Review of The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick

Synopsis (from Amazon):
A stolen clockwork spider. A forbidden romance. A murderous spy on the streets of London who must be stopped before it’s too late.

Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.
After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention-a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?

Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.
Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful-and brilliant-new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.

Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.
Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.

Review:
Why did I wait so long to read this book? It was absolutely wonderful! There was everything one could want in a steampunk/gaslamp style novel: there was a plucky and intelligent protagonist who wasn’t willing to just take what society deemed acceptable as her future, a brooding intelligent gentleman, mystery, and forbidden romance!

Amanda was instantly connected to me (perhaps due to us having the same first name, Amy being a short form used for publishing). She is so intelligent but also a society lady, so her struggle to find someone who didn’t just see her as a baby maker was both realistic and frustrating, making her quite relatable. Thornton was equally relatable in his desire to get things done, done right, and even if it killed him to do it himself, he’d be sure it was finished.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I loved it, especially the ending!

Star Rating: 

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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 Beyond the Grave by C. J. Archer

Her Majesty’s Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 3
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 284

Date Started: June 26, 2016
Date Finished: June 27, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)beyond the grave
At the request of Lady Harcourt, Charlie and Lincoln begin searching for her missing stepson. Still recovering from her ordeal at the hands of a diabolical villain, Charlie is supposed to be resting. But resting is dull, so she throws herself into the task at hand, much to Lincoln’s frustration.

The search leads them down a dark path littered with family secrets and titillating scandal. Using her necromancy to expose those secrets, Charlie unwittingly raises a spirit with the power to override her control. With a dead body on the loose in London, Charlie and Lincoln must work together to send it back before havoc is unleashed, and the committee members find out.

Because if they do, they will have more ammunition in their fight to send Charlie away from her home and everyone she loves.

Review:
Charlie can’t stand to be idle while those she cares about are off fighting and doing dangerous things.  Unfortunately this sometimes leads her to go against what Lincoln has told her to do.  Despite learning that her necromancy can’t always be used to help, Charlie knows that her people skills can help get answers far better than some of Lincoln’s tactics.  Again, the characterization and tension is perfect, and through this book you begin to see a deeper side of some characters, which reinforces what, as the heroine, is disliked about them to begin with.

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/
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Her Majesty’s Necromancer by C. J. Archer

Her Majesty’s Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 2
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 247

Date Started: June 26, 2016
Date Finished: June 26, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)her majesty's necromancer
When bodies go missing from the cemetery, Lincoln and the Ministry of Curiosities investigate. But not Charlie. As a housemaid at Lichfield Towers, she doesn’t get involved in Ministry business.

Instead, she conducts investigations of her own. She searches for details about her real mother, and makes inquiries into Lincoln’s background. What she learns has the power to destroy the fragile trust they’ve built, or bring them closer together.

As secrets are revealed, and investigations don’t go as planned, Charlie finds her necromancy sucking her into a whirlpool filled with betrayal, lies and danger.

Review:
Another fantastic book, that was again impossible to put down.  I dedicated much of the morning and early afternoon to soaking up this delicious tale.  The tension between Charlie and Lincoln continues to sizzle, especially as she begins to gain more independence and strength on her own, as a woman.  Charlie is quite resilient and an easy character to become while reading.  The characterization is quite well done and each action and reaction is entirely justified– there is never a point where one thinks that anyone is acting out of character.  Charlie continues to forge her own path, showing that she can be more than just a pretty face or a maid, and that her ability with people can gain more information than force or looks alone.

cjAuthor 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 The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer

The Last Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 1
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 270

Date Started: June 24, 2016
Date Finished: June 25, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)last necromancer

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

Review:
Oh my goodness, this book is fantastic and almost impossible to set down once you’ve started.  Transported back to Victorian England, this book starts and ends with action packed adventures.  Charlie does what has to be done in order to survive, even if she finds it scary, even if she doesn’t necessarily want to, until she’s thrust into a completely new order of people who might understand.  Charlie is faced with trying to find herself among the facade she’s built, and learning that what some might see as monstrous makes her different but not necessarily evil.  As Charlie has to fight to figure out who she really is she is also faced with a daunting choice of who she should rely on and trust, having to hope she’s made the right decision. 

cjAuthor 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