50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Saturday Reviews

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Saturday Review

 
Genre: 
Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 2, 2013
Format: ePub
Pages: 155
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Buy on: AmazonAmazon US

1

3.85 Stars

3 half stars

2

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

my-review

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

You know, I was always one of those kids who wondered what happened AFTER the fairy tale was finished. Did they really live happily ever after? What problems did they encounter in their future? How many kids did they have and so on. I’m really glad when authors take the chance to write a retelling of a fairy tale and add their own spin on it. I enjoyed Queen Snow White from David Meredith’s point of view.

This story definitely tugged on the heart strings though. No shame, lots of feels. I definitely cried with Snow White when she was sifting through her grief with the mirror.

This Snow White was more feminine and naive. She had to learn to be a wife, a Queen and eventually a mother. She had many hiccups and clearly struggled with her title, despite her bringing down her step-mother to attain that title.

I do warn you, this Snow White is in a very deep state of grieving. Despite it being a year since her Prince Charming passed away, she stills mourns his loss. Her grief is overwhelming which might make her seem like a simpering, whiny woman. But from the reflections of her past with her Prince, he was her only stability after her step-mother. That loss of stability can be devastating and understandably so. It is important to try to see it from that aspect as well. Everyone grieves differently.

What shocks me, though, is that this won an award and it had so many grammatical errors. I hope the finished copy is more polished than the one I received. It made it difficult for me to rate this because of that. Especially because I enjoyed the story and grieved along with Snow White when she talked about her past with her husband. I also grieved for the small Princess that suffered so greatly at the hands of her step-mother. That people did nothing to help her, much of that was because they couldn’t. It is definitely a heart string tugging story. I just wish a little more finesse was put into it.

Either way, it was a good story. If you enjoy a good retelling of a fairy tale and enjoy seeing the conclusion of what happens to the Fairy Tale princesses, this is definitely the story for you.

3


David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. He is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Connect with David

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Amazon

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Curiosity Quills Press · Thursday Book Reviews

Dragon Redeemer by Amy Bearce

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Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Format: ePub
Pages: 220
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1

5 Stars

2

Four years have passed since a fairy swarm released the voice of prophecy in Nell Brennan. In that painful moment, a skilled warrior became a reluctant leader and defender of Aluvia’s magic. Now a new enemy threatens their still-fragile lands, one Nell feels powerless to stop even with help from the voice within her.

A mysterious dark alchemist from the Ice-Locked Lands is rising to power on the strength of his sword arm and an ice-breathing dragon obedient to his command. He promises unlimited magic to his followers and death to those who defy him. If he takes over the ports, his corrupt elixirs will disrupt the delicate balance of peace between Aluvia’s people and all magical creatures.

The voice of prophecy sends Nell and her friends to their enemy’s treacherous domain to find a sword of legend. Only the sword’s magic can prevent a return to a world of dying fairies and caged merfolk. But Nell’s up against the toughest foe she’s ever faced. In order to defeat him, she must master the unimaginable power of the sword―and the unwanted magic inside herself.

my-review

I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say, out of all the three books of the world of Aluvia, this is possibly my most favourite.
At first, I wasn’t too keen on Nell, when I read about her in Fairy Keeper. But she really grew up in this book. She embodies everything people look for in a strong heroine. She is strength, determination and while she is a tom-boy by our Earthly standards, her connection with Corbin was lovely to watch.

I love books that go on grand adventures. Instead of the two sister’s this round, it is Nell who has to follow the prophetic voice inside her head to the Ice-Locked Lands in order to save Aluvia from someone trying to steal the land’s magic. This someone is eerily familiar to Nell as well. A reminder of her past where she delved into organized crime to provide for her family.

This is a great trilogy for your kids to grow up with. Especially those who are in middle grade starting with Fairy Keeper. As Sierra, Phoebe and Nell all grow up and learn their paths in life, find their life partners. It is a great timeline for that and each girl is an inspiration.

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

3


Amy Bearce writes fantasy stories for tweens and teens. Her debut, FAIRY KEEPER, is an upper-middle grade fantasy and is the first book in the World of Aluvia series. MER-CHARMER (World of Aluvia, Book Two) released May 9, 2016. Book Three, Dragon Redeemer, is scheduled for release May 23, 2017. She is a former reading teacher who now has her Masters in Library Science. As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though they’ll be heading home to Texas this summer.

