Review of The Magician’s Diary by C. J. Archer

The Magician’s Diary
Glass and Steele Book 4
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy
Number of Pages: 338

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
India and Matt thought all their problems would come to an end once they found Chronos. But the watch magician brings with him as many questions as answers, and a load of trouble. To fix Matt’s magic watch, they must find an old diary that once belonged to a doctor magician murdered decades ago. The hunt drags them into a sordid mystery involving two of London’s craft guilds. With old and new enemies determined to stop them, and long-held secrets unearthed, Matt and India must work together better than ever.

But as the reason for India’s strangely strong magic is revealed, she wants to draw other magicians into the open, while Matt wants to hide magic to keep her safe.

Her plan backfires. His plan shatters. And danger comes to their door.

Review:
Finally, the search is over, and Chronos is discovered, throwing everyone for a lop. While Matt and India end up working continually in close proximity, it becomes harder and harder for them to deny there may be something between them. Seeing Matt and India go through so much together, with interviews, and dealing with friends and family, it is almost silly how uncertain she seems of his intentions. Nevertheless, there is surely going to be more turmoil to face in the future. His family is becoming more easily to hate with every book, and it is my hope that their stupidity doesn’t cause his eternal unhappiness.

C. J. Archer is such a great, wonderful person on top of being a great author.  She has a fan group on Facebook, CJ Archer’s Ministry of Fans, where people who like her books can talk about them, and Ms. Archer interacts with her fans frequently (which makes her even more endearing).  If you are like me and adore her books, join the group and chat with like minded individuals.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
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Review of A Witch’s Rite by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Rite
Book 5 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 278
Season Read: Fall
Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Michelle is getting used to her new life, one with clans, parents, a loving grandmother, and a boyfriend. But her old responsibilities are still around. The police still need her help, and balancing all her obligations is becoming more difficult, but police cases won’t wait for anyone, and when the police call, she has to answer.It starts out like any other case. Suspicious magic has been reported, and the police need Michelle to help them check it out. When it turns out that the magic is deep in the Cohutta Wilderness Area, Michelle asks Elron to accompany her. It isn’t long before she’s learning just how much she doesn’t know about the woods.When that small problem turns into a really big problem, spells are flying, danger is everywhere, and only one question remains. Will they escape alive?

Review:
This story, slightly longer than the last, was absolutely brilliant. There were many points where the reader would be left uncertain of what may happen, which is always the best type of book to read. As Michelle and Elron continue to grow their relationship they are forced to realize that while together they are strong, they each have their own advantages and need to work together when obstacles arise. There wasn’t an overabundance of unnecessary descriptions, and everything flowed quite well.

Of course, at the end, all you can want is… more!

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

Review of Twisted: Flipped Fairy Tales

Twisted: Flipped Fairy Tales
By Various Authors

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retellings

Synopsis: A compilation of fairy tales that end differently than we’re used to.

Review:
Turns out this book is no longer available on Amazon. I debated whether or not that means I should leave as detailed a review, but decided that I should at least give every story in the compilation some sort of mention, as originally intended.

Little Red- May Sage
This was a rather hard story to get into. The landscape was constantly changing between the fairy tale type world we know and modern day. There were carriages, yet cell phones. While there was definitely sex appeal, the story bared little resemblance to the original it was based upon. The “red” tie in was nice, and I didn’t necessarily mind the ending. Overall I’d say this ranked 3/5.

Rumpelstiltskin- Vivenne Savage
I love this book. I’ve been finding more and more that while my love for Beauty and the Beast has always shone bright, my love for Rumpelstiltskin (well, retellings, anyway) is a close second. This story has everything: retribution, love, sacrifice, and learning to be a better person. I definitely recommend seeking this story out, as I think it’s work buying and reading on its own.  5/5, easily.

It seems this one is going to be out for individual purchase December first, under a different title. You can get to it by the link here.

Stepbrother- Erin Bedford
This one confused me. It took me quite a while into the story to figure out which fairy tale this was supposed to represent. The connection is minuscule at best between this story and a fairy tale. While the world was decent, and the connection between the main characters was spot on, I think it would be better marketed as its own story, instead of claiming fairy tale retelling status. I did like the ending, but overall the world and what was going on in it seemed quite different than anything fairytale-esque. If you’re looking for vampires, here’s one you might like. 3/5.

Of Bones and Ashes- Nicole Zoltack
A story from a villain’s point of view. This story… was quite different from anything I’ve ever read about the fairy tale it takes place in. I wasn’t sure I would like it, because at the beginning it seems so certain that the narrator is actually the one in the wrong, though we quickly learn how untrue that may be. A back story unlike any other, if you like things a bit dark and peculiar, this is definitely one for you. 4/5.

Hunger in the Woods- Carma Haley Shoemaker
This was a brilliant take on the fairy tale it borrows from. A very different story than the original, and brought into the modern world seamlessly. Part horror story mixed with learning not to treat people who are differently poorly (they may be your only salvation), this was a story I really wasn’t sure how it would end. Definitely recommend. 4/5

Rumpelstiltskin- May Sage
This story was quite different from that which we are used to.  While I quite enjoyed it, it was so very different from the original that it may have done better to be slapped with a different character altogether, so that it could stand on its own merit. I did enjoy the ending, and the banter between the main characters was entertaining. 3.5/5

Review of The Beggar Princess by Lidiya Foxglove

The Beggar Princess
Fairy Tale Heat Book 4
By Lidiya Foxglove

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Number of Pages: 154

Started: August 28, 2017
Finished: August 29, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
“You will marry the very next man who walks in that door.”

