Review of The Ink Master’s Silence by C. J. Archer

Synopsis (from Amazon):

It should be a happy time for India and Matt, but forces beyond their control conspire to ruin their future. A distraction from their troubles comes in the form of murder.

When the editor of The Weekly Gazette is killed, controversial journalist and ink magician Oscar Barratt asks India and Matt to investigate. As the recipient of threatening letters written on magic paper, he believes he was the intended target. With suspects ranging from Oscar’s brother to guild masters and London’s elite, India and Matt have a lot of investigating to do.

But the more they dig, the more dark secrets they uncover. Secrets that involve blackmail and an exclusive club of magic collectors who want to preserve the value of their collections. When one of the secrets can give India and Matt the future they desire, will they give in to blackmail or sacrifice their happiness?

Review:
Oh, India. Finally, the chance of love with Matt, but family drama keeps them apart. I had expected that Matt’s uncle threatened something very different, and I am somewhat sad that Matt was so easily assuaged. This particular book felt like more family issues and like a set up for something more.

The way that relationships were portrayed in this novel, as they would have been then, was sad yet likely accurate for the time, but what was more sad was the stigma that having magic placed on people, and how some would be so prejudiced against it.

I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book!

Star Rating: 

Review of The Wisdom of Madness by C. J. Archer

Synopsis (from Amazon):
With Alice determined to discover the truth about her past, and Seth determined to help her, the couple find themselves sucked into a world where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted. On the run to escape a mad queen’s wrath, and with an entire realm looking for them, tensions fray and friendships are tested.

Even worse for Seth, shocking secrets he’d rather leave buried are brought to the surface.

Joined on their adventure by an irritable Gus and a mysterious Eva, the four friends must learn the truth of Alice’s past so she can forge her future.

But a future with whom? And where?

Review:
I was wrong about what would happen with Alice! How frustrating! I would like another book (or series) to wrap up everyone’s lives… okay, I just never want to leave this series and want it to go on forever.

Charlie and Lincoln are not truly present in this book, and are more like the side characters that most of the our others have been throughout the series, however, I didn’t find that detracted from the story at all. I ended up liking Eva more than I did before.  Alice really grew as a person, instead of being a shy wallflower, she did what she believed right to keep everyone safe. Eva was very similar, instead of sitting back and keeping quiet, had to learn to use her voice and all of her hard learned knowledge to help those she cares about.

All in all, this book series is my current favourite in its genre, with my only other most favourite series being Harry Potter.

Star Rating: 

Review of Thread and Spool by Holly Hook

Synopsis (from Amazon):
When you can spin yarn into gold, getting whisked to a fairytale world by an evil king is just Tuesday.

Brie’s mysterious ability means trusting others is a bad idea. So she lets her guard down around no one: not her boyfriend and not her adoptive parents. She’s had enough of their gambling and gaming problems.

But when an evil king comes knocking and chases Brie into a realm of magic called Fable, it changes everything. With only one elf, Stilt, by her side, Brie learns she’s meant to take part in a famous fairytale–one that will end in her death or worse, a lifetime married to that evil, greedy king. Just more of the usual, right?

Stilt says he can help her escape, but in return, he might ask for something she can’t give. Who is her elf companion, really?
Trust or die. What’s more terrifying?

Review:
An interesting premise, that fairy tales are true, and that the characters within them want out. Brie is a likable character, empathetic, reasonable. Everything in one girl’s life is thrown on its head, and she’s stuck between what seems reasonable and what is SUPPOSED to happen, something that all of us likely have felt at some point– what we want to do verses what is expected of us.

This book gave a backstory to characters that rarely see one, explaining how not everything “evil” is as it seems, but that conditions can force a disposition on someone who is usually not that way at all.

Star Rating: 

 

Review of Loved by the Dragon by Vivienne Savage

Loved by the Dragon: A Dragon Shifter Paranormal Romance
Dawn of the Dragons Book 1
By Vivienne Savage

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Number of Pages: 335
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon) 
Two complete stories/No cliffhanger/120,000 words/Adult content/PROFANITY
Author’s Note: Be prepared for kinky sex and bad language. Originally published as Saved by the Dragon, Mated by the Dragon, and Taming the Dragon.

Chloe’s weekend getaway doesn’t go according to plan when she’s trapped in a cave with a gorgeous, golden-eyed rescuer named Saul. His fiery secret and a hot, one-night stand will set in motion events able to change her life forever — but all dragons aren’t ready to accept mortalkind. As shadowy forces in the draconic world object to their new union, Chloe must find the strength to fight for a future with the man she holds dear.

