Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as ravenous, hungry spirits. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who whisper about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being whose extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, Artemisia discovers that facing this hidden evil might require her to betray everything she believes—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
Review: This book is amazing. From the beginning we are completely drawn in and immersed in a high stakes world. Artemisia is different from most of the Gray sisters who work with the dead; she finds it peaceful and feels as if she doesn’t bother anyone there. It’s interesting where Artemisia sees herself and where others want her, and how despite knowing what she doesn’t want, she knows she has to protect people, and the only way she can consider doing that is to go against what she was taught as a Gray sister. I love the strong female protagonists in this novel, and that most aren’t what you would expect. I love the real tribulations and fears that are shown and worked through because even though you’re in a fantasy world, there is always something that people fear or makes them uncomfortable. There were little dips and nods that reminded me a bit of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (last book in The Shadow and Bone trilogy).
I finished this book two days ago and while I did start this review yesterday, I needed time to put the finishing thoughts in order. This book truly touched me. I love how death was considered a part of life, and how no matter whether you want or don’t want something, sometimes the best course of action, or what makes you the best candidate to do something, is because of what you DON’T want to get out of things; that sometimes what is necessary and what you want won’t align, but it still has to be done. I would highly recommend this book, as well as the other two Rogerson books I’ve read, An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. I feel as if I lost something great by finishing this book, and it will take something truly amazing to be able to pick up from here.
Synopsis: Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.
Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.
Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.
Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.
To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…
Review: I read the original Paper Magician series years and years ago, so this book was basically read as a standalone in the same universe, which as far as I can tell, for all intents and purposes, it is. We do see our favourite two folder magicians for a very brief moment, but otherwise, this story is a world of its own. There isn’t as big of an adventure in this story, and the overarching plot/climax is a bit too obvious from the very beginning. Overall it was an alright book, but I did not personally find it as thrilling as the original trilogy; especially the way it was left as if more could happen with these characters but no mention of a follow up book.
Synopsis: Grace is forced to enroll in the Infernal Trials–seven rounds of brutal competition–with the goal of becoming a demon so she can be with Apollyon forever. Fearful of what demonic existence would mean, Grace searches for a way to avoid it, while Apollyon investigates his origins. The two of them experiment with each other’s kinks, using intimacy to survive the horrors of Hell. But the Infernal Trials are filled with vicious contestants who will do anything to win. (Season 2 of Interior Design for Demons)
Review: In some ways this book was brilliant. I loved the continued relationship with Apollyon and Grace, but I absolutely hated how everything went down with Rath. Grace was very smart in how she got what she needed for their plan but was very conscious of her humanity, which makes sense being in a competition to give it up entirely. While I absolutely love Apollyon and Grace, I do not really enjoy the idea of things that were predestined and had to happen/were going to happen/were known to be in the future. It takes away a bit of the connection and the magic of two people finding each other if they were always going to be together. That being said, this was still a good book, and a great send off for this duology.
Synopsis: For readers of C.N. Crawford, Laura Thalassa, and Jennifer L. Armentrout. Interior design student Grace and twelve other humans are forcibly recruited to participate in a contest, redecorating various rooms in Hell–which haven’t been redone since ancient or medieval times. The winner gets a lucrative contract, a few extra decades of youth, and one soul reclaimed from The Pit. With sexy demons Razenath and Apollyon distracting Grace from her goals, can she avoid being eliminated after each round?
TW: doubtful consent related to kissing, touch; some physical harm/abuse; reference to family murder/suicide; gore, horror, demons, monsters; torture; child neglect; cannibalism
Review: Wow. I was drawn in from the beginning as we travel with plucky Grace into a contest she didn’t want to be a part of. I quite enjoyed Grace’s relationships with other contestants and Razenath and Apollyon, especially how they grew and developed. There was a lot of hellish description that one really has to be ready for before reading this. I personally didn’t feel that any of the hellish tortures were done in such a manner to trigger me, but that line will be different for everyone. I quite loved the depth of different backgrounds and sins the contestants and their families had. There was clearly a lot of influence from other things in the naming and characterization of some characters, but very fitting. The interior design aspect of the book was not skimmed over but detailed and quite enjoyable to read. I am very much looking forward to seeing what more might happen in Rebecca F. Kenney’s Hell.
It’s a fun magic, except in a world filled with vampires and werewolves, it doesn’t exactly make me a powerhouse. Instead, the supernatural community has classified me as an outcast, which means one thing: picking on me is open season all day, every day.
The local fae are the worst of all, and it’s during one of their regular “capture the cat-girl” sessions that I shift into my cat form and meet HIM for the first time.
