Synopsis Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
What I thought Thank you Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.
This is a YA historical fantasy debut. The cover for this book is amazing it drew me to this book. As a whole, I liked this story. I would say that this book is much more historical than a fantasy the only fantasy element is the search for the philosophers stone, but then again this was something that did happen. So for me, I was hoping for a little more fantasy but that was just me and no fault of the book.
This book starts out at a slow pace, then it picks up, then slows down again. I am specifying this just so you know not to go into this looking for something that is fast-paced. I was lucky that what I needed at the time was a slower book so this fit the bill perfectly. When the book slowed down in the second half of the book there were times where it felt the story got lost. During this time I became annoyed with some of the characters that I had liked up to that point.
In the second half of the book, I became very annoyed with some of the characters that I liked up to this point. And by the end, there was only one character that I wanted to have a good ending.
I enjoyed the book as a whole and I would definitely read something by this author again.
Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?
By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.
Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.
But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?
Sebastian’s voice boomed through the theater. “Ladies and gentlemen, for the last five and a half years, you have had the opportunity to experience The Witches of Vegas four nights and three afternoons a week right here at the Sapphire Resort and Casino’s main theater. But today, you will be the very first audience to witness something truly spectacular!”
Isis’ shoulders tensed. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach. She had levitated many times, but never in front of more than four people. This time, it would be in front of over four thousand strangers. Wow, goosebumps popped out all over her arms and legs. She took deep breaths, just as they taught her, in through the nose and out through the mouth. It always helped calm her nerves. Right now, they really needed calming.
“We are about to bring out a new, young witch to the stage,” Sebastian explained. “She will have you believing that a young girl can become lighter than air!”
“Lighter than air.” Isis closed her eyes and chanted under her breath. “Lighter than air.” Her hands and feet tingled with each step toward the stage. The magic flowed through her veins like a steady leak from a faucet.
“Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the future goddess of magic, Isis!
The crowd applauded. A slow, soothing music played through the speakers. Isis took a deep breath, then stepped out from behind the curtain. She could hear the audience but couldn’t see them behind the blinding spotlights. “Lighter than air,” she whispered a few more times.
Isis raised her right foot as if resting it on the first step of a long staircase. She placed her left foot next to the right. A few inches separated the soles of her bare feet from the stage floor. The crowd let out an “ooh.”
Time to make them “ahh.”
Isis reached up with both hands, then, like a swimmer at the bottom of a pool, pulled her body straight up. She floated until her hands touched the ceiling. Way too high. Isis pushed against the ceiling so she’d float down ever so slightly. She let her body go horizontal, then breast-stroked past the spotlights and directly over the audience. Astonished faces pointed her way.
“Lighter than air,” she said once again as a reminder to herself not to lose concentration.
Thank you R&R Book Tours and Mark Rosendorf for providing me with a copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was an easy to read YA book. The writing style puts me more in the mind if it being for lower YA but some of the content was more on the graphic side. I get why they were there I just don’t know where to put the book in the YA realm.
The easiest way to explain this book is a group of Witches pretending to be Magicians pretending to be Witches.
I enjoyed reading this book it was a nice easy read for a Weekend. There is a mix of pov’s between the adults (Vampires) and the kids. I like how in this series the witch’s magic is tied to their emotions. This creates a lot of obstacles for a 15-year-old and you see the struggle she goes through.
This first book wraps up well. There are loose ends allowing more to come but there are no big cliff hangers. This alone is a plus for me since I do not like huge cliff hangers.
I am interested to see what the other books hold since this is the first book to a series and there is a lot of foreshadowing regarding Isis’s powers.
Mark Rosendorf ‘s writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild “if only I could do that” imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.
Mark is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education’s special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry. He has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence.
Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark’s brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas was born.
Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.
This week I’ve chosen:
Crush by Tracy Wolff (Crave #2) Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance Expected Publication: September 29, 2020 Add to Goodreads
Everything feels off―especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.
Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.
The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.
And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake―unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling Add to Goodreads
Synopsis A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
What I thought Thank you Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for giving me an audio copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
When I picked up this book all that I knew about it was that it was a YA fantasy inspired by Persian mythology and a Rappaccini’s Daughter retelling. I was sold by that concept alone. Oh and it’s a standalone. I had not read anything by this author before so I was amazed at the beautifully enchanting writing of this book. This book was very atmospheric, I had no issues imagining every aspect of the story.
