Reviews

Review: Peppermint and Pentacles by Melanie Karsak 

Review

peppermint-and-pentacles
Peppermint and Pentacles

by Melanie Karsak
Steampunk Red Riding Hood #3
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Synopsis
Up on the housetop werewolves howl Out jumps good old Agent Louvel Down through the chimney chasing monsters quick Feeling far less jolly than Old Saint Nick Red Cape Society Agent Clemeny Louvel is used to chasing werewolves across London. But when she’s reassigned to a special case just days before Christmas, she learns that she’ll need more than a silver bullet to keep everyone on the nice list. Peppermint and Pentacles is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale set in Melanie Karsak’s bestselling steampunk universe.

What I thought
This is the third book in the Red Riding Hood Series. I love this steampunk retelling of Little Red Riding Hood! And I really love how you get them novella size pieces. I would not have thought I would but I like being able to pick one up and not have to put it down until I am done with it.

This story takes place on the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Clemeny who is used to taking down Werewolves is really out of her comfort zone in this one when she has to take down a creature she has never faced before.  Who is Clemeny’s partner in this one… none other than Agent Hunter.

I mean even though these books are really short this has been such a slow burn romance and I am living for every minute of it.

We get some of Agent Hunters back story, which ends up adding a whole new level of complicated in Clemeny’s mind regarding any possible relationship. Clemeny is all too aware of where she stands in the ranks of society, but Agent Hunter doesn’t seem to care about any of it.

All in all, I love watching Clemeny grow as a character. Also, I think this world is amazing if you didn’t know all of the author’s steampunk books live in this world.

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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New Releases

Book Blitz: Fractured Sleep

Fractured Sleep
(Fairy Tale Ink, #4)
Publication date: June 28, 2019
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, Fantasy

Fairy Tale Ink is proud to present these four retold stories of the classic, Sleeping Beauty. A story for every reader from best-selling and award-winning authors!

Aurora’s Fight, by Angela Brimhall Five years ago, Aurora was forced to live at Thornhurst Manor, the city insane asylum. Every night she dreads sunset when sleep becomes a wicked game of survival. When Aurora is kidnapped and imprisoned in The Briar, a vision reveals the desperate man in the next cell is her only hope in stopping the plague of her nightmares. Will she find a way to rescue this mysterious man before The Dragon’s death countdown reaches zero?

The Lonely Princess, by Jo Schneider: Everything changed in the 500 years Aurora slept. Now teenagers go to the Academy, where humans and fey live side-by-side and everyone pretends to get along. In her attempts to find her place in this new world, she meets Saru—a mysterious boy who delights in irritating her. Their attraction is instant, but his forgotten past might be their undoing.

Dragon’s Curse, by Adrienne Monson: When her nana is in a near-fatal car accident, Dawn is forced to reconcile her beliefs about magic. Her long-buried powers could save Nana’s life, but at a high price. Accepting magic means that the man Dawn dreamt about her whole life is real and that she’s the only one who can save him from a cursed sleep. To do that, she’ll have to face the terrifying dragon who put him there.

Restless, by Quinn Coleridge: Rory Kingston doesn’t want much. Just a good night’s sleep and a normal life free of magic. Yet Rory’s own royal pedigree keeps getting in the way of achieving these goals, not to mention her preoccupation with a new neighbor. Where the darkly handsome history professor goes, danger and mayhem follow. Has Phillip come to drag Rory back to the magical kingdom she left behind years ago or are his motives even more nefarious?

Goodreads / Amazon

SNEAK PEEKS:

At the Edge of Dreams by Angela Brimhall
(Steampunk)

Aurora pressed her back against the clock tower wall, clutching the stolen scroll to her chest. The whine of clicking machinery from the surrounding buildings tapped like a metronome in her head, beating out the rhythmic heartbeat of The Briar. She squeezed her eyes shut listening for the signal she’d been detected. But nothing came. Aurora’s chest fluttered when she peeked around the corner to Main Street.

