute gift for the bibliophiles in your life.


~Enjoy!


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

Kill the Queen-- well written, royal revenge story with varied (yet believable) magical abilities

Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep

I enjoyed listening to Kill the Queen on Audible and, overall, I liked it. The narrator was decent. The differing chatacter's voices were easily discernable and by the end I couldn't picture Evie with any other voice. NOW, that aside, I am compelled to tell you that this book is undeniably trope-y. Yes, it is trope-tastic but it is also written very well. The royal intrigue and machinations that can easily become overwhelming weren't present so there was no danger of becoming trapped in the quagmire of royal names, relations and lineage. The pace was nice but there weren't many twisty turns and for that I think Mrs. Estep missed the mark.


The MC, Lady Everleigh (aka Evie), was a cold rage hardened badass heroine who would rather save herself than wait around to be rescued. She never gave up and never laid around feeling sorry for herself. She wasn't afraid to put in the hard work necessary to achieve her goals and overall, was a highly likeable character. There was also a motley crew of supporting cast so likeable/detestable that I truly loved them all.... except for a certain queen... yes Vasilia, I'm looking at you... you crazy mamma jamma!!


The climatic clash between the Royal Blaires was not as epic as I had hoped. I think that Evie's magical ability/inability was probably the determining factor for how lengthy the fight could realistically have dragged on and in that respect it wasn't paltry. Speaking of paltry, now on to the romance... yes there was romance and before you groan you should know that it was SUPER tame and demure and borderline nonexistent. If you like your Fantasy on the chaste side then this is for you.


Though knee deep in cliches, the writing was so engaging that I didn't feel the need to throw it off the nearest cliff to be dashed to pieces on the jagged rocks below. What was the world building like you might wonder?? WELL, I'm glad you asked but sorry to report that the world building was on the super lean (boarderline anorexic) side, especially for an Epic Fantasy. BUT because the character development was on point, I didn't mind... a miracle you say?!? Yes, a Holiday Miracle!!...or just exemplary writing... they feel the same sometimes.


I classify this as a fun, fast paced, moderately descriptive, non twisty, romance-lite, High(ish) Fantasy. It sounds weird but with the lack of meticulous attention to World/Magic System/Courtly developments means it isn't a "true" High Fantasy in my eyes. I know that seems a bit harsh but I mean it in the best possible way and the description fits so snugly that I'm leaving it there. I do want to add that cliches and tropes and stereotypes are loved by so many for a reason and that they are used over and over again and, as long as the writing can carry its own, we can't help but love 'em! Me included!


If you don't mind your stories a little on the floofier side (it's a thing... or at least NOW it's a thing) with well written yet predictable trope-y cliches abound, then I think Kill the Queen will be an excellent fit for you!

~Enjoy!

 

 

Narwhal's Otter Friend- a Narwhal and Jelly book-- Cute and informative... yes please!!

This review is in 2 parts. The first part is my 8 year old daughter's opinions on the book BUT for total transparency I thought you should know that she's already a big fan of the series. Finally, the 2nd part will be where I throw in my own two cents.

 

Part 1- Miss A's favorite part was the section with facts regarding the animals found in the book. She wished that there were facts about her favorite character, Narwhal. She really liked the message that even though Narwhal found an exciting new friend, Jelly was still the best part of their upcoming big adventure. She wished that it included the three going on the adventures they dreamed of in more detail. She appreciated how the story added elements of the facts previously given and thought that Rocky should have gone with Otty like in the facts. The superhero fantasy was a huge hit and she wanted me to add that she would definitely like to read a whole book about that on its own. Her least favorite part was when Jelly got jellie (har har har) and stormed off looking for a new friend. Her least favorite character was the evil egg and she cheered when he met his watery end. Overall: she rated it a 4.5 out of 5 Stars. She said that it was lacking the pizazz of the first book and that even though her favorite books are chapter books like the Harry Potter series, she still loves graphic novels like this!