Connect with Amy

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Pinterest | 

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50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Curiosity Quills Press · Saturday Reviews

Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead

Saturday Review

 
Genre: 
New Adult, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Format: ePub
Pages: 281
Add to Good Reads

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

4.75 Stars

4 half stars

2

Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he’s about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.

Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel’s quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she’s discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.

The problem is, Hansel’s paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they’re all being hunted.

my-review

I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Thank you, Katie Hamstead, for having a deep love for Firefly and continuing to use it as inspiration in her stories. I love it and it completely fills that Space Cowboy and Steampunk love that I have.

Hansel and Gretel, we’re all familiar with that story. House made of gingerbread and a witch captures them to eat them. Well, the story happened. Now Hansel and Gretel are all grown up.
Hansel’s father and stepmother plan to marry Gretel off to a much older man, and the father of Gretel’s friend Mina. Hansel tries to stop it and takes off with his sister to save her. Ever since he returned from the witches house, he has been highly suspicious of his parents, especially his step mother. If something traumatic like that happened to you or I, we would be just as suspicious too.

However, Hansel is one of the most disagreeable characters ever. He is neurotic to the point of insanity. He is also really, really rude to Mina. Some of that is because he had forgotten she had grown up and was her own person, not some fourteen year old girl with silly fantasies in her mind. But you know, the bigger the jerk, the harder they fall… right?
It would have been nice to see Gretel in a different light. She kind of took a back burner to Hansel. In that, she seemed meek and naive. At least until much later in the book when she began to truly shine.
Mina, she was the best character. She was everything people look for in a character. She was bad ass, head of her own naval ship, in league with the pirates and could handle herself easily. She also managed to keep Hansel at an arm’s length without revealing her feelings.

I truly enjoyed the mixing of fairy tales and myths in this. Mermaid’s and siren’s was perfect to add into the tale. Especially with siren’s. It was a perfect Brother’s Grimm tale with that. Also, nothing like evil step parents!

I totally look forward to seeing where Ms. Hamstead takes her stories. I hope to see more myths and fairy tales retold. I do enjoy a good retelling!

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US 

 

3

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush,” and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughters, and their dogs.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an office lady at an elementary school to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Curiosity Quills Press · Saturday Reviews

Princess of Tyrone by Katie Hamstead

Saturday Review


Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Format: ePub
Pages: 263 pages
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1

5 Stars

2

Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.

All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.

Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her new found friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado, and their love blossoms.

But the deadline for the sleeping curse is approaching. If Apolline falls in love with the wrong person, she could end up sleeping forever.

A quirky, adventurous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a less than princess-ly princess!

my-review

I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a retelling of the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Now, throw away your ideas of how Sleeping Beauty was in the Disney movie and the way the Brother’s Grimm told Sleeping Beauty (thank god, if you know the tale). The heroin in this tale, Apolline, is kick ass. She has absolutely no idea who she is, other than she is an orphan and is being raised by fairy Aunts. Oh and that she is betrothed.
At a young age, to get her out of one of the Aunt’s hair, she is taught to hunt a deer like creature that can only be seen by those who have magic or are around magic enough. She sells the meat and hide of these animals to help out her Aunt’s, financially.
She is a gun toting woman who stands up for herself and keeps herself busy. Hell, she even beat up a pirate when he tried to take off with one of her kills.

At least until Allard, a mysterious soldier, makes his appearance. Then we see Apolline wrestle with herself about her feelings for Allard and her promise to her betrothed. We also learn who Allard is really and how he struggles to remain true to his promise as a Prince and his betrothed.

For me, this had such wonderful tones of Firefly and Doctor Who. Captain Mal would be proud to know Apolline.

I definitely recommend this! I enjoyed the fairies, especially their part in the story!

where-to-buy

Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Alibris

3


Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush,” and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughters, and their dogs.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an office lady at an elementary school to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Connect with Katie

Blogspot | Twitter | Curiosity Quills Press

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Saturday Reviews

Linda (Rebirth of the Gangster: Meet the Family #5) by C.J. Standal and Juan Romera

Saturday Review 
Genre: Crime, Comic
Publisher: C.J. Standal Productions
Publication Date: March 31, 2017
Format: PDF
Pages: 24 pages
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1

5 Stars

 

2

The gang’s back!

Linda’s been fighting a battle with cancer, but she stumbles onto something even worse: the addictions of her past resurface to tempt her again. And Alex starts to suspect Hunter, but will Alex confront him? Plus, Marcus and Andrea both make a trip to the gun range. The acclaimed crime masterpiece gets even more complex, casting light on the past secrets.