Noctus is so powerful his magic radiates off him like a sun, and my fae captors can barely look in his general direction. And then my life gets even more terrifying when Noctus decides to take me with him. As a pet.
Why did he pick today to “adopt don’t shop” a cat?
It gets worse when I realize he’s an elf, a ruling race of supernaturals that was supposedly killed off centuries ago.
But he’s not just any elf, no. He’s an elven king, with heaps of secrets to protect. Secrets that I am quickly learning since he includes his new pet in everything from breaking into buildings to inspect classified paperwork to tracking down sketchy supernaturals.
All this means if he gets even a hint that I’m not a real cat, I’m going to find out firsthand how elves treat their prisoners.
So, escaping Noctus is priority #1. How hard can it be? (Answer: very.)
King’s Captive is the first book in the Gate of Myth and Power urban fantasy trilogy, and is part of the Magiford Supernatural City world. It features elves, fae, werewolves, and vampires, and contains an adventure-filled and hilarious take on the Hades and Persephone myth. It’s packed with humor, battles, and a sweet, slow burn romance between an outcast magic user and the deadly king of the elves.
Review: I wasn’t expecting I would love this book as much as I’ve loved all of K. M. Shea’s Magiford books, but this one drew me in like all of her other works, and I was hooked. I absolutely love how Chloe’s desires, fears, and misgivings stay constant throughout the novel. I love the budding tension between a pet cat and those around her. I was worried with Chloe being a free agent that it wouldn’t feel like we were in the same Magiford as the other series, but despite all of her own misgivings and anxiety, she is more than strong enough to keep the reader always wondering what happens next. I absolutely loved seeing the various sides of all of the characters, especially when they did unexpected things. I quite enjoyed seeing into Chloe’s mindset, and the obvious comical bits, and I especially love both when she has to try to communicate things while staying a cat and her “pet” French Fry! As per usual lately, I’m already most of the way through book two, so obviously I highly recommend this series, and K. M. Shea novels/series in general!
That’s because they’ve never visited The Curiosity Curio.
The spirits who linger in my store dance the jitterbug, look after the plants, and gossip about long-dead relatives. Even though no one believes me about my mediumistic gifts, it’s my job to aid these lost souls. I can help them, even if I gave up hoping to find someone who understood me long ago. Call me a vintage-items peddler, but it’s my duty to match ghosts—and the objects to which they are attached—with the people who need them.
That’s where James comes in. James Herringbone, the high-end antique dealer who looks like he just stepped out of an expensive cologne ad, possesses a pocket watch I desperately need. Until I get it back, the spirit of a flapper girl who haunts my shop will let me have no rest. Talking to James isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, he is perfection in glasses and a tweed jacket, even if he looks down on junk-item antiquarians like me.
But when I try to bargain with James for the pocket watch, things get…complicated.
Of course they do.
Because this is Chancellor, where magic lives on every corner.
Review: This was a very sweet book. It was very very short, a very quick read, but incredibly sweet. I loved and truly connected with James and his connection to his grandfather. Ness and James are very cute together and it seems as if they fit together quite well. There wasn’t a lot of rising action or potential reasons for them not to work, which is nice sometimes. The ending was understandable and definitely fitting, however, I’d expected a different ending; perhaps in the future a certain small child will get a certain rocking horse. I do love James and Ness’ connection and their story is very sweet, but this isn’t a very deep read and is very heart on your sleeve. If you’re looking for something light and sweet, this is definitely up your alley! And of course it was great getting to return to the world of Chancellor.
Synopsis: In Victorian England a witch and a detective are on the hunt for a serial killer in an enthralling novel of magic and murder by the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Vine Witch.
After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.
To help piece together Ian’s lost time, he and Edwina embark on a journey that will take them from the river foreshore to an East End music hall, and on to a safe house for witches in need of sanctuary from angry mortals. The clues they find suggest a link between a series of gruesome murders, a missing person’s case, and a dreadful suspicion that threatens to tear apart the bonds of sisterhood. As the investigation deepens, could Ian and Edwina be the next to die?
Review: Oh my goodness. Finding another book/series to fall into after reading one you love can be hard, but this one called to me, and I am so glad I read it! From the beginning you are drawn into the peculiar lives of two sisters, and the depth and characterization of their relationship and sense of self outside of being sisters made this book truly spectacular. Edwina is left between trying to keep things the way they’ve always been, and growing/evolving and learning the truth of some things that she may not have wanted to know. Ian is great; a man with an uncertain past, who despite that relies on his intuition for what is right in many circumstances.
