The Return of King Lillian Review


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GoodReads:
The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.
So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?
“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)
Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.
The audiobook of The Return of King Lillian is performed by the author, Suzie Plakson.
This is probably one of my favorite retellings ever now. I do have a soft spot for retellings in general but Plakson just knocks it out of the park for creativity. Lillian is such a bright, enigmatic, and innocent character with a heart so full and pure that I cheered her on from page one. This has a bit of a ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Wizard of Oz’/’Alice in Wonderland’ feel. It’s whimsical in all the best ways and though beautiful and lush with some darker moments it can fit a wide range of ages as far as reader audience goes.

Honestly, this was an incredible read.

Lillian writes in her book, and to her book, so as you read it’s as if she’s writing to you. She writes as she speaks so that makes from some creative spelling and word choice and it’s a lot of fun in that way. Also, this has a feel of the old fantasies and tales, there’s a character going on a long quest with a bunch of adventures along the way and a great slew of companions and character interactions.I’ll expand on this more when I write up a review on my blog but needless to say I completely love this book.

^ This was my GoodReads review, and to expand on it, this book really stuck with me. I mean I think about it randomly when someone asks about retellings. Obviously, there are some great ones out there but I just felt this was one of the more creative ones and it left me yearning in a pretty nostalgic manner. This harkened me back to again The Princess Bride [in terms of style, not content] where I chuckled, but more than that fleeting style comparison, it reminded me of the older books such as The Wizard of Oz, or Alice in Wonderland as I stated in the GoodReads review. There’s this sense of exploration of new lands and adventures, and a hero travelling through a world but instead of focusing on the world, we see bits of it as we go, piecing it together and focus on the adventures.

Lillian is a great protagonist and I loved her, and it’s not completely without heartache but it was little enough to be almost refreshing in that sense. She overcame quite a few things, and there was sadness, but that wasn’t the main focus of Lillian’s thoughts, she was carrying forward most of the time, toward a goal.

Not to mention, how many times can we recount a retelling or adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes and Plakson just completely blows me away. [I’m a HUGE Andersen fan so I can be picky]

I was also lucky enough to be gifted an audiobook copy from the Maestro herself, and I’ve delighted in listening to it with my daughter. In fact, this was an audiobook first and the fact that she has turned it into an equally beautiful novel on paper, that there’s no difference and they both flow flawlessly says a lot about her talent with words.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

We Hunt The Flame eARC Review

Another review, I know, I know, I promise guys, non-review posts are coming! I just want to get some of these out before the books are out there. [In this case, before it hits UK shelves]

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GoodReads:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Glossary & Pronunciation Guide

 

This book was built upon layers and layers of lush landscapes, history, and culture. This was a work we all needed to help diversify the pool of fantasy, and the writer’s style is strong and enchanting. I found myself really pulled into this world, there was such a darkness in the shadows and in the characters that I loved and I praise them for not being always good or always sure, they were not just morally grey as people so often are but conflicted and constantly striving to do right [or wrong/what they think is right] and that’s important in a YA fantasy. It’s not a quick light read but engrossing and dependent on the reader’s desire or ability to get lost in its words.

I would have rated it five stars but there were times where I felt the pacing was a bit skewered, not necessarily in the plot but within the love interests and their personal journies. That and I do feel like some parts stretched on, but honestly, that could easily be attributed to me being impatient while reading this because I really wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I will be waiting -impatiently of course- for the next book.

I did adore all the characters though and cannot wait to read the next book, their zumra was amazing and there was not one character I disliked in the book, not even the villain. Faizal did a great job creating these characters and such an enriching world.

The worldbuilding as I mentioned earlier was ‘lush’ and that would even be an understatement. There’s such a history and knowledge in her writing that it’s hard to believe these lands don’t actually exist and the journey of the characters is much like every good fantasy, one of adventure and for a noble cause, well in a way a noble cause. There are many trials for them all and bonding in a land that holds more power than anyone could imagine.

We Hunt the Flame switches between the POVs of Zafira and Nasir, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to know more about Kifah. She was by far my favorite character though, I loved them all and Altair was definitely a hoot!