The acclaimed crime series continues as the creative team–writer CJ Standal and artist Juan Romera–keeps firing on all cylinders. This neo-noir modern masterpiece is a perfect match for fans of Breaking Bad, 100 Bullets, The Wire and The Godfather.

my-review

I received this comic from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

In this issue, we get to know Hunter’s mother Linda a bit better. Especially as she faces down cancer and an old addiction surfaces when her doctor prescribes opiates to help with the pain.

Meanwhile, Alex and Hunter have a run in. Alex is very suspicious of Hunter and tries to let Marcus know this. Although Marcus seems to brush him off.
It also becomes apparent that Hunter’s friendship with Marcus is also having some negative feedback on Marcus’ spotty attendance at work and poor workmanship. Very worrisome, indeed.

It was sad to see Linda cave and take the opiates, whether it was for pain or another reason. I just hope she is able to distinguish between taking them for pain and not addiction. But we’ll have to see in the upcoming issues!

This just continues to get more and more interesting. The artwork, as always, is awesome. I enjoyed the cover as well.

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US
Issues 1-4

 

3

I love writing in all sorts of playgrounds: Rebirth of the Gangsters  is my first comic book, and I’ve been published by Slant magazine: https://www.slantnews.com/user/cj.standal

You can also find me on Philip Smith’s site promoting indie authors:
http://www.philipsmith.eu/kindle-ebook/rebirth-gangster-meet-family-marcus

I’m also a high school English teacher: next year I’ll be teaching a graphic novel course; in the past I’ve taught a hip hop course; and I educate the youth about other valuable things, like Shakespeare.

Thanks,
CJ.

 

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Thursday Book Reviews

Xander’s Folly by Belinda M. Gordon

thursday

 
Genre:
Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Shaggy Dog Productions, LLC
Publication Date: May 13, 2016
Format: ePub
Pages: 204 pages
Add to Good Reads

1

4.50 Stars

4 half stars

2

Celtic mythology, suspense, and a modern day romance!
Xander spent most of his life exploring his mother’s disappearance. When new clues surface that suggest she’s alive and waiting for him to find her, he must decide what he’s willing to risk to get his answers.

Tressa longs to accept Xander’s proposal of marriage, but as evil fae surface around every corner, she must choose between putting him in constant danger—or letting her soul mate go.

Tressa and Xander want a peaceful life together, but will their destiny make it impossible? As the King’s Jewel, Tressa is destined to save her people—but at what cost? When the Sword of Light brings out Xander’s violent side—can he break the hold it has on him?

Xander’s Folly is the second book in the King’s Jewel fantasy series that blends Celtic mythology with a modern story.

my-review

I received this eBook through Book Review 22 in exchange for an honest review. 

I found that this story was more about Xander than it was about Tressa. It revolved around Xander’s bonding with Tressa, his bonding with the Claíomh Solais (Sword of Light) and protector of Tressa, the King’s Jewel. It was interesting to see the sword through Tressa’s eyes, as it bound itself to Xander’s aura.

This story was also about Xander’s family, specifically his father and missing mother. After a mysterious phone call about Xander’s father, Tressa and Xander rush off to find out what has happened. There they happen upon several Unseelie loose in city where Xander’s father lives. Which might attribute to his father’s disintegrating memory. They also find a Lost Child who doesn’t know what or who she is.

It was interesting to find out what Xander’s “folly” really meant. I won’t ruin it for anyone else, but it is quite interesting.

This was a great book. I look forward to the third story. Maybe one day, Tressa will get her wish of being a mom.

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Alibris

3


Belinda M Gordon was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently lives in the Pocono Mountains with her wonderfully supportive husband, her thoughtful easy-going son, and two delightful dogs.

She is of Irish heritage, which is how she became interested in Celtic Mythology. She used the Celtic Mythology, specifically of Ireland, as the starting point of her Romance/Fantasy series, The King’s Jewel.

Belinda also enjoys photography, fashion, music, dancing and a good mystery. You will find these influences throughout her writing.

Good Reads | Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Google+ | Facebook

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Curiosity Quills Press

Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson

Bookreview banner

 
Genre: 
Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages: 276 pages
Format: ePub
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1

4.80 Stars

4 half stars

2

Twenty years ago, the boundary between worlds dropped. It will be a while before the political, social, and religious upheaval settles down but the good news is: now you can book a vacation to Valhalla as easily as you can go to Las Vegas. Your real estate agent might be a Wood Sprite. Your mechanic might be a Minotaur. For better or for worse, Supernormals are part of Earth life.

