Review of Trial By Magic by K. M. Shea

Trial of Magic (The Fairy Tale Enchantress Book 4) by [K. M. Shea]

Synopsis:
Lord Enchanter Evariste has been missing for years. Everyone has given up all hope of finding him—except for Angelique.

Because he dared to befriend her when all other mages scorned her due to her dangerous magic, Angelique is determined to find him—no matter the cost. But as years have passed and she has failed to locate Evariste, she’s forced to realize that he was more than a friend.

Battle weary and sick of politics, Angelique is close to breaking…until she hears a rumor that Evariste was taken north.

To confirm the information, she’ll have to break into a den of black mages, hide her identity, and master her magic—which she fears above all else.

But when she finally finds Evariste, she learns she is woefully unprepared for the enemies that hold him captive.

Trial of Magic is an epic fantasy fairy tale that follows a reluctant heroine who wants nothing to do with romance, magical battles, and curse breaking, but finds herself mucking with all three. Like its companion series, Timeless Fairy Tales, this series has clean romance.

Review:
Worth the wait! Was definitely bummed when I read the first three books in quick succession with plans to read the entire series because I couldn’t get enough of Angelique and Evariste and came to find out only three books were done! I was so excited to see Angelique grow as a person, and learn more about fairy tale enchanters and how the aging process works. It was also awesome to have so many badass heroines that weren’t simply having children as soon as they were married.

There were still so many questions and so much left to lose (and gain) at the end of this book! I found myself reading slower and less towards the end because of course I don’t want it to end and have to wait for more, but this was a very substantial book, considered epic fantasy for a reason. I cannot wait to see more of Angelique and Evariste and what happens in the continent, though I’m also hoping to learn far more about Pegasus as well!

**Potential Spoiler!**
Given Evariste’s reaction my prediction is that he might be more human/powerful than Angelique knows, though I am fairly certain he can actually talk.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Blood be Damned by Kel Carpenter

Blood be Damned: Magic Wars (Demons of New Chicago Book 3) by [Kel Carpenter]

Synopsis:
When the Underworld burned, I thought that was the end. Turns out it was only the beginning.

Lucifer’s death was a shot heard around the world. The sudden loss of magic turned the tides for the first time in over two decades.

The humans are rallying. Rioting.
It feels like the stirrings of war.

As if that wasn’t enough, Bree isn’t the sister I remember—and her desire to return to Hell is creating more fires than I know how to put out.

Things are changing. Lines are drawn. Everyone must choose a side.

Even me.

Sometimes the world needs a hero. In a city that’s already gone to hell in a hand basket, it might just need a demon.

Review:
This book was awesome. Piper had to really become introspective to think about what caused the strife and heartache she had in life and how to move on. There were interesting twists and turns, and seeing her further develop both herself and her relationship with Ronan was nice. It’s always good when a heroine has flaws, ones that they recognize and try to work through. Did not see the ending, but very much looking forward to continuing the story when Forged by Fury comes out February 11th.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Synopsis:
Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire. Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky. Book 1 of a three book series.

Review:
This book is spellbinding. From the moment I started I found it hard to set down. The chapters are all the perfect length. It flows well. There are lots of little word games and word connections for readers to find, which is quite fun. I loved all the aspects of this novel, and there were no parts I glanced over or was annoyed at having to read to get to the juicy parts.

I absolutely loved the characterization; everyone had such solid personalities and attitudes, especially for the teenagers. There wasn’t as much forward knowledge of the thoughts and feelings of the adults, but that was understandable. The knowledge and love of different hobbies and activities shown by the main characters in their daily lives was refreshing, even if they might not like their overall jobs.

I loved this book, and am only sad I didn’t realize it was a three book series based on the blurb on the back when I purchased it at the store. I will, of course, continue on to finish this series- hopefully sooner than later! I do believe this was written for a younger audience, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome!

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fairy Godfather by Melanie Karsak

The Fairy Godfather: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 3) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
What happens when a fairy godfather falls in love?

With my excellent track record as a fairy godfather, the elders sent me to Chancellor on a mission to help Alice, the quirky owner of the local bagel shop, find her Prince Charming. No one has managed to find a match for Alice. Where they failed, I will succeed.

The only trouble? My head isn’t in the game because I’m too busy falling in love with my best friend’s sister
.
I’ll need to get my feelings in check before I blow it for Alice. The upcoming Cherry Blossom Ball should give me the perfect venue to make a little magic happen. Can I pull it off before the clock strikes midnight on both our dreams?