On a whole there was little to no fault in this read for me, I give it four full cups of coffee

Thank you to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for an egalley in exchange for my honest review.

House of Salt and Sorrows Review

Hey guys

Just gonna start August by dropping this review.

You’re welcome btw.

 


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GoodReads:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

 

My Review

 

This was everything this spooky bitch wants in a YA gothic retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. [Pardon my language]

First off let me tell you all the gowns and slippers made me want to rush out and make a Pinterest board, Craig does a fantastic job of describing the clothing and without going overboard. [Can you even go overboard with fantastic pretty slippers and gowns though?]

I loved the cast of sisters, as someone who is one of three girls, I may not have 11 other sisters but I definitely felt the sibling relationships on a spiritual level. There are times where you just want to take a poke at your sister who can also be your best friend. It did take me a couple of chapters to get everyone organized in my head as there are so many, but then again in the original tale they didn’t really bother with names so this is already an improvement in the story in my opinion.

Craig also kept the magical heart of the story, all the favorite parts of the original tale were weaved into Craig’s and you would think she may have written both tales, and considering this is one of my favorite tales, that’s high praise from me. [I need to know, Erin, did you write the original under a false name, is this you in a past life?]

Annaleigh was our narrator, the middle of the sisters, well, middle of the 12. I adored her and rooted for her the whole time, and at times I was protective of her and wanted to give Camille a nudge and say ‘quit it.’

I enjoyed Fisher, their childhood friend. I won’t’ say any more on that.

And uh, Cassius is now probably one of my favorite characters, ever.

There were special bonds with some of the sisters and each relationship was different between them and Annaleigh which was important, Verity was adorable and as one of the three graces she stood out the most to me after Annaleigh, and then Camille.

Personally, I loved the pacing but I can see where it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. This isn’t a fly by the seat of your pants book, she takes time to build intricacies within the world she’s built you and let me tell you, someone better say ‘return to the salt’ when I go out of this world lol. But really, this has moments of all actions and lulls between and I loved the lulls, the periods where everything was quietly built up and brought to this peak that I won’t talk about because, well, spoilers.

The descriptions of Churning (a bit like a yuletide festivity) were some of my favorites, the lanterns and puppets described made me ache to see them in real life.

Craig was a master at descriptions in general, the world, the clothes, the creepy parts, and omg there was so much creepy in this book it made my dark little heart so happy. It gives you the chills a bit, especially in the first half of the novel when it’s all shrouded in mystery.

There is a bit of a whodunnit element, so you have that, mixed with beautiful gothic vibes, paranormal creepiness, and dancing princesses and you have a ‘five cups of coffee’ read for this girl.

I preordered months ago and if you’re interested there’s still time to preorder, this book comes out August Sixth!

**I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion**

Pros:
-Pretty clothes
-Dancing
-Gorgeous world building
-Creepiness galore
-Mystery and intrigue
-Sisterly love

Cons:
-Can be a slow build up for those looking for a quicker paced read
-You may not love the spooky vibes as much as I do
-The book isn’t longer lol, I WANT MORE!!!!!

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, death, murder, mention of suicide, gore, loss.

 

Mini-Review Day!

Hey guys!

Haha, I did more donating than shopping this weekend, but I’ll have our charity shop finds up next Sunday.

Today I felt like doing some mini-reviews with a few of the books I’ve read this month, and expect my wrap up post on the 31 to have a very long list of books.

 


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GoodReads:

“The Wind Softly Murmurs” is for anyone who has ever grieved over the passing of a loved one. These poems arose from the poet’s efforts to resolve the grief that followed the death of her parents. This book reflects her transformative journey that began while she was immersed in her parent’s love. Her progress was suspended at their deaths, but she ultimately recovered through the process of writing. These profound, lyrical poems ask us to contemplate our own lives and perceptions in order to move towards healing and a deeper spirituality. They urge us to meditate on death, loss, family, love, eternal life, and renewal. They encourage us to embrace change, as it ultimately leads to evolution and new life. The poet hopes this uplifting message of eternal life and renewal will bring solace to the readers, nurturing their souls in their bereavement. Throughout our lives, there is loss. As we age, the losses seem to come more frequently. It always hurts, but there is value in the pain. With every loss that is handled in the right spirit, we find ourselves a little stronger.

