Fleeing Victorian London, a witch finds her newfound independence comes with all-new perils—both mortal and immortal.
Forever untangling the branches of her strange family tree, Edwina Blackwood is at a turning point. Her parents’ disappearances still strike her as unaccountably odd. Her sister’s questionable life and untimely death have left her shaken. Spellfire has transformed her home and livelihood to ash. And now a devious stalker is on her trail. With supernatural detective Ian Cameron by her side, Edwina can’t get out of London fast enough.
Gaining safe passage, she finds refuge with Sir Henry Elvanfoot, famed wizard of the north, and is promised protection from ill-aimed curses. But in this unfamiliar city of fair folk and witches, where the veil between Earth and the Otherworld is about to be lifted, something is amiss. How else to explain Edwina’s sudden prophetic visions? Or the fear that surviving whoever pursues her will require the powers of an ancient bloodline she’s only beginning to comprehend?
Whatever destiny awaits, it’s Edwina’s to finally control. Where will it lead? Only time, cunning, and magic—in this world or the Other—will tell.
This book was absolutely phenomenal and I couldn’t get enough of it! The world building was exceptionally done and well crafted; the type of story you find yourself enthralled in and not wanting to put down… until you’re near the end and then you never want it to finish. This book perfectly followed Edwina, Ian, and her stalker. There was so much more fae, and magic, and fairy tales, and it was just the type of perfectly encompassed story that will stay warming your heart long after you finish the series.
I loved the aspect of choice and how it plays into fate and the future, whether everything is an illusion or written in stone. I absolutely adored all of the characters we were introduced to and became attached to; even those that were unsavory. I quite loved the Celtic tie ins, and the descriptions used so if you were unaware you weren’t left in the dark. The one caveat I had with this novel was how easily Edwina did the expected in a circumstance, however it is somewhat explained later given her lack of thorough magical studies. I love who Gavina turned out to be, and I certainly hadn’t expected how tied into everything she already was, or how much Sir Henry played into things. The only question left unanswered was the how of Ian and Edwina, but that isn’t as important as their feelings. All in all, I absolutely adored this little two book series and intend to one day have the paper version on my shelf.
Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
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?
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).
Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
An evening escape. A clockwork poison. A race to save a love balanced on the edge.
On the night they were to elope, a spurned lover returned. A gift, she claimed. But the clockwork contraption unwound a poisonous bloom, sending Lady Emily and Luca, her beloved, on a desperate race to reach the cure.
A very quick novel, which showed the tenacity of Lady Emily and just how far people will go for those they love. There were stakes and one was never quite sure how it would end, but it was quite short (with a print length of 58 pages). I did enjoy it, as I have all of Renwick’s books thus far.
Star rating: ✯✯✯✯
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.
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: ✯✯✯✯✯
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.
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: ✯✯✯✯✯
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.
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: ✯✯✯✯✯
To save the Hatter, Alice must work with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.
Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London’s criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.
Hatter’s reckless behavior leads Alice back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar’s mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is no problem for this Bandersnatch. But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.
Sometimes love is mad.
Curiouser and Curiouser is a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland 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 on this reimagined fairytale.
I will admit that Alice in Wonderland is probably one of the fairy tales/Disney movies I wasn’t that enamoured with, however I did quite love the Tim Burton movies. I did, however, find this as a completely interesting and unique take on the story and I quite loved it. The names might resemble those of the story, but nothing is quite like anything you’d expect from the other popular tales of Lewis Carroll and the reiterations thereof.
I definitely saw the connection with the Red Queen before it was revealed, but it was quite expertly tied together and I’m not sure the average reader would have had my same mindset going into it. There were still parts that I found chilling and disturbing, even though I had figured out major plot points long before they were revealed and was rather annoyed that Alice didn’t simply ask Caterpillar, or at least ASSUME what it might be that he botched.
As always, love Karsak’s book, and look forward to reading her next one!
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
After stopping a mysterious preternatural assailant wielding an enchanted dagger, Clemeny is on the hunt. Why is someone after Victoria? To find answers, Clemeny Louvel must travel to the one place she’s been avoiding, the Summer Country. Among the mist and standing stones, secrets about her case—and herself—are hiding. An ancient grudge with roots deep in the heart of Britannia is about to unfold on the Victorian stage.
Unless Clemeny can stop it first.
Finally! We get to learn more of Clemeny, her heritage and lineage, and how that influences her life– or doesn’t. One of my absolute favourite tie ins of this series was that between Clemeny’s lineage and Sir Richard Spencer’s! I quite enjoyed seeing this series completed, though I didn’t quite enjoy how some people ended up paired together. I will say that while the ending alluded to great things, I would very much love another book (or two, or three!) to tie things together with a neat crisp bow.
I also found myself quite enamoured with Agent Rose, and hope that someday Karsak continues with the stories of the Red Cape society, or at least lets us know Agent Rose’s back story!
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
You’re invited to the All Hallows Ball.
Busy tracking down thieving werewolves in London, Clemeny is surprised when Edwin asks her to lead a new case in the Fenlands of east England.
The Cabell family is haunted by a curse. Something in the misty moors surrounding Cabell Manor has come howling just days before the exclusive All Hallows Ball. How gauche. But London’s best agent is on the case.
Clemeny soon finds herself learning the ropes of polite society while hunting an apparition on the foggy fens. She’ll need to solve the case quickly if she hopes to be the belle—not the bruiser—of the ball.
Not for the first time we have to wonder if Clemeny and Edwin are the right match. So much tension and uncertainty. She’s great at her job, but what is right for her? She seems to keep a good head on her shoulders at all times, willing to talk and befriend before simply judging or casting aside people. I must say, relationship wise, I quite enjoyed this book and the showcase of how Clemeny felt among high society.
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
Just when things start going well for Agent Clemeny Louvel, a bitch has to make trouble.
Since Cyril’s death, an uneasy peace has existed between Alodie and Lionheart. Her brothel closed, her rank in the werewolf pecking order obliterated, and shunned by the Templars, Alodie has been living on the fringes of the dark district. Determined to get vengeance on Lionheart and Clemeny, Alodie hatches a monstrous plan. Just in time to ruin Clemeny and Edwin’s first outing as a couple.
Alodie will do anything to see a new alpha rise.
Unless Clemeny can stop her first.
Clemeny is stuck between her duty as one in the red cape society and her obvious need to keep her particular division taken care of. Unfortunately, when some attempts for leniency were made, it meant that there was the potential for an uprising. It was great to get to see Clemeny and Edwin fully in action together again, but at what cost?
As with the others in this series I zipped through it quickly, which is why now I’m stuck reviewing the last three books instead of delving into another series/author as I will be continuing to do once I’m finished here. In some regards it almost feels like the solutions are too quick and precise in these books, but that is partially why I love them. In the real world, that’s how many problems appear and are solved–so much time spent in introspection and consideration, just for the solution to be quite simple and instantaneous.
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