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 A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin
A Court of Thorns and Roses book 3
By Sarah J. Maas

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Historical
Number of Pages: 720

Date Started: December 30, 2017
Date Finished: January 4, 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Review:
I thought that showing what happens to one’s psyche during war was well done. There were changes that Feyre didn’t expect, feelings and sights that one cannot simply forget about.

Unfortunately, this book had slow pacing, and while that may be true with getting ready for a war, it made it quite hard to read because it didn’t flow nearly as well together as the first two in the series–it was a completely different type of story/vibe, and it threw me.

Definitely still saying this book isn’t really Young Adult, but New Adult given the copious amounts of intimacy.

There were a few times that I teared up during this one. The ending was decent, and I do want to read the continued stories in the series. I do hope, however, that the characters do not continue to dull simply because they are now at peace. A lot of fire and passion was lost in this book, and while it might be due to worries and time constraints from the war, I hope to see that fire return in any future showings.

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 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 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:
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 Star Witch by Helen Harper

Star Witch
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic Book 2
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 334

Date Started: November 18, 2017
Date Finished: November 19, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Ivy Wilde, the laziest witch in the West, is still entangled with the Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment. That’s not a bad thing, however, because it gives her plenty of excuses to spend more time with sapphire eyed Raphael Winter, her supposed nemesis. And when he comes knocking because he needs her to spy on the latest series of Enchantment, she jumps at the chance. Hanging around a film set can’t be hard … or dangerous … right?

Review:
The relationships in this novel were spot on! Not just Ivy and Rafe, but the interactions between all the characters were realistic and believable. Seeing Ivy thrown into an uncomfortable situation and need to adapt while Rafe stays nearby, their reactions to each other gave as much entertainment as the reality show bits they were supposed to be enthralled with.

I didn’t see this coming, her going on the television show that had been hinted about in the first book, but once more was learned about the television show, how it was essentially survivor meets people needing to use magic, it sounds like something I would also want to watch. Because of this reality television section, the mysteries were multiplied, and I am not ashamed to admit that I hadn’t figured out who it was before the reveal.

Like any book series, I do have a favourite character. While I empathize with Ivy, wanting to get results without work (who wouldn’t want to do that?!) I LOVE Brutus.

I loved this second book, and I couldn’t wait to read the next in the series! It’s a great series, and one I highly recommend!

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.

Review of Slouch Witch by Helen Harper

Slouch Witch
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic Book 1
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 342

Date Started: November 14, 2017
Date Finished: November 18, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Hard Work Will Pay Off Later. Laziness Pays Off Now. 

Let’s get one thing straight – Ivy Wilde is not a heroine. In fact, she’s probably the last witch in the world who you’d call if you needed a magical helping hand. If it were down to Ivy, she’d spend all day every day on her sofa where she could watch TV, munch junk food and talk to her feline familiar to her heart’s content.

However, when a bureaucratic disaster ends up with Ivy as the victim of a case of mistaken identity, she’s yanked very unwillingly into Arcane Branch, the investigative department of the Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment. Her problems are quadrupled when a valuable object is stolen right from under the Order’s noses.

It doesn’t exactly help that she’s been magically bound to Adeptus Exemptus Raphael Winter. He might have piercing sapphire eyes and a body which a cover model would be proud of but, as far as Ivy’s concerned, he’s a walking advertisement for the joyless perils of too much witch-work.

And if he makes her go to the gym again, she’s definitely going to turn him into a frog.

Review:
I put off reading this book. It was recommended to me by a good friend that previously recommended a series I really didn’t care for. This time, he was on the mark, and I am in love!

Laziness can only get you so far in life, that is, unless you develop your own hacks to make life that much easier. When suddenly stuck with a workaholic, Ivy is forced to get up and move a lot more than she’s used to.

This novel has some great characters, one of which is Brutus, a cat. While I won’t spoil anything, most will find that Brutus is probably what their own cat must be like. Cats are definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Getting to explore Ivy’s past while she works with Wintry was well done without any parts that were simply thrown in–Ivy never tells Wintry what happened in the past, allowing him to either believe the lies spread, or figure it out himself.