I absolutely love the somewhat steampunk/gaslamp type of world that we are drawn into, and how well developed and organized it is. I love that it’s so different from the type of magic/world that we seemed to be dealing in with The Vine Witch series by the same author. Of course I always love a good mystery. Honestly, this book hit almost all the marks for me in things I love, and I would highly recommend it to others (and am already well under way in the next in the series).
Synopsis: The Booktok hit: The Plated Prisoner Series continues in book 4. This dark adult fantasy romance is inspired by the myth of King Midas and the gold-touched woman who realizes her true worth.
“I was nothing but a road to Midas. A means to get to where he wanted to go, and I paved that path in gold.”
My life has been made up of gilded lies. But death has been shaped from rot.
Like a phoenix caught fire, I will need to rise from the ashes and learn to wield my own power. Because my wings may have been clipped, but I am not in a cage, and I’m finally free to fly from the frozen kingdoms I’ve been kept in.
Yet the world doesn’t want to let me.
That’s the thing when you turn against a king—everyone else turns against you.
Good thing I have a different king in my corner.
But even with the dark threat of Slade Ravinger, the other monarchs are coming for me.
So I will fight for him and he will kill for me, and if we need to become the villains, then so be it.
Because so long as I live in this world, I won’t be used again.
Please note: This is an adult fantasy series with dark elements that may be triggering, including past emotional and physical trauma, violence, adult language, and explicit romance. Read at your own discretion.
Review: Firstly, this book was SLOWWWW. 700 pages. And 10 chapters where we learn about the past, and spend so much time wondering about Auren. It did make the book feel like a bit of a drudge at the beginning with a small pacing issue, especially given how long the novel is. I think Kennedy did an admirable job in representing a repressed person and what trauma responses they can have, as well as how hard it is to work back up to being functional both with a disability/part of you taken away as well as not being oppressed anymore.
I very much enjoyed getting to see more of Slade and understand more of how he came to be in Orea as well as why he can be so dark. It was good to see a few more characters having a bit more time to shine, and I definitely enjoyed learning more of Rissa and Polly. It was also quite neat having Argo so close all, as well as those who he is used to; something I can relate to because often times people are scared or nervous around horses.
The spice in this was very well written, detailed, and why I’m also going to be tagging this under “Romance”. Definitely prefer Slade over Midas, that’s for sure!
Book 5 is due out in June, so I’ll probably be rejoining this world around then!
Synopsis: Supernatural Squad might be small, but we’re growing in power. The vampires and werewolves of London are beginning to respect me more and I feel like I know what I’m doing – even if I don’t yet understand what I truly am.
Unfortunately, there might be a few snags to deal with. I’m trying to avoid Lord Horvath, the black-eyed vampire leader who seems intent on a more intimate relationship. There’s also Devereau Webb, who runs a small criminal syndicate and has offered me a mysterious gift that I’m certain I don’t want. And across the span of one single day, supernatural hell breaks loose across the city of London.
A suicidal vampire has climbed up the London Eye.
Three werewolves have hijacked a tourist bus.
This might prove to be the longest day of my life.
Midnight Smoke is the third book in the thrilling Firebrand urban fantasy series.
Review: Holy Hell, this book had so many amazing parts! Without giving anything away, Webb’s gift is fantastic, and the spark between Lukas and Emma finally lights in a way that it’s unable to be forgotten/ignored. This book set the scenes for connections between Supe Squad and CID as well as how well Emma interacts with the supernaturals. Cannot wait to start book 4!
Synopsis: A werewolf killer. A paranormal murder. How many times can Emma Bellamy cheat death?
I’m one placement away from becoming a fully fledged London detective. It’s bad enough that my last assignment before I qualify is with Supernatural Squad. But that’s nothing compared to what happens next.
Brutally murdered by an unknown assailant, I wake up twelve hours later in the morgue – and I’m very much alive. I don’t know how or why it happened. I don’t know who killed me. All I know is that they might try again.
Werewolves are disappearing right, left and centre.
A mysterious vampire seems intent on following me everywhere I go.
And I have to solve my own vicious killing. Preferably before death comes for me again.
Brimstone Bound is the first book in the thrilling Firebrand urban fantasy series. If you like dark twisty mysteries, smart heroines, and the faintest touch of slow burn romance, then you’ll love Helen Harper’s mystical whodunnit.
Review: I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this book when I started, as it seemed a bit too tame at the very beginning, but I quickly found myself enamoured with Emma and getting closer to the supernaturals within her world. I quite loved all the characters and the twists and turns of finding out who did such unspeakable acts. I will say I hadn’t much of a notion of whodunnit until it was more or less revealed. Seeing Emma step into herself and trust herself was glorious. I love Harper’s writing style; it very much draws you in and makes you want to know more. Very much looking forward to reading book 2!