My Review

**I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

One doesn’t expect such prose in this day and age on the manner of grief in poetry but Sharon Arthur achieves a mythical and spiritual journey for the grieving in her poetry. The poems are divided into sections, and she shares with the reader words that have come to her from the loss of her own parents. One doesn’t need to lose a parent though to identify with Arthur, simply know the feeling of grief.

The poems are beautiful and haunting and the call to the age of mythology in them makes for a powerful read and I haven’t seen such talent in a ‘new’ poet in quite a long time. -My GoodReads Review

And just to expand on that, this was poetry that I could really identify with, it wasn’t just pretty and lyrical, it was emotional -and without being overwhelming for me-. I felt a connection to Arthur’s words and I know this will be a poetry book I will revisit, she hit the nail on the head with keeping the length just perfect, you can read it in a sitting or pick one a day and it will still be impactful. I was very happy to read a poetry book and if you’re looking for some poetry to read, I’d recommend this book.

 


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GoodReads:
The Girl Who Became a Goddess is a tribute to the childhood stories of Theresa Fuller who has experienced multiple cultures and learned to love them all. These are tales passed on from generation to generation, some to delight, some to terrify, all to enlighten. 

A FOOLISH ANIMAL DISCOVERS THAT THE RAINFOREST IS A DANGEROUS PLACE. 

As a girl, a mother, and a teacher, Theresa retells her favorite folktales through the lens of her own life experiences in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, putting a unique spin on ageless classics. 

A YOUNG BOY IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE EVERYTHING FOR HIS FAMILY. 

The Girl Who Became a Goddess is a love letter to a young girl from the adult she has become. 

My Review

-Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review-

This was a lovely collection of fanciful folklore tales, some with the old ‘Aesop’s fables’ morals at the end [though this is not inspired by Aesop or related, just an example to help]. Fuller gives us a great introduction into folklore that is outside of the usual tales we grow up hearing of or knowing about in the Western World, such as Aesop’s Fables. Fuller also makes this quite personal, giving her version of stories that she grew up with and as folklore is steeped in such an oral tradition, many people can know the same story in many different ways. I really enjoyed each little story and the glimpses into these other worlds of Folklore, my only complaint is that I wish there would have been more. I loved this collection and hope Fuller decides to do something like this again.

I rounded this up to four because I truly loved reading it, it just would have been great if there had been more. These were gorgeous tales told in such a great way, but it ran out all too quickly for me while reading it. </3

 


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GoodReads:
The Second World War is drawing to a close, but the world is far from safe. Left to fend for themselves, women and children are forced out of their homes in East Prussia to make way for the advancing victors. As the Russian soldiers arrive, the women know that they are still very much in danger, and that for them, the fight for survival is only just beginning.

Facing critical food shortages and the onset of a bitter cold winter without heat, the women send their children into the nearby forests where they secretly cross the border into Lithuania, begging the local farmers for work or food to take back home to their waiting families. Along the way the children find cruelty, hardship and violence, but also kindness, hope, and the promise of a new and better future.

Based on meticulous research, this stunning and powerful debut novel by Alvydas Šlepikas tells for the first time the story of the ‘wolf children’ and the measures many families were forced to take in order to survive.

My Review

The subject matter alone proves the book is worth a read, especially today after so much time has passed and history becomes clouded.

How quick we are to forget the true scope of just how many victims war can leave, especially in one such as WWII. Though a hard read, due to the events described and based on true stories, it was a well thought out, meaningful and sadly brilliant novel.

Anyone deeply interested in history/WWII and not adverse to reading about the horrors and hardships of the children left behind from war should give this book a chance.

Honestly, this was a hard read but again because of the subject matter. I have no regrets reading this but it does just grip your heart and try to rip it in two. These stories are based on true accounts of the ‘wolf kinder’ and I appreciate what the author did in bringing those stories into the spotlight. It’s all too easy to forget the unseen victims of war, and then again we tend to forget the ones right in front of us anyway but I felt this was an important book to read and review.