Join Rayne in The Fairy Godfather, book 3 of The Chancellor Fairy Tales, a modern day retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.

Review:
This book was such a sweet one. Of the three in the Chancellor fairy tales series it had the most connection with a commonly known fairytale, Cinderella. That being said I loved the fairy angel, and I loved Rayne. All the characters were believable and enjoyable to watch as they worked and grew. It was great seeing Alice go from stock-best friend to fully fleshed out character during the series. It was also neat how while there might be a fairy godfather, Dorothea is also very similar to a fairy godmother, trying to keep the Hunter line well taken care of. All in all, loved this book, but of the three, I still think The Cupcake Witch may be my favourite.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Cupcake Witch by Melanie Karsak

The Cupcake Witch: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 2) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
They say the course of true love never runs smooth. That’s nothing a magical cupcake can’t solve.

Buttercream. Vanilla. Fondant. Dark chocolate. Strawberry crème. Brown sugar. Lemon curd. Molasses. Baking has always been my true love. But it wasn’t until I unexpectedly inherited Serendipity Gardens that my bliss called me. Bittersweet.

Everything’s going to work out perfectly as long as the local land baron and his annoying but undeniably handsome son don’t bulldoze my dream first.

I’m going to need a little magic to win this battle, but in Chancellor, a pinch of enchantment is always in plenty.

Review:
This book was brilliant. While there was no real “fairy tale” attached, I think that’s why I loved it so very much; it was a magic all of Karsak’s own. Like the first book in the Chancellor Fairy Tale series, this one also deals with loss. It’s interesting how sometimes it takes losing things for you to find something worth holding on to.

I think that many people end up feeling like Julie and Horatio at some points; it can be hard to find your path when someone older that you respect has tried to lead you one particular way. I loved how this book tied in so many characters from the last, and now we have a bit more understanding why everything might be happening how it is in this town. So glad for how everything worked out, and I absolutely loved it.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Glass Mermaid by Melanie Karsak

Synopsis:
I’m the last mermaid.

On the shore of Lake Erie, I spend my final days hunting beach glass, making jewelry, and waiting for my mermaid glamour to leave me. Then it will be over. I resigned myself to the fact that there’s nothing more for me. Until I saw Cooper.

He comes to the beach every day to paint the sunrise and sunset. Nothing in this vast world has sparked my attention as much as him. I have no business falling in love with a human. Not now. And Cooper seems to have secrets of his own. I should leave him alone, but the curious mermaid in me can’t let that shiny bauble go.

More than anything, I want to be part of his world…before it’s too late.

Review:
This was surprisingly deep for such a short read. This book went through grief, and how people deal with it, how scary and tragic situations can be, and how sometimes you have to be willing to give up everything to help those you love. One of my favourite parts of this novel is how the fairy tale element is clearly there, with one of our protagonists being a mermaid and all, but it isn’t just a retelling. Also the back and forth between Kate and Cooper’s point of view was perfectly executed. All in all, loved it, and think it shows a deep understanding for people going through hard times.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Golden Braids and Dragon Blades by Melanie Karsak

Golden Braids and Dragon Blades: Steampunk Rapunzel (Steampunk Fairy Tales Book 4) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
Being the heir to Camelot is a tangled mess.

Rapunzel has spent her entire life living in Merlin’s cave on the coast of Cornwall. Under the protection of her faerie guardian, Gothel, she’s stayed safe. Safe and bored. Dreaming of a life that looks more like a Jane Austen novel, Rapunzel fears she’ll never have the chance to explore Victorian England’s modern delights. Or meet a man. Or be kissed. Or anything else remotely resembling normal.

When Red Cape Society Agent Ewan Goodwin’s monster-stalking device leads him to Rapunzel—and her unusual pets—the pair’s destinies entwine. Together, they must solve a mystery tied to the very roots of King Arthur’s Britannia.

Review:
I absolutely adored this novel! I had everything I could have asked or hoped for- faeries, dragons, magic, romance, steampunk, fairy tales, and frequent mention of Pride and Prejudice- my personal favourite classic! The protagonists are spunky but intelligent, and it was easy to fall into this novel, like all of Karsak’s books. I loved getting to know our male protagonist better, and seeing Rapunzel grow into a capable young woman.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Beauty and the Beast: Steampunk Beauty and the Beast by Melanie Karsak

Beauty and Beastly: Steampunk Beauty and the Beast (Steampunk Fairy Tales Book 3) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery.

When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkerers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn’t hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf.

But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.