Five years ago, Tessa Reddick was convicted of killing her entire family: 37 Witches from one of the most powerful covens in history. She’s been locked up at Lakeland Psychiatric hospital, still grieving but mad as hell at whoever–or whatever–put her there.

Half an hour ago, a handsome FBI agent showed up to spring Tessa from the joint
–but there’s a price. A series of murders is picking off Supernormals and the feds need the help of the last known Reddick Witch.

Determined to learn who set her up for the fall, help solve the FBI crimes, and maybe get closer to her mysterious (and seriously hot) Dark Elf partner, Tessa is more than willing to play Witchy Nancy Drew.

But Tessa has few friends left and something is coming for her, too – maybe it’s the one who framed her and killed her coven, or perhaps a new foe with a taste for Witch’s blood.

Solving crimes, doing magic, drinking bourbon. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.

my-review

I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such a wonderful story. It was a great mash up of the modern world and the fantasy world.

This story involves rift between our world and the fantasy world. Where the boundaries between the two have become thinner. And fantasy creatures then come over the boundaries to our world. Some to escape their lives, and some to cause hell. Either way, all kinds of creatures end up mixing with humans and try to blend in.

Tessa is accused of murdering her family and her coven. She is put in a psych-ward and heavily medicated until the FBI springs her. She is then sent on a crash course to becoming an agent to help find out who is murdering the supernatural’s in the human world.

I absolutely enjoyed Tessa. She was full of life and snarky. She told it like it is too. No word was really minced with her. But I guess after being accused of murdering your coven and locked up, knowing you’re innocent, you’d have to keep some sort of honesty about you. I enjoyed that she was a full blooded female who had the hots for her partner, Qyll the Dark Elf. No shame there, ha ha.
Qyll, on the other hand, needed a little more complexity. He seemed to be only there for Tessa to hit on. A little more character building with that character would have made the story even better.

I did have one issue with consistency though. If you’re going to break your main character out of a psychiatric ward where she spent time being heavily medicated and basically ignored, one would need some serious recovery time. Antipsychotic’s are not easy to come off of at all. Detox time would have been needed. The other issue would be that she wouldn’t have a crash course in the FBI either. She would have been brought in as a consultant, because training isn’t a week long thing. I know it’s a story, but a little more consistency and world building would have been nice in that aspect.

I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a new fantasy read. Especially if you like shows like True Blood, Grimm and Lost Girl.

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN| Amazon US| Barnes & Noble| Book Depository| Alibris

3


Sara O. Thompson’s first attempt at a book was prepared on a Remington typewriter and bore a suspicious resemblance to a famous novel whose title rhymes with ‘Gourd of the Spies.’

In her spare time, she performs improv comedy, tells stories on stage, and loves ballroom dancing. Sara lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family.

Sara O. Thompson | Curiosity Quills Press | Good Reads| Twitter

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Saturday Reviews

Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson

Saturday Review

 
Genre: 
Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories
Publisher: Traversing Z Press
Date of Release: March 1, 2016
Pages: 220 pages
Format: ePub format
Links: Good Reads

1

4.75 Stars

4 Stars

2

L.S. Johnson delivers a provocative and original short story collection that ingeniously blends myth and nightmare. Whether it concerns the efforts of an infertile witch to construct a golem-baby, or a daughter’s quest to understand a father’s guilt and a mother’s supernatural infidelities, or a woman’s violent association with a group of possibly imaginary but nonetheless dangerous little men, each story in this remarkable collection demonstrates the limitless capacity of intelligent speculative fiction to enthrall, inspire, and amaze.

my-review

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Vacui Magia is a novel filled with dark fantasy, science fiction and horror short stories. They’re not meant to just terrify but to shock you, make you think and intrigue you.

These stories had awesome world building. The separate stories were either contemporary settings or historical settings. Each of story was entirely unique and neither one crossed over into each other. The characters were complex and interesting.

While none of these stories had gratuitous gore that many people relate to horror movies and stories, it still had that horror element. Horror can be more than just disgust, it is shock and fear as well. Some of these stories were definitely shocking.

Little Men with Knives featured a cafeteria lady who was unhappy in her life setting. She listened to her neighbours fight at night and fed these gnome like creatures. By day, it dragged on. She learned the gnomes would help her around the house if she fed them right. Eventually she learned they could do more than clean a house.
For me, this definitely hit the nail on the head for the concept of the fey folk Brownies or Hobs. If you feed them clotted cream and other goodies, they will help out around the house. Ignore them and they create mischief.

