Saturday, May 12, 2018

"Witch on First" by Juliette Harper

Having survived their fight with a Creavit witch, Jinx and Tory thought things would settle down for while. Boy were they wrong. Their Aos si mentor/teacher seems to be missing important things happening around her and not sensing things that she should be noticing. A mysterious chess set been delivered to their coffee shop as an anonymous gift. It is a beautiful set that no one seems to want to touch, yet in the mornings the pieces have been rearranged in a different pattern than when the shop closed the night before.

A dead body is found on the bench outside their shop one morning, The dead man was a familiar face around town and It seems that he was killed in a manner meant to imitate a mountain lion’s attach. His death did not happen outside the shop, but was positioned there with a dagger pinning a note to his chest. It appears that someone is trying to send them a message, though who or exactly why remains to be seen.

This was book 4 in the Jinx Hamilton series. Like the previous books, I enjoyed reading this one a great deal. My copy was from the 6 book box set, though the book is also available individually. Ms. Harper writes a fascinating tale involving mystery, magic, and all sorts of mayhem. It was a lot of fun to read, and the emotions displayed by the characters felt very realistic. Like the other books in the series, I have enjoyed reading this one and am looking forward to continuing on with this series. It is definitely becoming one of my favorite fantasy/mystery series thus far.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"The Goblin Cinderella" by Lidiya Foxglove

Ellara was the only daughter of a well-to do High Elven merchant and a Goblin noblewoman. Her mother had died while Ellara was still young and her father had married an elven woman with two daughters of her own. Not too long after that, he died of a heart attack.

Ellara became a hated and abused servant in her own home until the day when a former business partner of her father’s arrives. He tells her of a secret inheritance that her stepmother was unaware of and promises to take her away from the harsh life she has endured since her father’s passing. Just before he is supposed to return to steal her away, Ellara is given a chance to go to the elven prince’s ball. Unable to refuse a chance to show up her stepsisters, she does chose to go. Her life afterwards will never again be the same.

I loved reading this story. I have always enjoyed “twisted fairy tales” and this one was excellently written and a very fun and unique twist on the classic Cinderella story. There is one thing to be aware of however, this is not a story meant for younger readers. The book is described as a fairy tale with heat, and it definitely provides the heat. It is not the first book in this series, however each book can be read as a standalone story without the reader feeling lost. I would definitely recommend this one if you like twists on familiar fairy tales and don’t mind them having a steamy side. I know I really enjoyed this one and will be looking for the rest of the series to read as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Mackinac Island Christmas"
by Gail Gaymer Martin

Josie was supposed to meet her friend Carol & Carol’s son for a Christmas vacation on Mackinac Island. But soon after she checks into the hotel she gets word that Carol won’t able to make it after all. Her 2 year old son has been hospitalized & the doctors aren’t certain what is wrong. As Josie sat at lunch debating whether or not she should cut her vacation short, she meets Chris Banks who is visiting his grandfather who lives year round on the Island. Chris manages to convince Josie that she should stay. He promises to show her around the Island and help her to have a fun, if rather cold, holiday.

Chris tells Josie about the 4 year old girl he became a guardian to after his brother and wife were killed in a car crash. He is missing her as he had left Ellie with her maternal grandparents for the holiday. Josie inspires him to contact his parents and ask them if they will go pick up Ellie and bring her to him on the Island. The three of them do their best to make sure that Ellie has a wonderful and memorable Christmas. They also begin to help each other heal from past hurts and disappointments.

This was a lovely story. One of my favorite aspects of it was the accuracy. I spent 2 summers working on Mackinac Island when I was in college and appreciated the descriptions of the island. (If you ever get the chance to visit the Island, it is like stepping backwards in time.) I have never been there in winter, but the description of how cold the weather was matches well with my memory of northern Michigan weather in winter. There were a few spots where some typos slipped through the editing process, but they weren’t too bad. And how the characters interacted with each other and the joy experienced by young Ellie that winter on the island was enchanting. This was a very sweet story and I enjoyed it.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

"Flamewalker" by D.W. Vogel

Two neighboring countries; In one, orphaned girls who have come of age participate in Immolation Day. By walking through a magical wall of flame, some are chosen by the goddess to wield one of 3 powers and thus becoming seers, healers, or firemaidens. Kahlira, however seems to have been chosen to wield all 3 powers as well as a mysterious 4th power that is not identified nor ever been seen before. These girls are honored and trained to use their powers to help others. Their lives, while not easy are generally pleasant and happy. The one thing they must give up before the goddess gives them these powers is the ability to ever have children.

In their neighboring country, all young girls are forced to go through the Immolation Day flames. Those considered unfortunate enough to be gifted with such powers are now considered property of the king. They and all their family members are branded so that all know who and what they are. All are removed from their homes and taken to a prison town. The girls’ families are used to convince the girls that they must not ever disobey their orders, no matter what they are ordered to do. To do so means their families will be harshly punished. For any girls who somehow manage to avoid the Immolation Day flames, any who later seek the chance to secretly find their own Immolation Day flames and gain a power on their own are considered traitors. If caught, they are brought home in chains and their families are forced to watch them be burned alive to convince others not to try the same.

These two countries treat these gifted women so differently, though they are so close geographically in location. But what happens when the father of one girl who was burned alive seeks revenge on those he considers responsible. Having been forced to watch his daughter’s death, he stumbles upon a long forgotten secret that allows a man to steal these powers the goddess has given only to women. However doing so exacts a horrible price on the grieving father, for these gifts are only safely wielded by women.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The story captivated me from the beginning and I am very glad that I picked up a copy of the book up after seeing it at a book festival. Give this one a try if you get the chance. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I loved it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

"Harbor: The Seven Sisters of Siilverleaf, Book 2" by L.C. Ireland

When the Delaroe sisters were cursed by the Horrid Witch, their lives were changed forever. With the curse broken, they return to their lives and try to find husbands or do whatever else they might wish to do. But Hallie has found herself marked by a being who had come through a portal from another realm. Without help he will die, and as the only one who can see or hear him it becomes her fate to try to save him.

Unfortunately, as a reclusive bookworm, Hallie wants nothing more than to retire in her room and read. That choice is taken from her when she is kidnapped by a former associate of the Horrid Witch who wishes to use her connection to the mysterious Sayune to find him. For what purpose though, he seems to be reluctant to explain.

I enjoyed reading this book just as much as I did the previous one in this series. I did catch a couple of small typos, but other than that the writing and editing were excellent. I only put this one down when I was forced to by other obligations or I would have easily and willingly finished it in one sitting. I highly recommend reading this book.

Wings of Ink by Angelina Steffort

Anya, after spending years in a Tavrasian Prison expecting to be killed, is instead given to the Crow Fairies. She is now to become the brid...