-The formatting did not properly divide chapters in the eARC which could cause some confusion when reading as it seems to jump about, but I’m unsure if the problem is fixed on the final copy. Thank you to OneWorld Publications and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.-

 


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GoodReads:
In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

My Review

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

An endearing novel that captures the heart from Callahan. This book was everything I wanted and more, it was what I needed. She delves into the very heart of Joy, exposing her in a way that you forget she’s writing fiction. The spirit and character of Joy is complex and wonderful just as is her counterpart, C.S. Lewis himself (or Jack as he is known).

Joy has a journey that takes us through most of her adult life, the pain she goes through, the poverty and spiritual healing and love, all of it is tantamount to, well, becoming Mrs. Lewis. This was the definition of a spiritual journey and for those who forget C.S. Lewis was quite a spiritual man himself, he helped Joy through her journey and in return realized that there was love for him yet.

Honestly, I love Callahan’s style, I love her works, and this is no exception. Once more she’s knocked it out of the park with capturing the essence of the author and most importantly, the woman in his life, who was an author herself, successful in her own right. This was like chicken soup for the soul, where it’s more love and philosophy and the thought of what’s out there than an in your face Christian novel. If you’re feeling you need a bit of an inspiration read and don’t mind the religious philosophy of it all, well, I recommend this one.

 

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GoodReads:
Her tribe is shattered. Her parents are gone.

When eight-year-old Samara faces the capture of her tribe, an unimaginable power awakens within her. Even as this magic threatens to consume her, a disembodied voice intervenes, offering guidance and helping her control these newfound abilities.

Meanwhile, Samara’s father chases his wife’s captors across an unfamiliar terrain. But can Orin find his wife in time to save her? Will Samara learn to control her power and reunite with her family? And who is the mysterious entity traveling with her?

Find out in . . .

The Unfettered Child

My Review

The author gave me an eBook of this in exchange for my honest review.

This had a bit of essence of Dune to it as far as writing style went and I loved that. Sahd gives us an intriguing world, and he casually gives us world-building without going too deeply and this works for the purpose of this story which at its heart is about a few characters and the connections they have, with each other and with magic in some way.

Young Samara was a good protagonist, I wish I would have connected more to her, I did feel there was a lack of connection between myself as the reader and the characters, which was unfortunate as the rest of the novel is really great.

The elves are super intriguing and I feel like it was nice to have them shown in a different light. (Not that I don’t love my LotR elves, but it doesn’t hurt to have some variety!)

Orin was the one I felt most sympathetic toward but at times I felt it was perhaps him who had magic considering how he survived compared to others who seemed to fall down dead from a 1/3 of the things he did. Still, he was a good character and I enjoyed reading about him almost more than I did Samara.

Overall there’s some fantastic ideas and some great talent peeking through this novel, it’s going to be exciting to see his novels grow because I have no doubt he’ll grow in his writing and would definitely read more of his books.

 

There we have it! My mini-reviews for the day! Toodles!

 

Just a sidenote eARCs I’ve read this month that are getting their own review will be:
– The Phantom Forest
– Spin the Dawn
– Slumber

Mini Review Day


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On April 5th, 1948, Gold met Kennig…

Inspired by the true story of a WWII marine and the love of his life, Christopher M. Struck has crafted a haunting tale of love, devotion, sacrifice…and betrayal.

Daniel Kennig only has one ambition: to be the greatest singer to have ever lived. While headlining at a mid-tier nightclub in Manhattan he meets Cynthia Gold. Smitten with the golden-haired heiress, the young couple begin a romantic rendezvous at the possible expense of his career.

My Review

**Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC copy, my honest review has been given in exchange below.**

This book was a sweet concept but it fell a little flat for me. I think it was actually Kennig who just didn’t seem fleshed out enough for my personal preference but Gold was very intriguing and I did love that Kennig was a male singer and model at one point, something a little different! The book is done in sweet flashbacks and moments in the present. The writing style is easy to read and I really enjoyed reading about their travels and the tour. A nice heartfelt read for those it can appeal to.

