Reviews

Review: Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi

Book Review

Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi
(Scarlet Odyssey #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: 47North
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Synopsis
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.

Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.

Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.

On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption. 

What I thought
I was sent a copy of this book from Megan Beatie Communications and 47North for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a character-driven fantasy novel which is my favorite to read, and it’s inspired by another culture so when I was asked if I was interested in reading it I jumped at the chance and I was not disappointed. It is really hard to believe that this is a debut novel. 

This book has multiple perspectives however this story keeps moving in one direction.  I love it when I can follow a story and not have to jump around and keep track of everyone.  

From the first chapter, I was pulled into this world.  This story takes place in an African inspired fantasy world. You follow multiple perspectives throughout the story but the heart of the story focuses on Salo. In Salo’s world, Men become warriors and Women become Mystics.  But Salo doesn’t quite fit into that framework. Through events, Salo becomes a Mystic and in consequence, is sent on a journey for his Queen. 

In this journey, Salo picks up two companions that also do not fit into where society wants to place them, which added to my enjoyment of the story. 

I can’t wait to see all of these perspectives come together in the next book.  

If you enjoy character-driven fantasy novels you really should pick this one up.

Also, If you have read this book and want to talk about it please let me know.  There was so much I wanted to say but I didn’t want to spoil anyone.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman

Book Review

To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman
Bow Street Bachelors #2
Regency Romance
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Synopsis
A case of secret identities finds reunited lovers on opposite sides of the law in this fun, flirty Regency romance.

There’s only one case Bow Street agent Alex Harland, Earl of Melton, hasn’t cracked: the identity of the mysterious woman who stole a kiss from him before he left for war. He’s neither forgotten–nor forgiven–her for leaving him wanting. When he starts investigating the Nightjar, an elusive London jewel thief, he keeps running into the alluring Emmy Danvers, who stirs feelings he hasn’t felt in years.

Even though Emmy’s loved Alex for years, she can’t risk revealing her heart, or her identity as the Nightjar. With Alex on her case, Emmy knows that her secrets are in danger of being discovered. Their cat and mouse game heats up with every interaction, but when Emmy’s reputation–and life–is at risk, will Alex realize that some rules are made to be broken for love?

What I thought
I was sent a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I loved the first installment of this series, and I couldn’t wait for this one to come out. I was not disappointed. I read all but 30 pages of this book in one day. This book can be read as a stand-alone even though it is the second book in the Bow Street Bachelors series. So don’t let the fact that its the second book stop you from reading it.

I want to say that this is more of a second chance romance than enemies to lovers romance. I enjoy both but I wanted to put that out there just in case you pick this up thinking it is one thing and then being disappointed.

Alex Hartland a second son and an Earl in his own right occasionally handles difficult cases for Bow Street. Emmy has been forced to take up the mantle to the Nightjar due to her family being blackmailed. All Emmy wants is to find someone that knows her secrets and can still love her. Everything is against these two opposites coming together.

I enjoyed the cat and mouse chase that happens in this story. Emmy just can help herself from pushing his buttons. And even though Hartland knows that she is the Nightjar he just can’t bring himself to end the game. I really enjoyed watching the back and forth between these two.

If you are looking for a fun historical romance then you should give this one a try.

My Rating: /5

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Memes · TBR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? June 29, 2020

It's Monday What are you reading.png

Good Morning!

It’s the start of another week. It’s Monday! What are you Reading is hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, this is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind.

Recent Books

Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi | (Scarlet Odyssey #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads

Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.

Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.

Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.

On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption. 


The Familiars by Stacey Halls | Historical Fiction, Fantasy | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.


The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu | (The Eldest Curses #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy | 3 Stars | Add to Goodreads

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation.

A lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who, against all odds, is finally his boyfriend. It doesn’t seem like too much for the centuries-old High Warlock to ask for. But no sooner have they settled in Paris than an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.


Wrath of the Bloodeye by Joseph Delaney | (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles #5) | Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads

‘The moment of danger is close. Very soon our enemies will be here.’

As danger increases, the Spook sends his apprentice, Tom, to be trained by another spook whose methods are harsh and tough.

But faced with a powerful water witch, Tom’s new master makes a fatal mistake, leaving Tom to face his enemies alone.

Can the Spook get there in time to save Tom?

Together can they beat such terrible dark power?

And will the Spook’s own mistakes give final victory to the dark?


To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman | (Bow Street Bachelors #2) | Regency Romance | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads

A case of secret identities finds reunited lovers on opposite sides of the law in this fun, flirty Regency romance.

There’s only one case Bow Street agent Alex Harland, Earl of Melton, hasn’t cracked: the identity of the mysterious woman who stole a kiss from him before he left for war. He’s neither forgotten–nor forgiven–her for leaving him wanting. When he starts investigating the Nightjar, an elusive London jewel thief, he keeps running into the alluring Emmy Danvers, who stirs feelings he hasn’t felt in years.

Even though Emmy’s loved Alex for years, she can’t risk revealing her heart, or her identity as the Nightjar. With Alex on her case, Emmy knows that her secrets are in danger of being discovered. Their cat and mouse game heats up with every interaction, but when Emmy’s reputation–and life–is at risk, will Alex realize that some rules are made to be broken for love?


Currently Reading

Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café by Jodi Thomas | (Honey Creek #1) | Mystery, Romance | Add to Goodreads

Piper Jane Mckenzie, mayor of Honey Creek, won’t let a major scandal rip her quirky hometown apart, or jeopardize her dream of one day running for higher office. So she’s willing to welcome undercover detective Colby McBride, hired to help solve the mystery behind her wannabe fianc�’s disappearance. Colby’s cover? That he is an old boyfriend now begging Piper for a second chance–always when there are plenty of townsfolk around to witness his shenanigans.

Piper hardly knows whether to laugh or cry, especially when she finds herself drawn to the handsome rascal. He’s not the only newcomer she has to deal with. There’s a new interim preacher in town, Sam Cassidy. Drifting from one assignment to another since his one love died, Sam isn’t sure he’s the right fit for Honey Creek. But as Piper knows, this is a place chock-full of surprises. And if she can keep her town–and her heart–from going completely off the rails, there may be a sweet, unexpected future in store. . . 


Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys by B.G. Hilton | Steampunk, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Hungover aristocrat Edward “Charlie” Decharles awakens in the back of a steam-cab, only to discover that the driver has been murdered. Unused to feeling responsible for anything, he feels compelled to find the killer. As he investigates, he meets “The Amazing” Gladys Dunchurch, a stage magician’s assistant whose employer has disappeared – and not in a good way. They form an alliance – Charlie will help Gladys with his considerable resources and Gladys will help Charlie with her even more considerable brains.

Soon they discover that their respective mysteries are not only connected to each other, but related to other seemingly unrelated strangeness transpiring in London – the murder of an astronomer, an attack on a patent medicine factory, a mysterious cult in an idyllic town, and reports of deadly creatures in the London sewers.

Charlie and Gladys find themselves pitted against dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth. And lurking behind it all lies a sinister cabal that knows the secret origin of the steam-powered society that powers their world. Can our heroes save the day, or will the fallout from that secret destroy two worlds?

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys is a fun, witty Steampunk adventure yarn, featuring a cast of eccentric characters.


What are you hoping to read this week?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Defense of Exeter Station by Thom Bedford @ThomBedford and @Shalini_G26

The Defense of Exeter Station
by Thom Bedford
Publication Date: June 27, 2020
Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera
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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Website

At the turn of the twenty-ninth century, the Milky Way is on the verge of a galactic war. The Combined Systems Alliance continues to expand their territory—much to the displeasure of the Free Planetary Union who, until now, lacked the resources to halt the encroachment. In a bid to wrest control from the Alliance and retake their former colonies, Union agents throughout the Alliance Fleet organize a mass insurgency seizing countless assets. During the ensuing chaos, numerous ships are decimated and millions of lives are lost.

Retired Alliance Commander Tanic Sandorn finds himself stranded on a border station after the Union launches an all-out assault. Fighting against anxieties from the incident that pushed him into early retirement, Sandorn accepts being recalled to active duty and propelled to the front lines. This time, he will protect his crew and the inhabitants of the Exeter star system from any approaching threat—never again will he leave anyone behind.

But outnumbered, outgunned, and outflanked, Exeter Station is left running at a fraction of its operating capacity. Sandorn and the Alliance officers on board must strategize quickly and carefully to hold their ground, or they will be forced to surrender the station, the system, and their lives.

For fans of epic space operas, like Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, Jasper T. Scott’s Dead Space series, and David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. 

Every crew member aboard the Veloz ran from stem to stern working tirelessly to patch every hole in the ship. The damage was critical to the point that nearly half the ship had been evacuated. With so little power available, compartmental force fields were inoperable, leaving only a single fire door between repair crews and the vacuum of space in many areas.

Not a single deck was spared at least some devastation, for as the ship’s superstructure twisted and contorted under heavy firepower, panels came loose and circuits overloaded throughout resulting in debris littering every room and corridor. The floors weren’t only littered with discarded paneling and blown circuitry, but also injured, dying, and dead crew members. The initial unexpected surprise attack caused the most death and destruction, taking over a hundred lives. Then as the battle wore on, further loss of life was inevitable.

The victory was Pyrrhic, but it was a victory, nonetheless.

Thom grew up in suburban Cheshire, England with his parents and brother. During school he had a propensity for creativity, either writing, building models, painting, or programming. Every subject choice was motivated by creating and building, whether it be design technology, graphic design, programming, or creative writing.

After studying Computer Science at The University of Manchester, he started working as a Software Developer. Following in his father’s footsteps, he worked as a Technical Consultant in London for several years, then in Data Warehousing back in Manchester.

In his spare time, Thom still writes, build models, paints, and programs, but nowadays also listens to a lot of music, watches a lot of films, and enjoys playing computer games.

His love for science fiction comes from blockbuster films like Starship Troopers, Star Wars and Star Trek, as well as B-movies like Wing Commander, Pitch Black, and Iron Sky. Computer games like Homeworld, EVE-Online, and Stellaris, and books like Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, Jasper T. Scott’s Dead Space series, and David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. In other words, sci-fi—particularly space opera—in any media.

Thom currently lives in Cheshire, England, with his wife, Helen, and their two cats.

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New Releases

Blog Tour: Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey

Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 23rd 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Young Adult

A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen—with a dash of murder—Cindy Anstey’s Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.

Some secrets are better left buried…

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks—and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case—with the help of a charming young policeman—she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

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Review


I was gifted a copy of this book as part of the Xpresso Reads Blog Tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

At this point, I have read all but one of Cindy Anstey’s books (a Christmas one) and I have enjoyed them all. This story takes place in Regency/Georgian England and is a young adult mystery/romance. I love books based in this time period I think they have become some of my favorite to read. They are quick reads and I enjoy them very much.

Since this is a young adult book I guessed the bad guy fairly early in the story but the ride made the book worth it. Sophia is a very intelligent, strongwilled, and opinionated person, which for this time period is not kind to women. This is what makes characters like Sophia my favorite she does her thing no matter what society thinks. In walks Jeremy a Bow Street Runner to investigate the murder of Sophia’s cousin. Jeremy sees value in how Sophia looks at things especially since it is different than the way he does. This makes them a great team.

The interactions between Jeremy and Sophia were very cute. Everyone saw it coming but them 🙂

There is a scene that I loved with Sophia’s dad. Even though her wanting to be Bow Street Runner is not seemly for a Lady of her standing or any job for that matter. He is supportive. If you have read the story its the one in the hallway.

If you enjoy young adult mystery romances than I think you should give this one a try.

Author Bio


Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Deception and Desire by Aubrey Wynne

Deception and Desire
Aubrey Wynne
Publication date: June 16th 2020
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance

Two rebellious souls… An innocent deception… One scorching catastrophe…

Welcome to book 1 in the MacNaughton Castle Romance by Aubrey Wynne. Read for Free in Kindle Unlimited!

Fenella Franklin is too tall, too intelligent, and has no title. Her talents lie in numbers and a keen business mind, not in the art of flirtation. When she becomes the object of a cruel wager during her come-out in London, she vows to put off the penniless noblemen vying for her sizeable dowry. But her season is cut short after her mother discovers the subterfuge, and Fenella retreats to Scotland.

Lachlan MacNaughton has neither the temperament nor the patience to be the next MacNaughton chief, preferring to knock heads together rather than placate bickering clansmen. He readily accepts a reprieve to help with the family’s textile mill in Glasgow. A sizzling chance encounter in the rain introduces him to the new female bookkeeper. His grandfather may want him back in the Highlands, but his heart has been lost in the Lowlands.

The attraction between Fenella and Lachlan sparks a passion not even two rebellious souls can deny.

But an innocent deception tests their newfound love and threatens the freedom they both crave.

A MacNaughton Castle Romance
Book 1 – Deception and Desire
Book 2 – An Allusive Love
Book 3 – A Bonny Pretender

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Reaching the street, he squinted through the drizzle in time to see a dark form dashing toward him, head down against the light rain.

Smack! The woman collided with Lachlan. He spread his feet to maintain his balance as the slate-colored gown and pelisse crumpled before him. Without thought, he swept her up before she hit the wet ground.

Her straw bonnet was askew, tiny droplets of rain sparkled in her pale blonde hair, and long lashes spiked like jagged crescents against her smooth cheeks. Her alabaster skin gave her the appearance of a fine Greek sculpture, except for the pink spreading across her cheeks. When her lids fluttered open, clear gray eyes blinked owlishly at him. Mesmerizing was the first word that came to his mind. He was unable to tear his gaze from the exquisite face.

A wet angel, he thought.

“Oh,” was all the angel said, a sheen of moisture covering her skin. A hand went to her neck – a long and graceful neck.

“Aye,” said Lachlan, though it sounded more like a growl to his ears. Her warmth seeped into his upper body, and he squelched the urge to toss her up and resettle her closer to his chest.

She trembled slightly; her full, pink lips slowly turned up in a half-smile. A single drop of moisture clung to the corner of her mouth. It beckoned to him, dared him… Lachlan dipped his head and brushed his lips against her velvet ones, his breath catching at his own audacity. The rain swathed them, their damp clothes sticking to slick skin, diminishing the barrier of her cotton dress. Her chest rose and fell, pushing against his own.

Those liquid silver orbs blinked again as he raised his head and went wide with surprise, accentuating their dark outer ring of black. Then her feet kicked against his tight hold. His gaze traveled down her legs, long shapely limbs molded by her damp skirt, then back up to the bonniest face he’d seen in years. Carefully, Lachlan set her down, gripping her elbows to give her some support. She was slender but tall for a female, the crown of her head just at his eye level. He wouldn’t get a crick in his neck looking down at her. Aye, he’d like to spend more time… exploring that face.

Author Bio:

Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. Obsessions include wine, history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas. Her Chicago Christmas series has received the Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and twice nominated as a Rone finalist by InD’tale Magazine.

Aubrey’s first love is medieval romance but after dipping her toe in the Regency period in 2018 with the Wicked Earls’ Club, she was smitten. This inspired her spin-off series Once Upon a Widow and the Scottish Regency series A MacNaughton Castle Romance with Dragonblade Novels.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon / Newsletter / Facebook Reading Group


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Reviews

Review: Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz

Book Review

Jo & Laurie
by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz
Young Adult, Retelling, Romance
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Synopsis
1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

What I thought
I was sent a copy of this book from Megan Beatie Communications through Net Galley for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I feel the need to state that this review is coming from someone that has not read Little Women nor have I watched the movie. I feel this is important to point out because I think that if you have read Little Women or even watched the movie you would already have some connection with these characters from the beginning.

I am a fan of Melissa de la Cruz’s books and this one did not disappoint.

This story takes place between the publication of Little Women and Good Wives. This book is first and foremost a love story between Joe and Laurie. But another bonus is that this book shows how a whole everyone in a family can deal with grief differently. I do not think this was meant to be a main plot point but I think it was displayed well.

This book took me about 100 pages to really get into it but I really think its because I did not know the original story.
I loved watching Joe and Laurie’s relationship. Everyone in the story knew that those two were meant to be together except Joe. She had a lot to work through to discover that she is allowed to be happy too. I liked the portrayal of grief and depression in this story and seeing how it was worked through. I felt so many feelings while reading this book that I did not expect to feel.

I recommend this book to anyone that thinks that the story sounds interesting. Just note if you have not read Little Women it will take a little bit to connect with these characters.

My Rating: /5

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