When Marceline Vargas agrees to join her friend Chloe for an island vacation in Mexico, she’s ready for fun in the sun and an escape from her hectic career. After crossing paths with the resort’s owner, she soon discovers the billionaire dragon shifter is a charismatic enigma — sexist but kind-hearted, intimidating yet generous. Can his chauvinistic patterns be tamed? Marcy intends to find out.

Review:
Chloe and Saul’s story is so sweet and nice. You can’t help but hope that Chloe will come around. While I understand that part of the big climax was to introduce other characters for the following books, I thought it was a bit annoying/unrealistic. The language used in this book is very different from Savage’s usual language when writing romance, and I don’t particularly care for the word choice.

Marceline and her billionaire shifter friend I didn’t find as endearing because it seemed a bit too contrived and forced. Could he not have pushed forward during the time they were apart to try to explain, or is it just because time is so different for dragons?

I did like these stories, but I prefer Savage’s fairy tale romances personally.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Sign up at http://www.viviennesavage.com/newsletter to receive an exclusive, free novel.

Vivienne Savage is the pen name of two best friends who write everything together. One works as a nurse in a rural healthcare home in Texas, and the other is a U.S. Navy veteran. Both are mothers to two darling boys and two amazing girls. When they aren’t raising children, writing fantasy, or concocting ways for shapeshifters and humans to find their match, they play online RPG games to pass the time.

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 A Goose Girl by K. M. Shea

A Goose Girl: A Retelling of The Goose Girl
Entwined Tales: Book 1
By K. M. Shea

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 117
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
As a royal lady’s maid, Rynn has one task: Escort the princess of Astoria to her intended’s kingdom and return home. Unfortunately for the former goose girl, the princess has other plans.

When her charge flees, Rynn’s not only forced to take the princess’s place, but she must also contend with a spiteful fairy horse, a good dose of political intrigue, and Conrad…the mysterious and all-too observant lord who consumes more of her thoughts than he should.

But with war looming on the horizon, Rynn stands to lose more than her heart. Can she convince the princess to return, end the charade, and make peace between the kingdoms?

More importantly, can she possibly avoid a death sentence when the truth is revealed?

A Goose Girl is a romantic fairy tale novella. It can be read on its own but is more fun when read as a part of the Entwined Tales, a series of interconnected fairy tales by six different authors. Each story follows the adventures of one of seven children from the same family as they seek out their own happily ever afters in spite of their reluctant fairy-godfather.

Review:
Wow. This book was fabulous. The characters had such depth and there was such a unique plot line in place. I thought I might have had an idea what was going to happen since I knew the original story, but I was nowhere near close. While the Princess is infuriating, Rynn is a very relatable character. Acting aside, one cannot help but absolutely love the royal family, and how Rynn infiltrates what could be a dastardly war.

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.

Review of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury
A Court of Thorns and Roses book 2
By Sarah J. Maas

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Historical
Number of Pages: 640

Date Started: December 28, 2017
Date Finished: December 30, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Review:
Things change. I think that’s the most important lesson in life and love that anyone can get. When things change in one person’s life, the other in a relationship must be willing to adapt and change as well. Sometimes things don’t work out, but relationships always have to be a give and take– as Feyre learns.

The depth of characters is expanded upon as we are introduced into more people, and learn that there is usually more to a person than an acquaintance would know and understand, and that rumours and gossip are not always true. But Feyre, Feyre is growing and changing and while she wants stability, she also wants to DO something, to have a purpose– for as a wise man once told me, life isn’t worth living if it’s stagnant.

The selflessness of some characters, in being so connected and invested, yet allowing others to do what would make them happy, was an excellent contrast to how some may not necessarily truly love a person but the idea of a person–what they represent, what they wanted/expected them to be, but not necessarily who they are.

Needless to say, this book was tremendous, and I’m well into the third at the time of writing this review. Read this series– it’s by far my favourite new series I’ve read in 2017.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses book 1
By Sarah J. Maas

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Historical
Number of Pages: 432

Date Started: December 27, 2017
Date Finished: December 28, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

Review:
My copy of this book was a gift to me from a dear friend, Maria Picone. She’s awesome, and if you have the chance, feel free to check out her website here.

It took me a bit to get into this story, but once I was finished with the first chapter, I found it impossible to put down. During the first chapter, I worried. I worried that Feyre was going to be a Katniss. There’s something for everyone in this novel, and from the beginning I understood that this particular novel is, while not marketed as, a retelling of my favourite fairy tale of all time (which if you haven’t figured it out by now, shame on you!) but moreso, this novel in no way needed to rely on the original story it likely originated from, completely able to stand on its own. If Maria hadn’t recommended this to me after reading it, I’d really have to reconsider how well she knows me.