To me it just felt on the verge of going deeper but never daring to, and I think that’s what slightly disappointed me. Not to mention the part that seemed ‘flattest’ to me was Gold himself, and I was unsure how to take the advice he gave our Journalist friend who acts as the go between, between present time and the past through the letters he reads.

That is one thing I did enjoy, that it was the Journalist reading letters to reveal the past and Gold himself filling in the necessary blanks when needed.

This does have a bit of a religious undertone just as a warning for those who may not enjoy that, it wasn’t the theme of the book nor was it overriding the plot, just part of the story.

 


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“Vivid, gripping and actually riveting as the Red Danger takes a whole new meaning here. Loved it.” —The Book Smugglers

It is the waning days of the Russian monarchy. A reckless man rules the land and his dragons rule the sky. Though the Tsar aims his dragons at his enemies—Jews and Bolsheviks—his entire country is catching fire. Conspiracies suffuse the royal court: bureaucrats jostle one another for power, the mad monk Rasputin schemes for the Tsar’s ear, and the desperate queen takes drastic measures to protect her family.

Revolution is in the air—and the Red Army is hatching its own weapons.

Discover Russia’s October Revolution, reimagined in flight by the acclaimed mother-and-son writing team of the Locus Award-winning novel, Pay the Piper, and the Seelie Wars series.

My Review

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**

An interesting take on history and use of metaphors, I did believe though that there was more research needed on the historical and linguistic aspects of the novel. Overall I thought it was creative and intriguing, but of course as a novella there is only so much that can be revealed in such a short time frame. I would say that if you’re interested in Russian revolutionary history and don’t mind a large reach of creative license, then it is worth the quick read.

I do love that the other dragons were red, thought that was quite clever and got a chuckle out of me.

The novel is allegorical and I enjoyed that part, I would have loved to give this a higher rating but I couldn’t knowing that there was quite a bit wrong with the linguistics, and though it is fiction, the note at the back like another review mentioned, forgets to add that one of the daughters of Tsar is entirely fictional in this book and not at all a real person. Most of history reads of the nonfiction variety are Russian Revolution books so I’m a bit of a stickler for this.

The fact that the dragons show the same power just different colors is an important message the authors did deliver pretty well in my opinion. It wasn’t a bad read, just that I hoped for more. I think though that this had some really great ideas and I enjoyed Rasputin’s chapters the most.

 


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A young man struggling to forge his own path… A priestess forced to conceive an heir… A forbidden love…

Captured in a sweep of beings from Earth to aid planet Remeon’s dying society, Jack is plagued by deep ceded deception and mind control from those on the planet who seek to dictate the end of life choices of their citizens.

Sides are chosen as ancient magical powers thought to be long dead align to intervene in the fate of the two young lovers forcing a chain of events in motion that cannot be undone.

Truths will be destroyed. Myths will find life. Whose ultimate power will reign?

My Review

Thank you so much the publisher for letting me read this for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Garrett has some really interesting ideas, and I love that the time period for our hero was in the time of the building of the Hoover Dam. I felt her writing was strongest during the historical side, and though I loved the ideas she had, I think there maybe too many. A lot of times it felt like a whole jumble of ideas on spin cycle and you weren’t sure which one was supposed to be the main one or which was important at all. I think though that there’s a lot of promise in Garrett’s writing style and the story had some very tender moments which I appreciated. The style of the sci-fi writing was pretty ‘classic’ and it reminded me a little of ‘Dune’ in style and ideas but there wasn’t the same strength behind it. The ending was done well and it left it open ended enough that you hope she writes another but if she doesn’t, you’re still left hoping haha.

Unfortunately the love didn’t feel tangible to me between the two characters romantically and that was a struggle to read through. It was insta-love and it was badly done insta-love, I could not find it in me to believe they had a relationship at all and it went amazingly fast in terms of pacing. Maybe it’s because I’m a slow mover but I was slightly panicked for them! Also they were like 16 year olds deciding to have a child together while practicing magic and one is human and one is not. It’s just a lot to take in.