I love one of the messages of this story– you may take a different job, but you can’t change who you are.

If you like magic with a dab of mystery, this book was made for you. I absolutely love it!

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.

Review of Rumpelstiltskin by K. M. Shea

Rumpelstiltskin
Timeless Fairy Tales 4
By K. M. Shea

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 236

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Things look grim for Gemma, a seamstress, when she is ordered under the threat of death by the insane King Torgen to spin straw into gold. Unwilling to forfeit her life, Gemma tries to escape her royal prison, earning her the respect of the mysterious mage, Stil. Stil offers to complete the impossible task…for a price.

Review:
My goodness. This is probably one of my favourite fairy tale retellings of Rumpelstiltskin.

Gemma is well developed and talented, but she also is very empathetic towards others. Stil, though we are uncertain of him for a while, is kind and helpful. The reader likely realizes what is going on long before Gemma, and the most annoying thing is Gemma’s absolute denial. Does it come from her inability to think of herself as worthy of attention because she is not a noble or because she thinks poorly of herself? The reader doesn’t know. What is shown is how intelligent and resilient Gemma is.

The depth of this story is amazing. The reason why no one stands up to the king, the reason why Stil is willing to help her, everything comes together to make this an amazing retelling. While he is not the Rumpelstiltskin you would remember, he is so much better! The underlying politics really add to the novel, and I absolutely adored the ending.

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 Witch’s Demon by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Demon
Book 6 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 304
Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
For months Michelle has known another demon would come after her. What she doesn’t know is that it’s already stalking her friends, hunting her colleagues. Instead, her attention has been focused on learning all she can about witch clans, the engagement ring on her finger, and why Elron won’t set a wedding date.

Elron has a secret, one he’s afraid could ruin his relationship with Michelle. He knows the demon has arrived. He knows it’s only a matter of time before it strikes.

When a detective from a neighboring town calls Michelle, some secrets will be revealed, but will she discover the demon in time to protect the people she loves? Will she survive a fight not just for her life but for her very identity, the core of what makes her a witch?

Review:
I felt like this novel was really a turning point in the series, from fun and sometimes serious to tragedy. So many odd things happen in this novel and while Michelle is trying to piece everything together there’s a lot of “I could have saved them” moments. While the price of what might work is steep, Michelle thinks it is worth it.

One can’t help but worry about the end “gift” may end up as more of a curse…

All in all, looking forward to reading 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 Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond

Girl in the Shadows

Cirque American
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA Fantasy
Number of Pages: 380

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her pursuing magic.

When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.

But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.

Review:
I was really excited when I found this book, since I had quite liked Girl on a Wire. While I didn’t hate this book, it wasn’t as amazing as the first in the series. Moira is a likeable protagonist and seems to have a solid plan in place to secure her future in the magic business. While Raleigh appears totally capable and ready to look out for her, given that she doesn’t try to take over his stage, she seems far too easily smitten with Dez.

Dez is too undeveloped, and it’s hard to like him or his connection with Moira, even when you realize just how much is on the line. I found this book a little too two dimensional and the females were too powerless. For the type of energy supposedly there, much of the book seems to be a damsel in distress story, which is the opposite of what the first book in the series was.

Nonetheless, I would read another book if it came out, and do like this author.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Gwenda Bond writes YA and children’s fiction. Her novels include the Lois Lane series (Fallout, Double Down), which bring the iconic comic book character front and center in her own YA novels, and the Cirque American series (Girl on a Wire, Girl Over Paris, Girl in the Shadows), about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. She and her husband author Christopher Rowe will launch a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service, in 2017, and Lois Lane: Triple Threat will be released.

Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and their unruly pets. There are rumors she escaped from a screwball comedy, and she might have a journalism degree because of her childhood love of Lois Lane. She writes a weekly letter you can sign up for at http://www.tinyletter.com/gwenda. Visit her online at http://www.gwendabond.com or @gwenda on Twitter.

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
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