This is the story of Soraya, a girl that was cursed as a baby to be poisonous. The only living thing that she can interact with is flowers. I found Soraya to be a very frustrating character due to her making a lot of really bad decisions and could be very naive; however, what do you expect from someone that was forced to hide away with little to no interaction for her entire life.
The heart of this story is Soraya’s journey of self-love and acceptance. Soraya has spent her life not liking herself due to the way that she is. During this story she is able to see that what made her so different is also what makes her special. Which is a wonderful theme for a YA book.
I really enjoyed the narrator of this book. The way that she read the story pulled me in. She was able create the voices that seemed to fit each character.
When the only option left means losing someone you love, you have no options. How could you, how could you save one person you care about, when doing so would harm another? What if they weren’t even letting you choose but choosing for you? You’d have to intervene without letting them know, right?
To be an Altered Helix and put others in danger is the new reality for Austria. Luckily someone’s there to catch her when she falls, Josh, and fall she does, in love that is. While witnessing her family being put in danger, Austria’s haunted house family grows. Now that Austria has found a way to defeat Mutant Altered Helixes after her, a dangerous stream of events occur to those around her. Just when the family has finally come together, could they be ruined?
The amazing conclusion to the Altered Helix series, Paralleled Bond displays the results when polar opposites come together for the greater good.
“Please let them be okay.” If I had known I would be chanting this phrase over and over again, I don’t believe I would have ever set out on this mission. If I had known that my entire world would change in just a matter of months, would I have taken the job at the haunted house? If I had been given a heads up about my DNA being different, would I have lived a different life?
I don’t know; those are not options for me now. We’re too far in. We are inches away from saving many lives. We can do this. I know we can. I just don’t know what it will cost us. I have no clue how I’m going to find the dough to pay. The odds seem stacked up against us. Is that because it is impossible to accomplish what we want to, or is it because we’ve gotten too close?
$30 Amazon GC (International) Giveaway will run from August 4th to the 7th.
I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?
The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria’s life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.
Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.
For Austria, travelling to the Stranded Coil means she gets to see someone she believed was lost. She’s able to do this because she’s an Altered Helix. But doing so takes her away from her first true love, Josh. Josh is working hard to keep their Haunted House family safe on Earth, but seems to fall in love with Austria more with every second they spend together.
Austria and Josh face a devastating challenge, the mysterious appearance of Mutant Altered Helixes, and an enticingly dangerous answer to their questions.
Impulsive, caring, and full of surprises, this teenage love against the odds is well on its way to breaking even…maybe.
Stephanie Hansen’s short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She’s part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal realms separate for centuries. Before the first month of their new life is over, they’ll encounter romance, elves, talking cats, ancient secrets, and potentially lethal danger. What could possibly go wrong…
It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It was a pleasant late summer’s evening, shortly after sunset, the sky a rich navy blue, stars beginning to twinkle in the distance. In a pleasant subdivision, residents were settling in for the night. In a tent pitched on one of the well-mowed lawns was a group of four teenage girls, in their pajamas and sleeping bags, currently finding out who could come up with the scariest scary story.
“…and to this day, he wanders the woods, looking for his head.”
“Can I just say, eew.” Margaret wrinkled her nose and frowned disapprovingly.
“That was the Headless Horseman. That’s not an original story, Kimberly.”
“Fine! You come up with something better.” Kimberly flopped down onto her pillow.
The tent was pitched in a backyard just like so many other backyards up and down the street. The development was one of the last to be built in the town limits, and it sat near the boundary of the state forest. The fact they lived so close to a nature preserve meant to the adults lots of hiking and biking on the trails, a chance for the kids to see wildlife, and learn about the woods firsthand. To their children, it meant a sense of danger, dark goings-on, and the perfect atmosphere for telling ghost stories during slumber parties.
“Fine, I will.” Sophie sat up taller on her blanket. It was her tent, her backyard, her house, with her family inside, hosting the slumber party. Taking the flashlight, she placed it under her chin, the beam casting shadows over the contours of her face.
“There was a house at the edge of the city that everyone called the glass house,” she began. “It looked like it was made all from glass, and it was strange to the people in the city. It belonged to the most wealthy family, the Greymalkins. They employed many servants and farmers in the past, people working on the land they owned. But these days, they had all but stopped hiring new staff.”
Margaret and Helen watched Sophie, listening politely. Kimberly pretended to be bored, and fiddled with a loose thread on her sleeping bag.