 

Part 2- Okay, I know that I'm not the target demographic here so I rely a good deal on my Little for a more accurate gauge on how the book is fairing BUT on the whole I thought it was very cute. I was a little disappointed with Crab. He appeared to be clinically depressed and it seemed like a friendship with him would be completely unattainable. Depressed and/or cantankerous people need friendships and loving too! Even more so when they are young and malleable. Anyway, diatribe aside, I was pleasantly impressed by the book and enjoyed watching my daughter's delight even more. I especially relished the smatterings of giggles the book coaxed from her which is pure music to any parent's ears. Also, it was longer than what I was expecting which turned out to be a very welcomed surprise. Nothing ruins enjoyment of a book quite like an abrupt ending, it's jarring and frustrating especially for young readers. Would I have bought this in a store? Definitely! My avid reader adored it and I approve of anything that increases her enjoyment of the written word. Overall: I give it 4.5 Stars for its ability to not only elicit giggles while engaging a wide range of readers but feed their brains with wonder and knowledge too.


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

Amber & Dusk-- solid start to the series featuring overtly flowery prose

Amber & Dusk - Lyra Selene

~~~~ just shy of 4 stars ~~~~

 

 

This book...oh this book... this was a mixed bag of emotions for me. If you have ever read any of my more verbally flamboyant reviews you'd know of my devout love affair with lyrically verbose literary musings. This type of author usually has me waxing poetic (or trying to). Amber & Dusk was undeniably picturesque! It was eloquent in ways I am not and the writing was equal parts delicious... and...well... loquacious. The Character and World developments were both beautifully crafted. The scene depictions were resplendent but I often found myself outside of/apart from/not one with the characters or any of their plights. Instead of being immersed in the "what the heck is happening and what's going to happen next?", I was more in the arena of "who cares who's doing what to whom? Look how sparkly and pretty this sentence is!" Scenes were lost in the grandeur of the description proving the sentiment that sometimes more is just...well...more. At times the tone flip flopped between robust imagery and mottled mess and when that happened I found myself unceremoniously booted right out of the flow...not cool! Even I believe there's no sane reason to use 2 overtly saccharine sentences to describe a rock BUT somewhere along the way, around the two thirds mark, I found myself absorbed. I finally started rooting for/against characters and worried over their wellbeing. Progress!!!


I guess I love the bad boys though because Sunder was the first character to resonate with me and I loved him from his very first appearance. Now Mirage, on the other hand, I was on the fence about her. She longed for a place to belong, to fit in, and the first time she was offered a life of acceptance, Family and Love she refused it without even a spare thought. This rang false with me. She had no idea what her fate/future held instore for her yet she flatly rejected an offer of total wish fulfillment??


NO way!! That's B.S.!!! I call Shenanigans!!!


::: Deep Yogi breath :::in::: :::out:::

 

and I'm back


Anyway, imho, the most interesting part of the book was the spectrum of Legacies and the backstories telling how and why they manifested in the ways they did. It was exciting to suss out, especially with respect to the Empress. All information about her abilities/vulnerabilities (or lack there of) was withheld from both characters and reader alike.


Now back to Sunder... it has been a few minutes, at least here in my head, and I believe you should know a bit more about him and the burgeoning romance (or two) in the story. Don't worry, they were present but SUPER tame. The main one was EXTREMELY slow to brew and seemed like a tiny drip blip on the action-meter. This, of course, was frustrating... BUT... at the end there was a tiny flicker of hope in my heart, that I am currently stoking feverishly, wishing redemption, acceptance and most importantly HEAT in future books...fingers crossed! Sunder, you are a tortured soul but you have yummy, hidden, secret, noble ideals and intentions that I can't get enough of...I'll Love You if Sylvie/Rina/Mirage won't (and even if she will)!!


The showdown at the end brought the anticipation to a crescendo even though it was wildly unsatisfying and ended in more of a limping whimper than a resounding bang.


SO, did I fall hopelessly in love with Amber & Dusk? No BUT by the end I did fall in strong like with it and I will definitely look out for the next book in the series.

 

~Enjoy!

 

Devil's Thief -- not as good as book#1

The Devil's Thief - Lisa Maxwell

I would like to start off by thanking Goodreads and Lisa Maxwell for giving me this amazing opportunity to receive Devil's Thief in exchange for my honest opinion. It has taken me quite a bit longer than expected to get through this one and chime in with my 2 cents BUT life happens and it often impedes my ability to escape through the pages. Anyway, without further ado, here is my most humble opinion on the matter at hand.


My first impression, upon opening the parcel, was of the books' size... it is MASSIVE...this made me a bit giddy because I love love LOVED The Last Magician!! Next impression was about 25% into the book and already I found myself dragging...mentally sloshing through which made me profoundly sad. Undeterred and looking to resurrect my initial interest, I decided to spice things up a bit by purchasing the Audio book. Wellllll......I have to admit that the audiobook helped but not to the extent I had hoped. The alternating POVs were annoying. HEY, sometimes dueling POVs work and sometimes they go down in a blazing comet of confusion. This book, to my deepest chagrin, was the latter.


There were some good aspects though like the writing and world building, both were done well. The historical aspect seemed to be researched extensively and depicted authentically. Another bonus was that there were twisty turns, a story element that I not only look for but venerate.

On the otherhand, my search for a connection with any of the characters proved futile. There was a serious disconnect. This happens to be a major pet peeve of mine (after poor grammar) because it is one of those things that niggles and chafes. If I don't connect with the characters then I don't connect with the story as a whole and that is an unforgivable transgression in my opinion. I won this book through a GoodReads contest and I would have LOVED to rant and gush and rave about Devil's Thief but sadly I cannot.


Over all, this was a decent book. The writing and world building were well crafted and nicely detailed BUT I am saddened to report that it did not come close to the awesomeness of the first book. I might venture on to book# 3 with hopes of some sort literary revitalization but with my TBR pile teetering it seems unlikely.

Not Even Bones- Dark and Addicting

Not Even Bones (Untitled, #1) - Rebecca Schaeffer

Well, I finished this one a week ago and decided to hold off writing a review in order to let my feelings percolate a bit. What brewed was a dark, delicious blend of creepy, oft times graphic, ill fated yet somehow still hopeful perseverance against terrible odds. The characters were awesome/heinous which made them all the more appealing. The main character, Nita, was seriously messed up BUT could you blame her?? Her parental experiences were stilted, toxic and all around atrocious. Sure, she liked to dissect unnaturals though she herself was one, she did have some morals though like donors needing to be well and truly dead before gracing her table...and yes...she relied heavily on her dismemberment rituals to achieve a calm, peaceful headspace...BUT... she also questioned herself at every turn and it was this introspection that gave us a very interesting window into her psyche and holy heck was it chilling.

 

Peppered amongst the lush world building were poignant social commentaries like: White Male & American Privilege and the power that said privilege affords, various types of addiction and the literal and figurative market of horrors that accompanies such a beast of burden, as well as Eugenics and the controversies over its ethics. It was fascinating.

I loved the variety of characters this world had to offer although Nita's brief friendship with the other female captive was disappointing and mainly there to move the plot along. Oh well, opportunity for "sisterly"/captive solidarity bond lost. Another main character that won me over was Kovit, the reluctant jailor/torturer/all around menace. I thought without a doubt that the relationship between he and Nita would have felt more disjointed and forced but by the end I was SO on board with their budding Amore(???). It's a hard relationship to define but I absolutely loved how alike they were even though they were raised in completely different climates...it was uncanny and intriguing!

 

I must admit, I'm not usually one for kidnapped/trapped/drugged/tortured plots but this dark beauty had me, hook line and sinker. The pace was perfect. The nausea inducing topic of human trafficking/dismembering for a profit was intense and highly disturbing. There were loads of times that I had no idea where the plot was going and I didn't think I wanted to find out BUT the story was addicting and left me bleary eyed in the wee hours having gotten absolutely no sleep.

 

Constant heart palpitations?...CHECK

 

Transported to places previously unimaginable?...CHECK

 

Twists and turns?...CHECK

 

Worrying over the fate of fictional characters like they are your dearest friends?...CHECK

 

An unputdownable read?...DOUBLE CHECK

 

With all that being said, what more could you possibly expect for a few hours of your time?!?? You will definitely get your money's worth with this read!

~Enjoy

Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet- A fun, sexy space romp with great characters to boot

Nightchaser - Amanda Bouchet