In so many stories there is an insta-romance, but with Feyre and Tamlin, it happened so slowly and gradually that it took me by surprise when Feyre realized her feelings had changed. I found myself thinking back on their interactions, on why they might have developed feelings for each other, and was pleasantly pleased with what had transpired. While Feyre and Tamlin are the main protagonists, I did enjoy the various other characters as well, and their relationships with Feyre. While Feyre is important, I liked that not everyone treated her nicely/with respect.

This book is listed as Young Adult but I’d say it’s more New Adult.

Such a depth and difference from any other fairy tale retelling I’ve read, having the faerie politic background, festivities, and interests not usually integral to most fairy tales, that it was impossible to not love this novel.

I regret waiting so long to read this amazing book, but when someone gives you a book, it has power. It has the power to either bring you closer together, or wonder if you know each other as well as you thought. This one was the perfect mark, and I can’t wait to devour the rest in the series. Thank you, Maria!

Oh, and as for the riddle… my original guess was wrong.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

Review of Colorless by Rita Stradling

Colorless
By Rita Stradling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Historical
Number of Pages: 452

Date Started: December 26, 2017
Date Finished: December 27, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

Their only target: Annabelle.

Review:
How do you put this book down? From the beginning there is so much that the reader doesn’t know, and to be honest, at the end, I still had plenty of questions that will now and likely forever more remain unanswered.

The most intriguing twist in this series is that of the “iconoclast”. Upon looking up the meaning of the word, it makes literal sense when used in the novel, yet there’s a level of mysticism never fully explained or realized, adding another depth to this story. The iconoclasts are woven so expertly with the religion that while learning about their beliefs, there’s no doubt that there is something more than what the average layperson understands.

I loved this story, and the ending, oh the ending, what I wouldn’t have given for another paragraph or two!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

Review of Vow of Deception by C. J. Archer

Vow of Deception
Ministry of Curiosities Book 9
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy
Number of Pages: 308

Date Started: December 7, 2017
Date Finished: December 8, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
With the wedding only days away, the Ministry is thrown into turmoil when another murder is committed by a shape-shifter. But this time the newspapers make the connection to werewolves – and the Ministry. Suddenly the attention is focused on Lichfield Towers and its residents as the police investigate and parliament wants to shut the organization down. It could spell the end of everything Charlie has come to love. As the authorities close in and ministry secrets are exposed, past allies can no longer be trusted. Can Charlie save her home, her loved ones, and herself? Or will she lose Lincoln and her friends forever?

Review:
Oh. My. Goodness! So many enemies, so much intrigue, and far too perfect a conclusion that we’ve been waiting for so long to see. Alliances were tested, some broken, some strengthened. The near ending nastiness was not something I expected, but for karma–it was well deserved.

While I have been looking forward to this last installment, and getting to know if Lincoln and Charlie will ever get a happily ever after, I have to say I’m quite excited for a tenth book! I have many predictions of what might happen in Wonderland, but I am not sure if they’ll come true.

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 Last Wish by Helen Harper

Last Wish
Highland Magic Book 4
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 314

Date Started: November 28, 2017
Date Finished: November 30, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
It’s not easy pretending to be dead – especially when it feels as if you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Between an unfulfilled prophecy, the demon-occupied Lowlands, the continuing power of murderous Aifric Moncrieffe – not to mention her constant yearnings for Byron – Integrity Adair has a lot to worry about. Still, how hard can it really be to save Scotland, maintain her morals, get the guy and keep her sense of humour?

Review:
There were many twists and turns I didn’t necessarily expect, and it was overall a great ending to the series. There were several things I had picked up on that Integrity hadn’t, but that didn’t detract from the story at all. I thought that the way to save Scotland was almost too easy– something I’d pieced together from the previous book, though it made sense. In the end I still had many questions, such as, if the Fissure was only created about 300 years ago, how did the Fomori live before that? While this might remain puzzling, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this novel or series as a whole.

The villain turned out to be far more heinous than expected, which was somewhat sad because it turned him into more of a stock character than he needed to be. It would have been nicer for him to have some redeeming qualities.

I wish that Sorley and the trolls had a larger role in this novel and that we heard more about them. The connections between other clans were powerful, and the ending was a perfect send off for the series, mostly thanks to Bob.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time, thanking her lucky stars every day that’s she lucky enough to do so!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

She currently lives in Devon in the UK with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.