“The people didn’t really go near the glass house anymore,” Sophie went on. “The former staff, or their descendants, said that the Greymalkins were having troubles — illness, bad investments, and the like. They said that soon the family may be forced to sell the glass house and all their land.
“That was a shame, old Mrs. O’Connor said, as her grandson was coming back to town after traveling abroad for a few years, and he needed a job. He’d just completed his courses at an important university in another country, and he was well-trained in managing finances and keeping records. That was a very good thing, said Daphne, one of the few maids left at the glass house. Because the Greymalkins were looking for someone to do just that.
“And so Augustine O’Connor began to work at the glass house.”
Margaret and Helen were definitely interested now. Even Kimberly sat up a little more and glanced in Sophie’s direction.
“Daphne showed Augustine where he would work. It was mostly in one room, a study where all the family’s important papers were kept. After a few hours of working each day, he would go to the kitchens for a meal, and take a walk in the gardens if the weather was good. Most of the time, he only saw Daphne, or the cook, or the butler, Mr. Lee.
“One afternoon, just as he was finishing up, a very grand, and beautiful, woman came into the study. She wore a silver dress, and diamond combs in her hair. This was Lady Greymalkin, he knew, as he had seen portraits of her in the lobby of the glass house. Augustine quickly stood up and then bowed, as Mr. Lee had instructed him to do if he ever met a member of the family.
“Lady Greymalkin insisted he not bother about such a formality. ‘Thank you for doing this work for us,’ she said. ‘We need all our affairs in order before we sell the house.’ So it was true, Augustine asked, the rumors among the people? ‘Yes, I’m afraid so,’ the lady said. ‘Life has not gone…as we planned recently.’ Augustine gave his apology. ‘There’s no need to be sorry. It’s how things happen sometimes.’ And she invited him to tour the rest of the house with her.”
Outside the tent, it was quiet except for the chirp of crickets, and the occasional, brief passing of a car. Fireflies danced in the trees beyond the fence, but the girls didn’t notice.
“Augustine walked along the halls and saw the big dining room, the library, the grand parlor, where the family had entertained in happier times. Lady Greymalkin told him a little more about her children, her husband, and his parents, who built the glass house. When it was time for him to go, she invited him to tour the property on his own, as he wished.”
Kimberly couldn’t pretend anymore; she was listening as raptly as Helen and Margaret.
“A few days after this, the Lady came to find Augustine in the study,” Sophie continued. “She told him that they had a buyer for the land, and soon his services wouldn’t be needed anymore. ‘Thank you so much for your help. I’m sorry it means you’re out of a job. If I can do anything, please let me know.’ Augustine replied that a good reference would come in handy, but also, before he left, he’d like to walk around the gardens one more time. The Lady said yes, and that she would join him.
“As they walked, Augustine saw a door in the garden wall he had never noticed before. ‘Come with me,’ the Lady said, and she showed him a tunnel beyond the door. As they began walking down the tunnel, the Lady said, ‘Oh, I forgot, Mr. Lee needed to see me! Do wait here.’ And she ran back into the garden, shutting the door behind her.”
The back door of the house gently opened and closed. A shadowed figure slipped away from the lights inside, creeping into the yard and towards the tent.
“Confused, Augustine tried to open the door. He found it locked. There was only a little light in the tunnel, and he couldn’t see very far. Deciding he should wait as the Lady had told him to, he stood still.”
The dark figure paused near the tent, crouching down, trying to stay out of the light coming through the windows of his home.
Sophie’s hand was beginning to get tired of holding the flashlight, but she was almost done with the story. “Then a loud sound came from the other side of the wall, a sudden scream. Augustine jumped, and ran into the tunnel. As he ran, he heard other sounds, on either side of him, growls and snarls like those of wild animals. All the noise came out of nowhere, but it seemed to be all around him.”
Helen was spellbound. Margaret hugged her pillow close to her. Even Kimberly’s eyes were wide.
“Augustine stopped running when he realized the light was fading in the tunnel, and the noise seemed to be behind him. He stood in front of another door, and he wondered if this one would lead back to the garden, or to the glass house. He opened the door, and saw nothing else.”
A branch snapped in the yard, and something scratched at the tent. Helen and Margaret screamed, and Kimberly dived into her sleeping bag.
Daley Downing is an autistic author, parent to special needs children, a dance teacher, and cat whisperer. She spends her days attempting to write just a few more words than in the previous 24 hours, and lovingly refers to her genre as suburban fantasy. Visit her at: https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/
Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi (Scarlet Odyssey #1) Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Publisher: 47North Add to Goodreads
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.