Isabelle survives the storm only to be shipwrecked on a seemingly deserted island. The magical place, dotted with standing stones, faerie mounds, and a crumbling castle, hints of an ancient past. Isabelle may be an unwilling guest, but her arrival marks a new beginning for the beastly residents of this forgotten land.

See how New York Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak puts a steampunk spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale set in gaslamp London.

Review:
Of all the steampunk style stories I have read this is one of my absolute favourites. It has everything amazing and right going for it: we have a spunky, intelligent heroine, we have the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, we have faeries, and we have incredibly well designed tech that doesn’t quite make sense, for good reason. I loved so much about this, the redemption of the characters and how they grew with time, even those that we really didn’t like or expect to see again. Everyone and everything had a purpose, and the story was quite endearing. I often ended up into the late hours of the night wanting to read more, but too tired to do so. If you like steampunk, you like fairy tales, and you love Beauty and the Beast– this will become a clear favourite.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Ice and Embers: Steampunk Snow Queen by Melanie Karsak

Ice and Embers: Steampunk Snow Queen (Steampunk Fairy Tales Book 2) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
It takes more than passion and pixie dust to thaw a frozen heart.

With the 1814 London Frost Fair in full swing, actress Elyse McKenna’s performance in A Midwinter Night’s Dream thrills the crowd. But Elyse’s backstage has life is beginning to take on a distinctly Shakespearean flavor.

When she fell in love with Lord John Waldegrave, Elyse was prepared to keep their affair secret. But she wasn’t ready for her new love to rock her relationship with her dearest friend, Doctor Kai Murray. 

Everything Elyse thought she knew about her feelings for her old friend is flipped upside down when an enchanting ship captain turns her attention to Kai.

If Elyse hopes to escape the Thames with her heart intact, she must discover the truth about the captain, Kai, John, and her own feelings—before it’s too late.

Ice and Embers is a retelling of the classic Snow Queen fairy tale set in New York Times best-selling author Melanie Karsak’s steampunk universe. Journey to gaslamp London during the 19th century to see how Melanie puts a steampunk spin in this reimagined fairytale.

Review:
I put off reading this, in major part because Snow Queen isn’t one of the fairy tales I’m overly familiar with, but I was pleasantly surprised by how very well done this was. I quite enjoyed the behind the scenes looks at being in the theatre and being a doctor/doctor’s assistant, but it greatly annoyed me with how many times pirouetting across the stage was mentioned, since pirouettes do not travel but rotate in place. Other than the dancing descriptions being off, I thought the story was overall lovely.

I loved how Elyse was so innocent and naive, despite being in a position where she’d see these roles and situations on a regular basis. I truly loved how A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and Shakespeare in general) was entwined with the book. If you love steampunk, Shakespeare, fairytales, dance and romance, I’d recommend this book for sure.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Witch for Hire by Molly Fitz

Witch for Hire (Paranormal Temp Agency Book 1) by [Molly Fitz]

Synopsis:
My name is Tawny Bigford. I’m 35, single, and I love hot showers. Seriously, all I wanted was a hot shower to start my day off right, but when I went to confront my landlady about the broken plumbing, I wound up talking to her corpse instead.

Now everyone thinks I’m to blame for her murder—not the best way to make an impression on the new neighbors, let me tell you. But how can I prove I’m innocent when I know practically nothing about the woman I supposedly killed?

Especially not the fact that she was the official Beech Grove Town Witch. Her former boss—a snarky black cat named Mr. Fluffikins—says I have to fill her vacated role until the real killer can be caught and brought to justice.

So, whether I like it or not, I’ve just been recruited to the Paranormal Temp Agency. Now I need to solve my landlady’s murder, figure out how to wield my newly granted powers, and maybe even find a way to fit in around here.

Yup. All in a day’s work for this novice witch.

Review:
This was a light, quick read and very well written. Easy to fall into, chapters were nice, concise and gripping. There wasn’t a lot of time wasted with flowery words or unimportant details. Everything flowed well and quickly, and the chapters really flew by. It seemed to take next to no time to read this book, even though it is 214 pages (though maybe that’s because I’ve been reading so many 400+ epic novels lately). There was constantly a reason for wanting to turn the page, and no time time.

Naturally I quite adored that Molly Fitz chose an author as the protagonist! How fun is that! That made it even more enjoyable for me. What made this book even more relatable is that Tawny admits to being a flawed individual with a broken relationship in the past, who is single, and 35. I suspect there are many like myself that wonder why there are no adventures or fun stories once you get to around the 30+ age and are female, except those of being a mother. It was so much fun to have a protagonist who is a bit eccentric but still living life.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