Steam hissed from arterial pipes and veiny downspouts protruding from faceless citadels. Aurora searched through shadows for yellow-orange eyes. Mist clouded the alleyways wedged between the buildings, cloaking any Huntsman hiding from view, but she couldn’t see any patrolling the street.

Aurora didn’t hesitate. She bounded away from behind the wall and ran, not looking back. Alarms blared as she passed the city limits and met the lip of Spindlewood Forest.

They know.

Her thighs burned. Puffs of strained breath came in uncontrolled spurts, but the dissonant sound drove Aurora harder. She crashed through the threshold of trees and fought her way up the steep hill into the woodland’s heart.

Aurora pulled herself over the summit and crawled to the nearest bush, wheezing through pursed lips, clutching the stitch in her side. A twig snapped. The sound rode on a whisper of dank smoky air from the grove of trees two feet away.

Something was close.

The hair on Aurora’s neck rose, and she narrowed her eyes, peeking around the shrub. She gripped her piecemeal knife in one shaking hand, the scroll in the other, waiting for the metal minion to show himself.

Where are you?

Several cracks echoed in different directions around her. Blood rushed from Aurora’s face into her stomach. She whipped around, her head darting every which way, ears perked. Aurora crouched, knife out, ready to jab anything that came close.

I’m surrounded.

A skeletal metal face peered at Aurora from behind a large tree trunk five feet in front of her. It’s lifeless eyes twisted and whirred, yellow pupils fixating on her location. Aurora froze. The Huntsman stepped out from behind the tree and brandished a long bronze pistol.

Dragon’s Curse by Adrienne Monson
(Paranormal Romance)

I was going to explode. A restless energy had been building inside me for months now. There were times when it felt like my skin was the only thing keeping me from flying apart. There was no good reason for it. Frustration continued to grow and everything I’d done to ignore it and tamp it down seemed to only feed the impotent ire simmering beneath the surface.

When my coworker, Ben, had asked me out for the third time tonight, I’d lost it. I mean, yelled and came pretty close to slapping him. While he may have been annoying, he hadn’t deserved my freak out.

My phone played Sound of Silence to let me know it was ringing. All I wanted was to take a shower and wash the smell of coffee and baked goods off, but when I saw it was Nana, I answered. “Hey.” I put the speaker on so I could grab some water while I spoke. I tossed my keys on the counter and placed my phone next to them.

“What’s wrong?” Her confident voice flitted through my tiny apartment as if she were in the room.

My shoulders tensed and my defenses kicked in. “Why does something have to be wrong?”

“It’s in your tone. I can tell. What are you so mad about?”

That was the question I’d been asking myself for weeks. I glared at the phone as I drank. The cold water felt nice on my throat, but it was not enough to calm me.

“Dawn?” Nana called, her voice louder. “Don’t you give me that look.”

Rolling my eyes, I huffed. “You can’t see my face. You have no idea what look I may or may not be giving you.”

“I know you. You’re glaring a hot laser at the phone right now.”

It was all too easy to imagine her grey eyes meeting mine in challenge, never backing down. I’d bet anything she was folding her arms across her chest and that her lips were pulled into a stubborn line. “It’s a boy, isn’t it?” she asked.

Grinding my teeth, I picked the phone up from the counter and headed to the bathroom. “I don’t date, Nana. Why would you think it’s a boy?”

“What happened?” Her tone had softened and the concern I heard broke through the barrier I’d had up all evening.

My shoulders slumped and I put the phone down again to pull my long, blonde hair out of its ponytail. Nana didn’t say anything. She always knew when to wait. “Ben asked me out again,” I finally admitted.

“Why do you say that like it’s a horrible thing?”

I was positive that her brows were drawn together and that her thin lips were pulled down into a frown that showcased little wrinkles. It’s how she always looked when we approached this topic.

An image of a man with brown hair and brown skin entered my mind. He wasn’t real – just a man from my dreams that no one knew about. I couldn’t tell Nana he was the reason.

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Reviews

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Review

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Flame in the Mist
by Renée Ahdieh
Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult, Romance
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Synopsis
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

What I thought

Let’s get down to business to defeat The Huns.

So this is literally what has been playing in my head since I finished this book I’m not complaining because I love Mulan.

This is a loose Mulan retelling that takes place in Japan.

I am really glad that I waited so long to read this book when it first came out there was a lot of hate because people expected a strict Mulan retelling. This story takes place in Japan so the culture is very different than the movie since it takes place in mainland China. I think that this might be why people felt let down by the retelling aspect.

The Mulan essence lives in our main character Mariko. Due to actions out of her control, Mariko has to dress like a boy to survive. Mariko fights for what she feels is right no matter the cost. Also, we have the hate to love trope that we all know I am such a sucker for.

There are some big thing that happens at the end of this book that really has me on the edge of my seat to see what happens. This book is told from a few different perspectives that should all come together in the Smoke in the Sun. Well, at least I really hope they do.

I am going to read the two short stories that came in between books 1 and 2. And just in case you did not know this but they appear to be free on Amazon.

This story is part of the duology so I’m super excited to pick up the second installment.

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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New Releases

Book Blitz: The Lady Raven by Rebecca Henry

The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale by Rebecca Henry
Publication date: December 5, 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realises that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Baldric bent down, whispering into his wife’s ear. “I am going to drown you in the river, my love. I want you to hear my words and know that it is I who will kill you. Do not think that I do not know what you did.” Before Avelina could protest, her face was plunged into the icy water. She tried pulling her head up, but Baldric was too strong. She began to buck her legs around like a mule, desperate to make contact with Baldric, anything to weaken his grip. Baldric climbed on top of her and pinned her body beneath his. “Die, Avelina.” he growled. Hands were flying all around him as he drowned his wife, the only woman he ever loved. Princess Avelina was a fighter and she determined to stay alive, but it was to no avail.

Baldric kept her head under the water well after her body stopped moving. Avelina’s betrayal caused Baldric’s love to turn to hate, just as water turns to ice in the frozen kiss of winter.

“Die, you lying witch. Die! You do not deserve the life you have. You do not deserve me. You have taken everything I’ve loved away and now I will take everything from you.” Baldric’s hands trembled with rage as he dismounted his wife’s limp body. Baldric arose, looking around the grounds to ensure that no witnesses could testify to his crime. Still, he would not suffer the consequence of murdering his wife. To seal his innocence, he gathered heavy rocks from the bank and shoved them in Avelina’s robes.

“They will think it a suicide and my hands will never be traced to her death.” He bent down to see her face one last time before kicking her corpse into the lake.

“I loved you mind, body, and soul. I would have loved you until my dying breath, but I will never think of you again. From this day forth, you no longer consume my heart. May you rest in hell, my love.” He watched her body sink; he was triumphant, sentencing her to the punishment that fitted the crime: death.

Before her body disappeared into the ultramarine water, he spat on her. One final act of defiance.


Rebecca Henry is a newly published author. Her debut novel is The Lady Raven, A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those who have an affinity for fairy tales retold with a link to witches, magic and the macabre. Her second novel, Louisiana Latte, a chick lit comedy was released February 28th 2019. Louisiana Latte, is a feel good comedy that focuses on the bonds of sisters, and how audacious life can be when you have a diva for one! Both books are available on amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.

Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an author of two published books, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her latest novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. She is a serious vegan, gardener, crafter, wife and mom who practices yoga. She loves to laugh, her drug of choice and loves all things witchy with a hint of the macabre. Her favorite holiday is Halloween and her favorite movie of all time is Practical Magic.

Website / Instagram / Goodreads

 

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Blog Tour: Beauty’s Curse by C.S. Johnson

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Don’t you just love a good fairytale retelling? Today I have this gorgeous book to share with you, along with an excerpt to read, and a chance to win a print copy of this stunner!

Beauty's Curse


Beauty’s Curse
by C.S. Johnson
(Once Upon a Princess #1)
Publication Date: January 2016
Genre: Fairytale Retelling/ Historical Fantasy/ Romance

For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

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Excerpt

Rose and Theo discuss their next move in finding Titania, the queen of the fairies, in hopes she will be able to tell them how to break Rose’s curse.

***

She had never been one to waste her time; after all, she had so little of it left. But whether or not the weather cooperated with her was another matter entirely.

Rose looked up at the bleak sky, feeling the hood of her protective cloak sliding down from her face, exposing her nape at the end of her close-cropped hair. The wind tickled her skin, and rather than finding it charming and pleasant as she might have when she was younger, she found it taunting and terrifying.

Her gaze moved down from the crying skies to the sea, the rough and tumbling creature so keen on hogging every inch it could of the world’s edge.

There was nothing to it, she decided. They would have to enter into the cavern during the rain. According to the map Ethan had found, the entrance to Titania’s realm was not far down the cliff, and while it would be easier if the rain would stop and the tide would recede, Rose knew she could never count on life to make things easier for her if it could.

That was how Theo found her; looking down the edge of the cliffs, standing in the rain, and declaring all the world her enemy. No wonder she had insisted leaving the palace when she’d been thirteen, he thought. Even the grand palace would have demolished itself, had she been unable to fight her own way free of it. She was a warrior through and through.

Theo shook his head and pushed back the cover of his cloak. “I know that look,” he muttered, coming up from behind her. “And the answer is no.”

Rose would have normally grinned at the sight of her best friend following her out of the safety of the camp to talk. But ever since she and her group had finally found the location of the home of a powerful Fairy Queen, time seemed to crush into her a little bit more each day, pushing her into possible tomorrows long before her today’s had finished.

She pursed her lips together. “Come on. I’m the princess, remember? I’m the one in command here, Theo.”

He smiled at her. “You only pull rank when you know I’m right.” Crossing his arms, he added, “It’s only been two days, Rosary. We’ll give it at least one more before we go barreling in.”

He was not fooled by the calm look on her face; there would be a battle in getting her to agree.

He had known Rose–officially Princess Aurora Rosemarie Mohanagan of Rhone–for over ten years, ever since he arrived to work in the royal chapel, and he knew well her charms. It was impossible not to notice them, and knowing her well enough, it was impossible for him to fall for them–which, he knew, she both liked and hated on different occasions. Knowing her expressions just as well, Theo knew this time she hated it.

“Mary can protect us with a weather spell,” she argued.

He had to admit, halfway begrudgingly, he admired her tenacity as she refused to back down. “Mary is still tired from our battle with the Eastern Warlords. We’re all still tired, even you. The rest will be good for us. We have time enough for rest.”

“No, I don’t have time, Theo. My birthday is coming up.” Frustration and fear crept into the pattern of her speech.

“And you can spare a day now, and we’ll make up for it later.”

“What if we don’t?”

“You still have a whole year afterwards, Rosary.” Patience melted away into concern at her words. He knew she was upset and afraid, and there was little he could do about it.

That was why he had come, though, wasn’t it? The thought hit him with a disgruntled air. There were few reasons besides counsel and comfort that would cause one to bring a priest across continents and into battle. He was fortunate to have found a friend in the doomed princess of Rhone.

Available on Amazon

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C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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Blog Tour Schedule

May 13th
Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://readsandreels.com
Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com
I Love Books and Stuff (Excerpt) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com
Pages and Paw Prints (Review) http://pagesandpawprints.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) http://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com
Speedy Reader (Review) https://speedyreadercom.wordpress.com/

May 14th
I Smell Sheep (Excerpt) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk
Sophril Reads (Excerpt) https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
Love Books Group (Review) https://lovebooksgroup.com/

May 15th
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
The Cozy Pages (Excerpt) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/
Stacy is Reading (Review) https://stacyisreading.blogspot.com/?m=0
Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

May 16th
Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com
An Ocean a Glimmer (Review) http://anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com
The Bookworm Drinketh (Excerpt) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/
Tsarina Press (Excerpt) https://www.tsarinapress.com

May 17th
B is for Book Review (Review) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com/
Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
The Must Reads (Review) http://themustreads.com/
Eclectic Review (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/

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Reviews

Review: Alphas and Airships by Melanie Karsak

Review

Alphas and Airships

Alphas and Airships by Melanie Karsak
Fantasy, Retelling, Steampunk
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Synopsis
With Lionheart as the new alpha, the streets of London are quiet. But above the realm, mischief is brewing. While airship pirates are a common plague upon the kingdom, the airship Fenrir proves particularly troublesome, especially on a full moon. Clemeny must take to the skies before these shape-shifting Vikings kick off a new Ragnarok. Easier said than done now that she’s down one good eye, a partner, and not to mention the fact that she gets motion sick. On top of that, the new scar across her face makes Clemeny feel like she’ll have better luck intimidating her foes than finding a beau. But Agent Edwin Hunter, recently assigned as head of Clemeny’s division, is proving to be an interesting prospect. Despite her apprehensions, it’s up to Agent Louvel to chase Fenrir across the heavens. Alphas and Airships is a retelling of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale set in Melanie Karsak’s bestselling steampunk universe.

Alphas and Airships is Book 2 in the Steampunk Red Riding Hood series.

What I thought

I reviewed book 1 Wolves and Daggers if you are interested in reading it please click here.

As Clemeny emerges back into the field she is given a new partner Agent Harper a new recruit into their department. There appears to be some unrest with a wolf pack in Scottland…okay I am just going to say it they are Airship Vikings Pirates! So in this book, you get a little Norse Mythology mixed in.

I am really loving this series and not just because a character I love from another series has a cameo. I like the character Clemeny and her determination. There are somethings that happened in this book that I really want to see what caused them to happen.

I only had one big drawback to this story Clemeny is obsessed with finding love. I get it that it is a product of the time period but it still annoyed me. I felt that it was a little over the top because she is such an independent character it just didn’t seem to fit with her personality.

If you have read the book and want to talk more leave me a comment below.

My Rating: /54.5 starsFollow me on other platforms:
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Reviews

Review: Wolves and Daggers by Melanie Karsak

Review

Wolves and Daggers
Wolves and Daggers

by Melanie Karsak
Fantasy, Retelling, Steampunk
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Synopsis
Who’s afraid of the big, bad werewolf?

When London’s brightest tinkers and alchemists come up missing, Red Cape Society Agent Clemeny Louvel is on the case.

To help her get the problem in hand, Queen Victoria assigns her a temporary partner—a werewolf with a knightly history and a tendency to be far too flirtatious for either of their good. Can she trust him to help her chase down the monsters they’re hunting?

Wolves and Daggers is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale set in Melanie Karsak’s bestselling steampunk universe.

What I thought
Okay, so, a few years ago I picked up my very first steampunk book. I had no idea what steampunk was but it sounded cool so I gave it a shot. From there I fell in love, the book I picked up was Melanie Karsak’s first book in her Airship chronicles series. Now, why does this matter, you might be asking since this is clearly not apart of that series. Well, it’s in the same world!

So now with what drew me to this series I now can begin to tell you that I loved it. This is a novella series so all of the books are short which is really nice. However, that is also why I knocked off one star even though I know this London and how things are supposed to go someone just picking it up may not feel as connected to it since there is not a lot of world building. Don’t get me wrong things are laid out well and this twist on red riding hood is amazing. Hey, I’m biased because I love the world and want more of it. Due to the length of this book (122 pages), I do not feel that I can really go into it too much without spoiling something. I can say that I ordered the next two books as soon as I was done with this one.

So if you like retellings at all I say pick up this first book. You will love it!

My Rating: /54 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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