Slightly disappointed the alien’s only difference physically was that she had silver hair.

The friendship between Harry and Jack also feels very fabricated though the friendship between Jack and Sam is very genuine and the best part of the story, hands down.

The things i did like were Garrett’s time period choice, the basic premise, I mean it’s classic, alien abduction, I loved it, and the fact that she went with old school sci-fi. The problems with old school sci-fi though are pretty deep, and Garrett’s seemed to be slightly tinged with one its problems, sexism.

 


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Assassin’s Creed meets Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in this gripping, epic fantasy romance trilogy.
My heart wasn’t part of the deal when I bargained for my life,
But assassins so rarely keep their word.
Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-an offense punishable by death-and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own.
In a game of trust and half-lies, only one thing can be certain: traps capture more than beasts and ensnared hearts are impossible to untangle.

My Review

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my HONEST opinion.**

This book was such an unexpected joy to read. Though labeled as sci-fi it did remind me more of steampunk fantasy, and you’ll hear no complaints out of me because that’s the aspect I loved best! Honestly, the beasts were so interesting and I love the way Martineau describes them, she’s got a talent for descriptive writing without overwhelming with details. Leena is a great character and the whole cast is except and somewhat diverse in LGBTQ rep which was really nice. It’s not often we get a bisexual male main character like Noc, another great character that is a delighted balance to Leena. The side characters are fleshed out well and I might have enjoyed them more than even Leena and Noc! And don’t get me started on the plot, it was great and I cannot wait to see what happens in book 2.

It is a slow burn romance and never loses sight of the plot and really it made it such a great read for me, the pacing was wonderful both in action and romance and the world is lush and creative. Martineau has impressed me and I wish I would have read this sooner! If you like romance of the slow burning variety and fantasy, join me  in loving this book lol. Please.

My only qualms was that it as slightly predictable but that’s also why I enjoyed it if that makes sense, there’s no major twists or surprises but the joy was in the journey and the beasts.

The beasts were also really nicely hashed out, I actually had a really strong urge to go play Pokemon Go after reading this. Going to different locations to capture beasts….I mean…can you blame me? I didn’t get as much an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ vibe though, and that’s okay, I was just happy enough there were assassins!

Also, the Charmers have the coolest place ever, I want to go visit…and battle like a trainer. Half Jk.

Again. Now to just wait for book 2. Bah, humbug.

 

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Forrest Gump meets Woody Allen in this endearing story about a sea turtle seeking to be reunited with the love of his life.

When Akela is separated from his migrant soulmate, Kalea, he will do anything to be reunited with her. Journey with this charming and neurotic sea turtle as he crosses paths with celebrities, politicians, and other moments in history with unbreakable determination to be reunited with his love.

My Review

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

If you love introspective fiction and/or sea turtles, this will definitely be something you’ll want to pick up.

That’s it. That’s my review. (jk jk)

On amore serious not, this is a great novel and it’s all about Akela’s journey to find those he thinks are part of his purpose, in the beginning it’s his mother, later on it’s his mate, and along the way he meets a variety of people and animals who help/hinder him on his journey. He learns there is more to life than being afraid of the open water and that in order to get what you want, there will work and possibly sacrifice along the way. Most importantly though was Akela’s realization of who he was along this journey, what was important to him and what he discovered about himself at the end. I would say the ending really was lovely and the book did make my heart break a little at times but I also smiled and laughed as Uytdewilligen incorporates famous people with Akela who becomes a bit infamous to the humans, he spends time as being accused as part of grand Soviet schemes all the way to becoming the poster child for ocean pollution but I won’t give away more than that, you’ll have to read it to see how Akela ends up in these situations.

Seriously, Akela meets presidents, that’s right, plural. The book played out like a movie in my mind, Uytdewilligen did a great job being descriptive and keeping the pacing pretty decent. There were a couple of slumps but I felt that overall the drive of the story was never lost and sometimes I just wanted to shake Akela and say ‘get to it, your woman is out there!’ The cast of characters Akela encounters in the way of animals are all brilliant, and I enjoyed them so much more than the fascinating human encounters.

Overall I found this to be a very thoughtful read, it causes a lot of self reflection if you enjoy it and I certainly fell in love with Akela himself. The ending was beautiful and absolutely perfect for this book.

 


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The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalvers’ isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a notorious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.

My Review

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

I’m dystopia trash with absolutely no regrets about it. Saying that, I really felt this was a four cups of coffee read. Tate does a great job to blend in fantasy with sci-fi/dystopia.

Their town is the only one left as their leader tells them. Everything else has died, they are the only ones lucky enough to take part in having protection from the leader and getting the water he provides. However he is one that likes to keep his distance anyone who wants to see him has to go through the Labyrinth. And it doesn’t enjoy visitors.

The Labyrinth rests on territory that is still infused with magic and not even the residents of Zadie’s town who all have amazing skills, except for Zadie and the others known as ‘Blanks,’ stand a chance. But more than that, in the labyrinth lives Dex, the monster that everyone knows of, he kidnaps people into the labyrinth and when they come back, they’re never the same.

So why does Zadie as a blank venture forth? Her best friend (and secret crush, as stated) is missing and she dares to brave the maze to get him back and help her family because something isn’t quite right, the Skilled aren’t acting normal and communication to their leader has been cut off.

Tate gives us a story where the one without the skills is rare, and weak. There’s no doubt that Zadie knows she’s no match for a person with skills, whether it’s just one skill or more. But this is kind of a nice approach, she’s not special in the sense that she’s overpowered, but in that she isn’t. So her strength will have to come from somewhere else and it will have to show up along the way or she’ll never survive the maze.

The maze itself was so incredibly fun to read about, a bit of Hunger Games meets Alice in Wonderland for how it works and the rest of the world is just as intriguing. All the information that Tate gives us is used well and I have to say I sincerely hope there’s another book for this, if not, the ending does satisfy enough, but holy cow the possibilities for what could happen next are endless!

I love Dex, you all can take him from my cold dead fingers.

 

There we have it, my mini reviews for the day!

 

 

Book Cover Reveal

Justice watches from the shadows… Throughout history, the world has witnessed cruel, gruesome, and twisted murders at the hands of the most notorious serial killers. For those who were never caught—Jack the Ripper, the Atlanta Ripper, and the Cleveland Torso Murderer—their crimes will live on in infamy as their identities are forever chased, but never revealed. It’s 1947 in Washington, D.C. and a dangerous murderer has boldly discarded two headless bodies nearby the White House and the Jefferson Memorial. With no leads, Detective Clive O’Reilly is feeling desperate. When a stranger convinces O’Reilly to join him at a local pub, he is treated to a wild tale about Prudence Blackwood, an immortal who seeks vengeance for those murdered by history’s most notorious serial killers. Initially in disbelief over her existence, O’Reilly is surprised to discover that she’s very real and she’ll be assisting in the investigation. But Prudence has unorthodox methods. With the body count rising, O’Riley will have to find a way to work with her to stop the most brutal killer in D.C.’s history before more victims are added to the list.

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DIGITAL ARCS OF THE IMMORTAL PRUDENCE BLACKWOOD:

Book reviewers and bloggers interested in reviewing the book may request a digital ARC of The Immortal Prudence Blackwood. ARCs are available through NetGalley and at the publisher’s website.

Title: The Immortal Prudence Blackwood
Author: Stephanie Grey
Genre: Suspense
Publication date: September 12, 2019
Publisher: BHC Press
Available Formats: Hardcover: 978-1-64397-032-5, $26.95 Softcover: 978-1-947727-83-0, $15.95 Ebook: 978-1-948540-33-9, $7.99 LCCN: 2018948482

 

The Immortal Prudence Blackwood releases on September 12, 2019 in hardcover, trade softcover, and ebook. Preorder is currently available from select retailers.

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The Inspiration Behind The Immortal Prudence Blackwood With Author Stephanie Grey

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I wish I could say it was a misty and stormy night when the idea for an immortal woman who eliminates the world’s most notorious, unidentified serial killers struck me, and that I had an amazing tale. But the truth isn’t quite so mysterious and exotic. That’s how it normally goes, right?