I was SUPER excited to start this book because I really enjoyed Amanda Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles. Nightchaser was not what I had originally expected, though I really should have known better. It was a sexy, fun, exciting, high octane space romp with kick ass females and strong character development. The characters were fleshed out beautifully. They were tangible, relateable, likeable and detestable (when need be... helllooooo daddy issues). The world building was great and there was even some blushworthy Sexy Time... a la Amanda Bouchet's norm. Her ability to write characters and situations that you can't help but love is praiseworthy. She has even mastered the art of making the secondary and tertiary characters as loveable/loatheable as the MCs, an enviable talent. If you're a fan of Mrs. Bouchet then this is a must have (unless you're not into scifi... then you probably aren't even reading this review :-). If you're new to her work and are a fan of female characters that inspire you to take on the world(s) in fun and sexy ways then you should definitely give this a go.

 

I will be sitting here anxiously awaiting the rest of the series.

 

~Enjoy

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

Rhapsodic- a quick run down

Rhapsodic - Laura Thalassa


He dips his mouth close to my ear. “Cherub, people like us are not victims. We’re someone’s nightmare.”
I’m not a victim.
I’m not a victim.
How had I forgotten this? Because, somewhere along the way, I had forgotten. And it nearly broke me.
My eyes move to Des. “Teach me again how to be someone’s nightmare.”


This Urban Fantasy is a charming, delectable guilty pleasure. It centers around a love story coupled with an Otherworldly mystery. Why is it creepy you ask? WELL, they meet when Callie is 16 years old, spent over 300 evenings together getting to know each other. These evenings included showing her the ins and outs of his nefarious trade, whisking her all over the world to experience Life, holding her when she cried herself to sleep and being her avenging dark angel whenever she was wronged. That is until one day he disappears from her life and she is left with a boatload of Feels for a man that seemingly does not return her scentements. Fast forward 7 years. Desmond (the Bargainer) returns to our Siren and demands reparation. Add in some angsty dialogue, a pretty cool "other world" dilemma, a load of plot twists and now they can't keep their hormones in check?? To me it's a touch creepy but that's probably just a Puritan throwback/ hangup on my part.

 

Anyhow, this character driven UF was twisty and turny and all sorts of fun and I can't wait to read book #2

 

Dance of Thieves- slow beginning but SO worth it in the end!!

Dance of Thieves - Mary E. Pearson

I've got to be completely honest, the first time I started this book I didn't like it. I thought it was boring and a bit trite BUT I wanted to give it a fair shot so after a short hiatus I plunged right back in. The second time around it felt like I picked up a completely different book. I'm not sure if it was just the headspace I was in or if the story just needed a little more time to come together BUT whatever the reason, the change was dramatic. So, if you are stalled in the beginning and are questioning its worthiness then I am here to advise you to dig in and keep going because it is SO worth it!!

 

I absolutely LOVED this book!! Is there a yummy romance? Yes! Is it an insta-love? Heck no and thank the literary gods for that because it was a hate --> love slow burn, just the way it should be. Did it manhandle and overtake the entire plot you might ask? I'm happy to report that it was just the right amount of Amore. Though there were no sexy-time scenes the rapport was sweet yet palpable.


Did I mention the writing? WELL the writing turned out to be far from trite. It was compelling and sonorous though not so cutesy as to be nauseatingly saccharine. I also loved the riddles, especially the last one, they were well worded and helped move the plot in a fun way. I have to admit that I have not read the Remnant Chronicles (yet) but after having been gifted and then devouring this book I will definitely be checking out the previous series which happens to be set in the same world AND what a world it is!! There are assassins and cowboys and dirty captains/magistrates/cousins/kings(?!?) et al. There is Love and betrayal and devious machinations abound AND did you say you like your characters armed and dangerous? If you're in the market for some kickass female characters then this book is for you! The world building is lush and the characters are expertly crafted. I loved SO many of them I won't give a list BUT I will give honorable mention to our two MCs, our dueling POV voices, swoon worthy Jase and our uncommon thief Kazi...they were both beatific/ relatable/damaged/imperfectly human and their trials (as well as their budding affection for one another) felt torturous...in a good way.


Overall, this was such a happy surprise that I am both kicking myself for not reading it sooner and glowing because I got to savor it longer. I dreaded reaching the end and MAN what an ending it was! Warning: there is a cliffhanger so if you are not into stewing in a batch of What-if(s) for a while then maybe you should wait until the next book is out before starting this one...BUT definitely start this at some point, you won't be disappointed!! Personally I'm going to sit in a corner and stew until August 2019 when book #2, Vow of Thieves, comes out.

~Enjoy


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

Umami...

The Muse of Nightmares - Laini Taylor


