Review of From the Ashes by C. J. Archer

From the Ashes
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 6
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 308

Date Started: August 23, 2016
Date Finished: August 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
from the ashesWhen Charlie returns to Lichfield, she steps into chaos. The killer is still on the loose, Lady Harcourt’s secret is out, Seth and Gus are gone, and Lady Vickers has come to stay. But nothing compares to the chaos inflicted on Charlie’s heart by seeing Lincoln every day.

Despite their frequent clashes, Lincoln and Charlie manage to work together to narrow their list of suspects. No one can be trusted, especially not the members of the committee who are not what they seem. Long buried pasts are dug up as Charlie and Lincoln attempt to restore peace to Lichfield.

But when danger enters her home, Charlie’s world is shattered.

Review:
I have come to realize I will never get enough of Charlie.  I absolutely adore this series, and this is one of my absolute favourite novels in the series thus far.  Every character is so well developed with such depth that the reader cannot help but empathize, even with the ones who might be villains (most of the time).

The reader gets a better glimpse at Lady Harcourt’s true nature, as well as a more intense understanding of the others that make up The Ministry of Curiosities.  Although Lichfield is growing more full, it still has an intimate feel, and the characters realize more about how they work together, and how they feel about each other.

When I started the novel I was a bit worried at the angle it seemed to take, which was different from where Charlie and Lincoln’s supernatural stories tend to go, but the tying in of characters and situations when Charlie was away was expertly done.  Despite my irritation with Lincoln’s actions and thoughts in the past novel, I do truly feel he redeemed himself.  Charlie and Lincoln remain my favourite literary couple, and I cannot wait to see them continue to investigate more cases of the supernatural.

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:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

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Review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
By J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 320

Date Started: August 19, 2016
Date Finished: August 19, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne,Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Review:
Definitely not what I expected. I’m unsure what I expected, but this was not it. This wasn’t exactly a story so much as it was a short story. For people complaining that it isn’t a “real book” and that it’s only a play, if you read it, you’ll understand why it’s only a play. A lot of things are glanced over, mentioned once or twice and then eluded to without actually showing it (Harry’s relationship with his son James and daughter Lily, constantly compared to how he doesn’t seem to get on well with Albus).

What I did like, quite a lot, was that Albus did have the same spirit as Harry and made friends with someone who seemed as awkward at making friends as him, and stayed loyal to him. I enjoyed getting to see Albus and Scorpiousgo on adventures and get into mischief.

I didn’t like the flashbacks to Harry’s past, things we were supposed to assume had happened between him and his aunt. This detracted in some ways from what we were seen in the 7 Harry Potter books, though some of these flashbacks were an odd sort of foreshadowing.

The play does well to showcase that every action and statement has a consequence, and that it is important to think both before speaking and acting so that you do not do something in haste that you’ll regret.

Overall, I quite liked the story, but I think it would have made a lot more sense if it focused more around Albus and less around the golden trio of Ron, Harry, and Hermione. It was disconcerting to have the trio constantly showing up at Hogwarts which is, for all intents and purposes, much like a boarding school. During the 7 original books, I believe that Lucius Malfoy only showed up to the school a handful of times, and all of those were when there had been a dire emergency/issue going on (think of book two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).

Author Information:

jk
For information on J. K. Rowling, please view her author page.

For more information on Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, click their respective names.

Review of The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut’s Windlass
The Cinder Spires Book 1
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 640

Date Started: August 2, 2016
Date Finished: August 19, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)aeronauts
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity. Within their halls, the ruling aristocratic houses develop scientific marvels, foster trade alliances, and maintain fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. Loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is damaged in combat, Grimm joins a team of Albion agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring his ship.

And as Grimm undertakes this task, he learns that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

Review:
This book was truly amazing.  This new series is what Jim Butcher was born to write.  While the synopsis might lead one to believe that Captain Grimm is the main character, there are a multitude of different people that make up the main force of protagonists, all very different.  Every character introduced has a great level of depth and backstory.  I really enjoy that this book series has multiple main characters that grow as the story progresses.  Given the amount of main characters, a reader is bound to resonate with one, while the majority are all likable (except, of course, the antagonist).

This is truly a coming of age story from the perspective of several different characters, though Grimm and his crew do play a large part in the overall plot.  While some characters are learning how to live in the adult world, others are learning how to deal with problems from their pasts, and all work in conjunction together, despite their apparent honorable or dishonorable ranking.

I will say that this book, while labeled “steampunk”, really doesn’t have any steampunk elements in it, unless you count the air ships (which the main one mentioned, it can be noted, does not run off steam).  That being said, I think this is a brilliant piece of fantasy in a wonderful imaginative new world, and I cannot wait to see what happens to everyone as they reach the end.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

Review of Evermore by C. J. Archer

Evermore
Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Book 3
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 216

Synopsis: (From Amazon)Evermore_Huge
When ghosts begin to disappear from the Otherworld, Emily Chambers and her friends must hunt down those responsible before every last spirit, including Jacob Beaufort, is destroyed and Emily’s livelihood along with them. But there is one thing stopping them – Jacob’s killer.

Weakened and fading fast, the ghost of Jacob Beaufort is determined to save Emily from a bleak and uncertain future. With her family facing financial ruin and the Otherworld in chaos, he knows her only hope is to wed Theo.

As lives and afterlives hang in the balance, Emily is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, or lose everything she loves.

Review:
This series, overall, was a bit of a disappointment.  I had gotten used to Archer’s style in The Ministry of Curiosities series, and I quite adore that line of books.  This one, I felt that lacked a special spark, and the foreshadowing was too obvious.  Most of what is supposed to be a shocking secret revealed are things I had gathered by the first or second book, and was waiting for Emily to figure it out or for it to be made known.  What I did like, was Theo.  His attitude and actions seem like the very thing a girl in Emily’s position would see and experience with a suitor.

I would give the series as a whole four stars out of five.  I enjoyed them as a quick pulp fiction read.  While the premise was quite original and well done, I appreciate the growth and strength in writing that Archer shows in her later works, namely The Ministry of Curiosities.

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:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Possession by C. J. Archer

Possession
Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Book 2
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 180

Synopsis: (From Amazon)possession-1
When the ghost of a notorious killer possesses the body of an upper class youth, London’s pre-eminent medium, Emily Chambers, must exorcise it before the spirit goes on a rampage. As if this isn’t distraction enough, she must fight her feelings for brooding ghost, Jacob Beaufort, who doesn’t like the new man in her life – the handsome and very much alive, Theodore Hyde.

With reputations and lives at stake, Emily discovers that navigating the poorest suburbs of London in search of the evil spirit is almost as dangerous as finding her way in a Society that thinks “freaks” like her belong in the circus.

Review:
I would have liked more interaction with Beaufort shadowing Hyde, learning more about him, his plots and plans.  I liked the look that this novel gave us of a bit more higher society.   Not everything is tied up in this series, though several things are clearly being foreshadowed for the end reveal, some of which had started to show in the first book.

Unfortunately, this book is far shorter than the first, and I went through it quite quickly.  All in all, it was a good story, but a very light read.  I would have much preferred that the books kept around the same length, instead of being almost 100 pages lighter from the first to the second. 

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:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer