Reviews

Review: Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys by B.G. Hilton

Book Review

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys
by B.G. Hilton
Steampunk, Fantasy
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Synopsis
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 I thought

This book was received from the Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I was a little worried in the beginning of the book when everything was being set up, I was not sure how I felt about everything that the author was trying to accomplish. However, as the book progressed I began to really like it. It was really a fun read. The witty banter, mostly from Gladys, made the story that much more enjoyable.

This is set in a more traditional steampunk setting aka London; however, the author added in extraterrestrial beings. Yes, steampunk with aliens who would have thought that this would have been something that I really would have enjoyed.

I enjoyed Gladys’s character and I would love to see a book based on Charlie’s mom’s detective stories. I can’t help it, it sounded Holmesian. Gladys are Charlie’s opposites in so many ways and that is why they work so well together. They are able to progress through the story due to the differences and strengths.

The only thing that didn’t sit right with me was the constant telling of how dim everyone thinks Charlie is. No one really saw his potential so he moved through life as if he really didn’t have any. I just feel it was stated way too often.

If you would like to read a steampunk with an alien twist you really should give this one a try.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger

Book Review

Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
(Delightfully Deadly #2)
Steampunk, Fantasy, Romance
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Synopsis
A vampire hive descending into madness. A beautiful spy with a sparkly plan. The bodyguard who must keep them from killing each other.

New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.

SPY

Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office’s best and most decorative fixer. She’s sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.

VERSUS KNIGHT

Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.

Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.

In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.

“This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans.” ~ Publishers Weekly, starred review (Soulless)

Spinning off from the Finishing School series, featuring deadly ladies of quality, this story stands alone, but chronologically follows Poison or Protect before the start of the Parasol Protectorate Series. It’s Cold Comfort Farm meets Queer Eye meets What We Do In The Shadows from the hilarious author of the Parasol Protectorate books, perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Jodi Taylor, or Meljean Brook.

Delicate Sensibilities?

Contains fraternizing vampires and one very curious young lady, who asks about seduction, sometimes in detail but mostly in retrospect. May also involve excessive use of velvet, melodramatic poetry, and the strategic application of interpretive ballet.

What I thought

We finally got a Dimity book!!!

I loved Dimity in the Finishing School books and I always wondered how her story would play out since you could tell that killing was never going to be her thing. I mean she faints at the sight of blood. She was always the fixer putting things back to rights after her friends made a mess of things.

This book had me sucked in from page one. Dimity may have gone in and fixed the hive but when it came to each of the hive members she listened and supported them as they found what made them happy. Which in the end did more for them than new curtains ever could have.

I don’t want to say much more since it is a novella and I don’t want to spoil the whole story for you.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

Book Review

The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron
(The Goddess War #1)
Fantasy
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Synopsis
When their father is murdered by imperial soldiers, two siblings set out on opposite paths—one will destroy the Empire forever and the other will save it—in this thrilling new Russian inspired epic fantasy from Jon Skovron.

Sonya is training to be a Ranger of Marzanna, an ancient sect of warriors who have protected the land for generations. But the old ways are dying, and the rangers have all been forced into hiding or killed off by the invading Empire.

When her father is murdered by imperial soldiers, she decides to finally take action. Using her skills as a ranger she will travel across the bitter cold tundra and gain the allegiance of the only other force strong enough to take down the invaders.

But nothing about her quest will be easy. Because not everyone is on her side. Her brother, Sebastian, is the most powerful sorcerer the world has ever seen. And he’s fighting for the empire. 

What I thought
I will be completely honest this was a cover buy. Yes, I can be that shallow to buy a book because the cover is gorgeous. So I am happy to be able to say that I really enjoyed this book.

This is a slower-paced Fantasy novel but I really enjoyed it. There are multiple POVs in this story. You can tell whose perspective it is by the image in the chapter heading. I really loved that each POV had its own symbol. The two main POVs are Sonya and Sebastian siblings that find themselves on opposite sides of a brewing war.

I really enjoyed Sonya’s character; she makes her own path choosing to be a Ranger of Marzanna (Goddess of Death and Winter) knowing that the Empire tried to kill all the Rangers when they took over her country approximately 20 years earlier. Sonya wants to help the people of her country by doing what she thinks is right all in her own way.

Now Sebastian was another story, he annoyed me so much. As strong-willed as Sonya was Sebastian was gullible. Maybe he was overly sheltered because his parents didn’t want him used as a weapon…but still, he had a war hero for a father you would think he would not be so easily manipulated over and over again. Also, his father was on the winning side of the past war and he didn’t want him to join the military. That really should have told him something. It really is hard to believe that these two people came from the same parents. Sebastian is a pawn and I hope his eyes are opened and he grows a set in the upcoming books.

Has anyone else read this book yet?

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: A Well-Kept Promise by L.G. Rollins

Book Review

A Well-Kept Promise by L.G. Rollins
(A Lockhart Sweet Regency Romance, #5)
Regency Romance
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Synopsis
It is a truth universally acknowledged that two conniving minds are better than one.

Lady Venetia Lockhart has one goal—to prove to her family she is healthy enough for the London Season next year. But between an inattentive family and unwanted suitors, Venetia finds herself struggling to just make it through the hunting season.

Edmund Dawkes, Marquess of Ashbrook has his eyes on the lovely Miss Weatherford. However, despite his best efforts, she doesn’t seem to notice him at all.

With Venetia wanting to avoid all attachments and Edmund seeking to make one, they strike up an instant friendship—and an instant scheme to help one another. After all, what could go wrong with a strategy involving a lady’s glove, a fake love letter, and a few secret conversations? However, when their actions only complicate already strained relationships, and a budding romance gets in the way, can Venetia and Edmund sort through the rubble of their carefully thought out plans and find their way to one another?

What I thought
I received a copy of this book from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

We have reached the final story of the Lockhart siblings. This series wrapped up so wonderfully, I am very happy with how the entire series has come to an end. This is Venetia’s story and just like all of her siblings love does not come without its challenges. If I am completely honest Venetia was not my favorite of the Lockhart children; however, with this story I grew to like her very much, and of all of the love interests that the siblings have had I think I like Edmund the best. So it surprises me to say that I think that this is my favorite book in this series.

This book can be read as a standalone; however, I would suggest you read the series from the beginning.

You know when the writing is good in a book when you feel butterflies along with the characters. I find it amazing how invested the author can make you feel regarding these characters.

What may be my favorite thing about these characters is their strength. Both of our main characters have challenges that they have to overcome to live the lives they want.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

Book Review

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl
by Theodora Goss
(The Extraordinary Adventures
of the Athena Club #3)
Historical Fantasy, Mystery
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Synopsis
Mary Jekyll and the Athena Club race to save Alice—and foil a plot to unseat the Queen, in the electrifying conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Nebula Award finalist and Locus Award winner The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club…especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucinda van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes!

As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.

What I thought
This is the final book in the Athena Club at least for now. I really hope that the author/publisher decides to come back to these characters they were just so fun to read. After the second book, I was a little worried how big this book would be and I was happy to see that this book was more condensed. I am not sure how the author did it but all the new storylines that were introduced in the second book along with the ones remaining from the first were beautifully tied up.

This installment picks up right where the second book left off with the kidnapping of Alice and the unknown whereabouts of Sherlock Holmes. One of my favorite elements of this story is that all of these characters are unique. They all have strong personalities and yet they all complement each other.

The injected banter between the characters about what is being written continued to add to the story. It gave these women that are essentially experiments (by men) a very human feel. At its core this is about women being able to save themselves and not needing men to survive, which is a very different ideal than what was believed during the Victorian times.

I would love to see the Athena Club made into a TV/Netflix series.

Have you read the Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter yet? I have a review for it here if you are interested.

If you have read this series how do you feel about this ending?

My Rating: /5

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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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