Warning: Fangirl rant about to commence in 3...2...1...

 

 

Laini Taylor is undeniably one of my top 3 favorite authors so please excuse my inelegant, rhapsodic fanaticism. I want to climb a mountain, a skyscraper, or maybe just a really tall tree, and scream out into the ether just how magically delicious this book, series, and author are!!! There needs to be a new rating system just for the likes of Laini Taylor because it is honestly unfair to constrain (and rate) her beautiful mind to just 5 stars. Her words are elegant and transformative. I wish I had the words to express just how transcendental, evocative and savory they are. Umami for your literary taste buds???...I told you I didn't have the right words but if I did, they would illustrate and epitomise how celestial her writing is and by me bombarding you with accurate yet insufficient adjectives, only showcases my inability to communicate just how resplendent this author's mind truly is.

 

 

You'll want to devour this read. Climb through the depths of its pages, transform into one of its characters and become one with their world(s). The gamut of Feels she will coax, tease, command from you will amaze you. It will demand and exact a mental tithe from you. Truth be told I liked Strange the Dreamer well enough but this second installment far surpasses it. If I find some more zealously impassioned adjectives to try and label her with I will edit this review but I doubt that will happen. Just go and read it damnit!!

 

~Enjoy

Don't dangle your participle- a great idea with cool illustrations but maybe a bit too advanced for its target demographic

Don't Dangle Your Participle - Vanita Oelschlager

This is a cute, grammatically intense, instructional children's book that teaches (very clearly) what a participle is, how it should be used and what changes in the meaning of the sentence when it is misplaced. The illustrations are the star of this show. They pair seamlessly with the text, showing how incorrect usage can lead to unintended, though highly comical, results.

 

The beginning is a bit clinical/technical, possibly making it difficult for a young one to absorb, so much so that I believe it would present a challenge even for my precocious 8 year old. My daughter would most likely be on the younger end of the targetted demographic but what she might lack in understanding I hope she will make up with appreciation for the silliness. Cute pictures aside, the lesson could very well go over her head and that would be a shame but who knows...let's see.

 

**************************************

After sitting down and finally reading this through with my self-proclaimed "Book Warrior", my initial prediction was pretty spot on. She found the beginning to be too long BUT after we got through the principal idea on the first pages, she started to become more invested. SO onward to the good bits we went. The silly illustrations convey succinctly what improper placement of the participle actually means. By the end my kiddo did grasp the concept, though just how well? We'll have to see. I must admit that she was happy to finally reach the last page because "the pictures were great but there were TOO many examples and I was kind of bored by the end".

 

Overall it was a really cool idea, in my opinion. It was a well thought out informative grammar lesson that I myself enjoyed but my young reader, who the pictures and silliness suggest it is intended for, was (to put it nicely) not overly impressed. It helped me identify what I possibly do wrong at times but my daughter...she'd rather go back to reading chapter books with some action. I asked her what her overall feeling for the book was and I was rewarded with a big sigh and an even bigger "MEH".


It was a tough decision as to how to rate this book since the verdict was split. I really enjoyed it and my daughter, well...did not BUT her appreciation, ability to grasp the concept and the amount of fun she had while reading it were all taken into consideration with regards to the rating.


Those are my two cents, I hope they help.


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

Nothing Happens in This Book by Judy Ann Sadler

Nothing Happens In This Book is a fun predictive picturebook that has readers hunt for clues, trying to guess what will happen next. Each page has the main character finding missing objects, all necessary props for the final surprise, which invites the reader to become fully immersed in the mysterious progression of the plot. This is a cute book for the young (preschool age) reader who will likely enjoy seeing this story through to the surprise ending... BUT is it a brilliant, insta-favorite? Doubtful. Therein lies the problem. It has the feel of being quickly thrown together with very little substance, definitely not something my Little would ask for or read repeatedly.

 

 

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

Sugar and Snails by Sarah Tsaing

I read this with my little one and she liked it even more than I expected her to and a lot more than I did. I will rate this based on her experience because I am undoubtedly not the target demographic.

 

