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:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

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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 Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
Hex Hall 1
By Rachel Hawkins

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

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

Review:
I’d been looking at this book for quite some time when I finally picked up a copy and I have to say I was so very glad I did.

There is so much that Sophie doesn’t know about the supernatural world. Knowing essentially nothing about both herself and her father, she is thrust into a land with people who have always known what they were. As she tries to navigate the depth of which she’d fallen into, she realizes that there might be more going on than she was warned about.

The characters are quirky and irresistible, and while Sophie’s left to figure out everything in the magical world she’s been completely kept from, you get to go on an amazing journey alongside her.

Loved this story! If you love supernatural and don’t mind some romance, this is definitely the book for you!

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 Beauty and the Beast: An Adult Fairytale Romance by Vivienne Savage

Beauty and the Beast: An Adult Fairytale Romance
Once Upon a Spell book 1
By Vivienne Savage

Star Rating:  
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Fantasy
Number of Pages: 270
Summer 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Princess Anastasia Rose dreams of attending school, but her plans are put on hold when war begins between her father and the beastly lord of a nearby castle in the mountains.

Prince Alistair isn’t an ordinary dragon. He’s a shifter afflicted by a curse, unable to become human again until he finds his true love. When a mortal king’s adventurers trespass in Alistair’s territory to steal a rare flower, the prince decides to steal a valuable prize of his own.

Undertake a magical journey in Vivienne Savage’s new romantic fantasy series loosely based on the lore of multiple fairy tales. Meet strong heroines supported by a cast of sexy heroes, intriguing friends, and devious villains.

Author’s Note: This is a magical retelling of the beloved tale written for an adult audience. Reader discretion is advised.

Review:
Finally, a princess who has desires beyond living in a castle, finding love and becoming a queen. Savage does an amazing job of personifying Anastasia, giving her reasons for loving books so much beyond enjoying stories. There is so much more to this novel than the Beauty and the Beast story we all know and love.

I greatly enjoy how all of the characters have an important role and how they come together in the end, revealing truths only hinted at. Alistair is such a relatable, wonderful character– great for those who are hot headed and perhaps needing to learn to control their temper.

While this book specifically states it’s listed as an adult novel, there are really only two “steamy” scenes, and while decent, no where near as heavy as might be suggested.

Splendid book. I absolutely loved it!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Vivienne Savage is a resident of a small town in rural Texas. While she isn’t writing fantasy or concocting ways for shapeshifters and humans to find their match, she raises two children and works as a nurse in a rural retirement home.

All works by Vivienne range from urban fantasy and sweet adult romance to spicy shifter fiction with an erotic kick. Visit her site to determine which series is best for you!

Official Site: viviennesavage.com
Facebook: facebook.com/savage.books
Twitter: twitter.com/msvsavage
Instagram: instagram.com/msvsavage
Email: vivi@viviennesavage.com

Review of Beauty and the Beast by K. M. Shea

Beauty and the Beast
Timeless Fairy Tales 1
By K. M. Shea

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 272

Date Started: July 6, 2017
Date Finished: July 6, 2017 

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Once upon a time Elle made a mistake. A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is unwillingly forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner —the cursed Prince Severin. Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. He has given up all hope of shattering the curse, and has only disdain for Elle. Unfortunately, the pair can’t seem to avoid each other thanks to the meddling of the chateau’s cursed servants. Eventually Elle’s playful manners and Severin’s hidden gentleness draw the pair together. But not all love stories can end that easily. After all, Elle is not what she seems, and Severin’s life is placed in danger when hostilities flare between his brother and the monarchs of a neighboring country. When Elle risks everything to save Severin, will he be able to forgive her for her lies?

Review:
I love that our Beast looks completely different than any other version of the story I have heard of or read. He’s unique, not entirely threatening, but definitely something that most people wouldn’t be willing to look past without the added bonus of his wealth.

The entwined bits of the original Beauty and the Beast story with Elle’s life made the story more enjoyable. I thought that her family and their life beyond the scope of the story was expertly described without actually being witnessed.

How the curse effected the servants was ingenious and intriguing. I enjoyed the one time encounter with a villager regarding the servants’ condition. Unfortunately, there were several mentions during the third part of the book that made it seem as if the curse wasn’t in effect, with smiles and the way someone’s mouth would turn mentioned.

I don’t enjoy what happens directly after the spell is broken. Severin is supposed to be intelligent, and he’s lived with this curse for years, repeating the stipulations of it to Elle, and yet doesn’t believe what it means.

To be completely honest– I don’t know what I really think of this novel. There were bits that seemed randomly thrown in, as if there needed to be one scene to describe/show something to tie everything together, though they seemed disjointed and not necessarily needed, but the overall story eventually got to where most would expect it to lead.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
K. M. Shea is a fantasy-romance author who never quite grew out of adventure books or fairy tales, and still searches closets in hopes of stumbling into Narnia. She is addicted to sweet romances, witty characters, and happy endings.

She is also extremely committed to her readers—who have set up their base camp at kmshea.com—and lives in the idyllic Midwest with her furry pet, Perfect Dog.