The titled story Vacui Magia plays heavily with magic. A lonely woman who wishes she had had children. She consults her grimoire and makes the decision to do forbidden magic and create herself a golem. This is a unique point of view as it is in the second-person voice. Rare to see.
I found this fascinating, especially the quote where a witch should know her heart as intimately as her hands or face. It definitely touches in that idea that the study of magic is a whole being idea. This was one of my favourite tales from the book.

The Pursuit of the Whole is Called Love is about gender switching aliens who explore the human nature of sex, marriage, and oneself.
For me, this was a bit too weird. I honestly couldn’t get into it. However, I wouldn’t say that this was a bad story. It just didn’t mesh as well for me.

Germinant is about a young girl who disobeys her mother and ends up suffering the consequences of her disobedience. It’s a rather surreal way of seeing oneself suffering consequences. This one was also a little too strange for me. I didn’t really understand it or understand the time frame the story was placed in.

Vendemiare had to be my all time favourite. It had a lot of a Twilight Zone-esque feeling to it. The story involves a dying village and vineyard, cursed by the wife of the vineyard owner. It also involves a half-breed demon child and the dreamy yet horrifying state that the child and the voice of the story’s mother. I absolutely adored the concept and the story was well written. You felt like you were there along with Arianne as she tries to rescue her half sibling.

This is How You Lose Yourself is the shortest story. It’s almost more of a poem. It definitely dances with the darker side of these stories.

Clotho sits more in the mythological side of this story. Many may not know but Clotho is the youngest of the Three Fates who are responsible for spinning the threads of fate. This tale speaks of the progression the sister’s go through, but in a different lighting.
This was another of my favourite stories. I’m especially interested in mythological tales.

Julie spoke of a woman who was turned to prostitution by her aunt and her lover. A sad tale, for the times. She is the muse for a writer (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)  and listens to everyone praise him while she struggles to say that he stole her life story. She exacts revenge on him eventually and pays the ultimate price for it.

So this anthology of short stories had some great tales and some weird tales; but what I dislike doesn’t necessarily mean anyone else won’t like it. I especially enjoyed that all the protagonists were female, with the exception of the story involving the aliens.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good Weird Fiction tale.

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Kobo | Gumroad | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

3

 
L.S. Johnson lives in Northern California. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden, Fae, Lackington’s, Strange Tales V, and other venues. Currently she’s working on a fantasy trilogy set in 18th century Europe.

 

 

Links:

Website | Twitter | Good Reads | Tumblr

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Thursday Book Reviews

Tranquility by Grace Jelsnik

thursday

 
Genre: 
Romance, Suspense
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Date of Release: September 29, 2015
Pages: 241 pages
Format: ePub
Links: Good Reads

1

4.75 Stars

4 Stars

2

“We must find justice for the boy.”

The locals called her “The Crazy Woman of Copper Creek,” but to Caitlyn she was Gram, the woman who taught her to control the visions that had tormented her throughout her early childhood. Upon receipt of an incoherent letter from her grandmother, a letter in which only one point is made clear, a desire to find justice for an unidentified boy, Caitlyn returns to the little cabin on Copper Creek. She’s too late to help Gram, but not too late to satisfy her grandmother’s dying wish. Tormented by guilt over having turned her back on the woman who helped a little girl find her voice, Caitlyn is also determined to solve Gram’s murder.

Trevor, sheriff of Lincoln County, battles his own demons, and now he must also battle the prickly young woman who holds the solution to the unsolved disappearance of a boy last spring. In his attempts to understand the curse that made Caitlyn’s grandmother a local pariah, he learns to understand himself.

Throughout their investigation of Gram’s murder, Caitlyn and Trevor hurtle toward encounters with old enemies: for Caitlyn, a river that whispers sinister threats; for Trevor, a father with a sinister past. Only by vanquishing these enemies will they ever know tranquility.

my-review

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This turned out to be a perfect read for me. I loved the quick and easy read, which is always a treat.

You’re introduced to Caitlyn Blanchard as an awkward and quiet child among a boisterous family. Her mother send’s her to her equally unusual grandmother for summers. For the both of them, it was rewarding. Even though you never met Caitlyn’s grandmother, the memories of Caitlyn was enough to enjoy the tough but loving woman.

My favourite element was the quips and bickering between Caitlyn and Trevor. It reminded me of that school yard myth that the boy who is the meanest to you likes you the most.