There is a lot going on on the pages of this book but the pictures are definitely the highlight. The graphics are vivid, whimsical, sweet and fun. The text, on the other hand, is rhythmic and cute. It questions persistent gender specific labels and offers up some really unique alternatives. My daughter's favorite alternative was, "Maybe it was boys are made of balloons and mutts? And fresh chicken butts"...oh, how Littles love all talk of hineys.

 

Overall, I would reccomend this to those in the 2-5 year old range. The message is a good one. The graphics are silly and engaging and my daughter really enjoyed the package as a whole BUT I wish it had a stronger ending. The end just stops, no true feeling of things being wrapped up nicely...oh well, opportunity missed though I still I would reccomend this one. It's sweet and the message is worth sharing.

 

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

Oddling Prince

The Oddling Prince - Nancy Springer

Are you in the market for an Arthurian type tale that pulls you along in a riptide of ye old prose...fae folktales with little to no gritty substance..High fantasy without true danger in quest or trial... fae princes with daddy issues caught in the midst of an insta-bromance that might be boarderline, "I want to wear your skin and be you", unhealthy?? (I now realize that this is catering to a VERY specific niche market) Then this book is for you!

 

Fair warning: That bromance was weird!! I asked myself repeatedly "where is this going" and "how did this happen so fast"?!? It was definitely uncomfortable until the love interest was introduced and then I sighed with relief that things didn't end up THERE. Marissa was a cute character to throw into the mix but her relationship with Aric was lacking... oh well, opportunity missed.

 

The book was going pretty well until all heck broke loose on their "quest" to find Albaric a true home and Aric a wife. After the skirmish it seemed to drone on and on. What I had considered endearing before quickly became tiresome. I know that that is probably not a popular view (and maybe a touch fickle) BUT I gave it a fair chance. I even purchased this on Audible, after the written format began to chafe, with the hope of changing the tone up enough to bring back some appeal BUT alas, it was not meant to be. If you like all the parameters mentioned above then this could very well be your thang.. it wasn't mine.

Fawkes- where magic and treason mix nicely

Fawkes - Nadine Brandes

This is a rather nicely written reimagining of Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Treason and plot. Within you will find: a magical system based on colors, "perversions" of said magic, a doomed rebellion, a stone plague, sword fights, disguises, betrayal and greed all with a smattering of ye old honour and a boat load of British spelling with "U"s added in for good measure. Other such period appropriate British niceties include: Tower of London activities like tar and nails to the face (a popular twist on the family friendly punishment of Tar and Feathering), threats of hangings, drawn and quartering and all around 17th century crimes against humanity fun.


I'll attempt to give a spoiler free review, therefore some particulars will have to be skirted. I will concede that it is a smidgen preachy on the monotheistic front, one Color to rule them all type thing...BUT...with that being said I'd like to follow up with a ringing endorsement as to how exciting and addicting this novel is... slight preachiness and all.

It features a first person narrative by Guy Fawkes' quasi-historically accurate son named Thomas. Thomas is 16 years old but more than that he is noble, brave, gallant and determined to get to the core of all matters so that he can understand and do what's Right. He (begrudgingly) sets off on a life altering journey to find his father, the infamous Guy Fawkes, seeking to force his father to give him a family crafted Color commanding mask which he believes will help cure his dormant Stone Plague, save the persecuted Keepers and allow himself to become the Man he believes himself capable of being.


:::GASP:::
(end of run on rant)


The other characters are interesting though not very diverse. I happened to enjoy the supporting cast save two. There was Emma. I LOVED her and all of her nuances! I especially loved all that she represented, stood for, and even how beautifully she supported Thomas - aiding him in his transformation to become the best possible version of himself. She was bold, implacable, talented, unshakable in her Faith and other enviable traits. Now Dee on the other hand... that's all I will say on that matter... spoilers and such.


Fair warning for those Cupid haters out there, there is a romantic relationship within BUT it is SO tame it does not overshadow or muddle the action. It is cute and mellow and most of all sweet.


Overall the writing was delicious, how else could I have devoured it so quickly? (har har har) The character development was palpable, rich and robust. Mrs. Brandes makes it all seem simple/seamless. I am not an avid reader of Historical Fiction BUT I luxuriated in this one, a compliment for sure! If you like period pieces, gritty London of old, plots and schemings and betrayal (oh my) AND most of all... the glittery tiara on top... a UNIQUE (almost historically accurate) magical journey without a cliffhanger ending, then I suggest you pick this one up and give it a go!

~Enjoy!