It was quite hot outside, which was normal for a March day in Hawaii. It’s difficult to get into a dark frame of mind when the sun is constantly shining and there’s a beautiful, blue ocean view from your window.

On that particular morning, I was reading the news and stumbled across an article titled, “Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex.”

This cave, found underneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire, UK, was concealed by a rabbit hole. The article explained the caves were linked to the Knights Templar, a Catholic military order that was founded in 1119. Over time, the Templars’ military influence faded and, by 1307, the French King Philip IV plotted to bring down the Knights Templar. Most were arrested on charges including heresy and dozens were later burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded them in 1312.

The owners of the property sealed the entrance to the caves in 2012 after black magic ceremonies were conducted there.

Reading this amazing story and seeing the incredible photographs immediately made me think about a woman living in the 1700s discovering an ancient cave covered in glyphs. But…you can’t just have a story about a woman finding a really old cave. Where would she go from there?

For the next few days, I mulled over ideas about this woman’s destiny. I caught a TV show about a man who had a scarf with blood on it and was trying to prove that his ancestor was the real Jack the Ripper. The man’s lead was a bust, but that’s when I knew what the woman would do: she would murder the serial killers whose identities were never discovered, thus evading capture. She would be the reason why the gruesome crimes stopped.

It didn’t take long for me to narrow down the woman’s name to Prudence Blackwood and write her history. However, it did take a month to research the murderers I wanted to include, as well as the history of each time period featured in the book. The “modern day” portion of the story takes place in 1947, and I am so very grateful for my grandmother, Barbara Thomas, for her immense help and knowledge of that time period.

I love Prudence’s story and I sincerely hope that readers will love it, too. If you’re interested in seeing the photographs that inspired me, please visit this website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie Grey is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a degree in journalism. Writing has always been present in Stephanie’s life. From a young age, she has been writing short stories for her family to enjoy. When she entered high school, she decided that she would one day write a full-length novel. She finally achieved her goal and is the proud author of three novels, including The Immortal Prudence Blackwood. She continues to write and hopes to be able to share her stories with the world for many years to come.


EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL CONTENT!

Be sure to visit The Immortal Prudence Blackwood’s publicity page to download free exclusive digital content!

 

The House on Rosebank Lane eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb: 

Edinburgh, 1953.

Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong.

But, seven years later – after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss – Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten – alone, with a young family to care for – must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive.

From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

Millie Gray does a great job giving us a look back at Edinburgh through the 50s toward the 70s, not only that but she gives you a truly heartstring tugging and simultaneously heartwarming tale of not just one woman but the others in her life. At first, I found it difficult to feel sympathy for Kirsten but that soon changed once you saw the radiance of her love as a mother. After that, I may not have approved of everything she did or didn’t do, but I gained respect for our main protagonist. I also greatly enjoyed the look back into the pasts of some of the other characters. Kirsten’s love for a mother isn’t just radiant but it’s real, she makes mistakes and deals with lasting consequences but you never once question the fact that she loved her children, and I think that’s what really drew me to this story, the heart of it all. You wanted to cheer them on, Kirsten, Dixie, Stella, Eddie, Jane, even Jessie! I was not expecting this to make me tear up, but it did and it was a satisfying read that I really didn’t want to put down until I’d finished it.

I would recommend for anyone who reads these sort of heartwarming and tear-inducing tales, Millie Gray has certainly done a brilliant job with it!

The object of this story wasn’t the romance but that did fit in nicely [and a good ‘slow burn’ if I may!] it was about the love of Motherhood, and even a bit of Fatherhood at one part. I can honestly say I don’t usually want to read ‘mushy’ or emotional reads but I wanted to read this one as it was a story located in Edinburgh.

This doesn’t drag on, and I think one of my few complaints besides that I didn’t always like Kirsten (and I wouldn’t say that was a complaint) was that I felt it was unresolved where Stella was concerned but I still greatly enjoyed it. I cried a little, got exasperated, sighed in frustration and smiled at the end. Makes for a pretty great read if you ask me.