“He glanced down at the foaming water at the base of the falls beneath him and grimaced before turning his sights on the hole. ‘I’ve saved any number of lives,’ he called out while reaching for the nest.
“And probably lost more, wasting time while you boasted about it.”
Trevor grinned. She had an acid tongue, but he appreciated the rapidity of the retort.”  (pg 37)

The romance in this novel is light but refreshing. There is no serious adult sex scenes but plenty of difficult topics.

Together with Caitlyn’s psychic ability, she and Trevor solve a boy’s unfortunate murder, her grandmother’s death and somehow manage to fall in love.

The only issues I had were a couple of inconsistencies with names. This can be a little distracting at times. But it didn’t take away from the story too much. Other than the inconsistencies, I really didn’t have an issue with the novel.

Again, this was a lovely read. I definitely recommend this light romance and suspense novel!

where-to-buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Book Depository

3

 
Grace Jelsnik earned her M.A. In English with an emphasis on creative writing at the University of South Dakota. Her novels emphasize complicated plots, realistic characters, and rural settings, but each addresses an element of romance that takes a pragmatic approach to the natural interaction between two characters, addressing the sparks that lead to heat, not the heat itself. Her targeted audience is educated late teen and older readers who enjoy suspense and action-adventure delivered with a dose of humor.

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews

Learning to Swim by Annie Cosby

Bookreview banner

 
Genre: 
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Write for You Publishing
Date of Release: March 1, 2014
Pages: 242 pages
Format: ePub
Links: Good ReadsAmazon

My Rating:

3-stars

About the Book:

When Cora’s mother whisks the family away for the summer, Cora must decide between forging her future in the glimmering world of second homes where her parents belong, or getting lost in the bewitching world of the locals and the mystery surrounding a lonely old woman who claims to be a selkie creature—and who probably needs Cora more than anyone else.

Through the fantastical tales and anguished stories of the batty Mrs. O’Leary, as well as the company of a particularly gorgeous local boy called Ronan, Cora finds an escape from the reality of planning her life after high school. But will it come at the cost of alienating Cora’s mother, who struggles with her own tragic memories?

As the summer wanes, it becomes apparent that Ronan just may hold the answer to Mrs. O’Leary’s tragic past—and Cora’s future.

My Review:

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Try as I may, I could not figure out why this novel was labelled a fantasy. It had folklore in the story line but in no way did it have elements of fantasy in it. Here I was hoping for some seriously awesome fantasy in it and nothing of the like.
In fact, I would say this is more of a contemporary young adult romance.

Unfortunately, this dragged terribly for me. The flow of the book was tedious at best.
Cora acted more like a teenager of the age of 14/15, not 18. She was weirdly boy crazy for 18, and desperate for a boyfriend. Sullen, withdrawn and a bit snobby to even her own friends. She wasn’t really an easily likable character for me.
The only thing I did agree with her about was her desire to take a year off before college and tour the world. It might have been her more grown up decision yet.

There was a lot of untold tension between Cora and her parents. Despite the reason coming out in the end why Cora never learned to swim and why her parents were so hard on her, I honestly wish there was a little more focus on that. It would have made more sense as to why Cora felt she needed to rebel in many ways. Their disconnection was awkward at best. It would have also made her seem less like a spoiled, snotty brat.

The best part was Mrs. O’Leary. She was an element of mystery in the story. The old woman who told folklore stories from her porch, asked for her jacket constantly. She had Cora wondering about the mysterious local boy Ronan/Rory, a lot. And also a lot about Mrs. O’Leary herself. The folklore was quite fascinating.

Rory seemed more his age, as he was more active in the community and in helping with his parents run their business. His behaviour towards Cora was right at first, he wasn’t sure if he should trust her. She was just another visitor to his tourist town.

But just when the book was getting interesting and the girl gets the boy, the story just ends awkwardly. It was like the author stopped mid-thought and decided to end it right there. There wasn’t really any hint that there would be more books because of it.

I just would have enjoyed it more if it had more elements of fantasy, racing heart love and a little more effort put into the behaviour of the characters, especially the young Cora.

Where to Buy:

Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Kobo | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:


Annie is a short, dog-obsessed, ketchup-loving romantic who splits her days—and her wardrobe—between her hometown, St. Louis, and her adopted love, Galway, Ireland.

Her first book was the start of the USA Today-recommended Hearts Out of Water series followed by the Amazon chart-soaring novella series, The Hummingbird Saga.

When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading, editing for awesome YA author clients, and walking Lucy, the rottie mix.

Links:

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