As the only princess of a prosperous kingdom, I have wanted for nothing—and refused all suitors. What real man is worthy of my interest, when I secretly pen tales of handsome lords and beautiful brooding counts? But now my father has gathered up every eligible royal bachelor in all the realm. And it’s just as I suspected, not one to capture my fancy—especially King Brennus of the Wood Elves, who looks like a bandit and has the accent of a man born in a barn. I’d rather be on my own forever. I refuse them all. The last thing I expected was for my mild-mannered father to insist, in a fit of anger, that I marry the next man who walks in the door, even if he’s a peasant…and what do you know?

“No, lass. I won’t let you starve. But you won’t exactly be free either. And just remember, any time you like, you can stop me. All you have to do is work or beg.”

My new husband looks like a laborer and lives in a little cabin in the forest, but something tells me he’s not what he seems. He says he means to teach me humility in the form of honest work, making stew and scrubbing floors. But somehow or other, he knows all my secrets, all the deepest desires of my heart, and there is no one in the forest to hear me beg him for mercy…except the wolvenfolk who howl in the forest at night. They haven’t made any trouble in fifty years, but when the wolves are at the door, I don’t know if a peasant can save me…

The Beggar Princess is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s King Thrushbeard, a standalone fairy tale romance for those who like unabashedly adorable happily ever afters with a side of serious steaminess!

Review:
This book is great. You see a princess who has desires outside the norm, but that doesn’t stop her from being too spoiled and pampered. While I quite loved seeing her new husband attempt to teach her humility, I thought that while he might be playing into what he knew her deep desires were, she was far too… eager, and quick to admit love and need to serve him. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, she does try to become more humble, attempting to do what he had asked.

While she does actually do all the work he had hoped she might gain some perspective from and then some in the end, I couldn’t help but hope that something else might have happened. I did like the story overall, but I would have really enjoyed seeing our heroine in her new role at the end.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Lidiya Foxglove likes her fairy tales to be very naughty indeed. She grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore and fantasy and loves the swoon-worthy romance and happily ever afters, but thinks the best fairy tales also have the thrill of forbidden desires. If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Come hang out with her on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/Lidiya-Foxglove-1702249670069437/
Contact: lidiyafoxglove@lidiyafoxglove.com

Review of Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After
Something Strange and Deadly Book 3
By Susan Dennard

Star Rating:  
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk
Number of Pages: 400
Summer 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
It has been a tumultuous time for Eleanor Fitt since life as she knew it in Philadelphia came abruptly to an end. Although the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and Daniel—have helped her survive, Eleanor has lost just about everything.

And now, Jie is missing—taken by the evil necromancer Marcus. Eleanor is determined not only to get her back but to finally end this nightmare. To do so, she must navigate the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt amid the rising Dead, her unresolved feelings for Daniel, and her volatile relationships with Joseph and Oliver, her demon. And it won’t be easy. Because Allison, her friend from Philadelphia, has tagged along, becoming strangely entangled in Eleanor’s mission.

It will take all of Eleanor’s powers of black magic, and all of Daniel’s and Joseph’s trust, to succeed. But there will be a price.

Review:
How do you continue forward when you feel like you have nothing, and no one trusts you? Eleanor has no choice but to try doing just that. Relying on instincts is never a horrible idea, as she learns perhaps too late. In order to defeat Marcus, there are many twists and turns and the cost of success is astronomical.

This book was amazing, and I quite enjoyed the ending, even though I had somewhat suspected something similar might occur. Eleanor went on quite the journey, and she grew comfortable with herself, which is all any of us can hope for in life, really.

 

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. With a masters degree in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to Asia one of these days!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series (from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Witchlands Series (Tor, 2015). When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.

Review of Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound
Hex Hall 3
By Rachel Hawkins

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult/Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 337
Summer 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Review:
This book I both looked forward to and dreaded. I very much hate the end of a series, don’t you?

While Sophie did grow quite a bit throughout the series, in the end I was disappointed by what happened to some of her allies (one in particular) even though I had thought what would happen was rather obvious from the beginning.

I am quite pleased with the ending of the series, though I am sure that I, like many others, would love to see what happens to Sophie beyond the scope of the series.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Rachel Hawkins (www.rachel-hawkins.com) was a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She lives with her family in Alabama. To the best of her knowledge, Rachel is not a witch, though some of her former students may disagree….

Review of Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Demonglass
Hex Hall 2
By Rachel Hawkins

Star Rating:  
Genre: Young Adult/Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 365
Summer 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Review:
There’s nothing left for Sophie to do but take away her power. But, her father warns, it will change who you are. As she spends time getting to know her dad and understanding where she fits into the world, she has to take into consideration what is best for everyone. Loyalties are tested, and ultimately she has to decide who she believes she can trust.

Great book, just as gripping and fast paced as the first.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Rachel Hawkins (www.rachel-hawkins.com) was a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She lives with her family in Alabama. To the best of her knowledge, Rachel is not a witch, though some of her former students may disagree….