Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson



Elisabeth was raised as a foundling in a Great Library where books have magic, and they can come alive. As in they can turn into snarling murder monsters if they are let out. When someone releases the library's most dangerous book, Elisabeth is implicated and her only ally is a sorcerer named Nathaniel and his demon Silas. Only thing is sorcerers are the enemy. Now she needs to trust one to save herself. 

Elisabeth is one of those main characters I adore. She's fierce and she dives head first into any situation. She many not know what's going on, she may not be making the safest choices, but if she can save someone or stop something bad from happening, she's going to do it. 

Nathaniel is that guy. He's handsome, skilled, broody, and knows everything. Elisabeth has a hard time coming to terms with him actually trying to help her, and he puts up with her antics with a sigh and an eye roll. 

I adored descriptions of the work she does, cleaning and caring for the books. They breathe, they move, they feel. It's so weird but awesome. 

The other thing about this book is that it wasn't all spelled out at the beginning. Some fantasy books give you all the details and world building, complete with rules right at the start, but then the rest of the book turns everything on it's head. This one revealed things as it went, allowing for that natural experience of Elisabeth discovering things. 

Writing this review I've realized how much I really loved this book. I don't believe it's going to be a series, which sucks so much because it's just that good and I really want more about these characters. I loved so much about this book that if I keep writing, I'm going to spoil things too much and I really don't want to. 

This one is going to be re-read, that's for sure!

Recommendations: Read this. If you love fantasy, a strong female character, demons and books that come alive. If you love fantasy stories of main character self discovery and triumph of good over evil, this is for you.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is the first book in a historical mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear. The series follows Maisie Dobbs, a former servant turned detective in 1929 London. 

I believe there are/will be soon 16 books in this series. You know I love a big series. When there's more than 10 books in a series in a genre that I love, I HAVE to see what the fuss is about. Knowing that so many love this series, I picked up the first one, expecting to fall head over heels for it. 

That didn't quite happen. 

The series starts with Maisie opening her own business as a detective and lands her first case. 

The writing was different than I was expecting, and in some places I found myself re-reading passages because they were just so beautifully written. I fell for the wording, time and again. 

The mystery was okay. Not as thrilling as I tend to like. It was a bit wrapped up in a lot of emotions, and caused Maisie to reflect on the war. I didn't mind it that much at first, except after a while the story moved away from the mystery and into a historical fiction story. Again, I enjoy historical fiction, but when I'm here for a mystery and I get something else, it changes how I feel about the book. 

I found it hard to connect with Maisie. I wanted more depth, more about her that goes deeper than the war. 

Overall, it was a good book, but I didn't find myself running to the store to buy up all the books. 

I think I will read another one though. I feel like this is a series that if I had come across it at the library, and accidentally picked a book in the middle of the series, I would have fallen in love with it. 

Recommendations: For those who love historical fiction with a bit of mystery. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn


This book was amazing! 

I received a digital copy from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada. I was really excited to receive this one because it's a book written by a Black author featuring a Black main character. 

I started reading it closer to the release date and I was enjoying it so much I went out and bought a copy on release day! Then I realized I had barely got a third of the way through, which was wonderful, it meant I had a lot more of the story to read! 

First off we have a super smart sixteen year old who gets into a residential school program for smart kids at a college, while trying to deal with the death of her mother. Then throw in magic, Arthurian legend, queer and non-binary characters, a Black main character and it's my favourite YA read of 2020!!

This book had everything! It was an urban fantasy that gave you reality and magic in such a way I was never bored, and completely enthralled. 

The romance was pretty darn great too. Sometimes I feel like it can be an afterthought or just a bit off when it's done in fantasy books, but this one did it well!

The character exploration and background that was added in gave so much to the story. I love the way the author incorporated genealogy and ancestry into the story. That gave it another level of greatness that I looked forward to even as much as the other magic stuff. Honestly, I don't think there was a moment in this book where I got bored or felt like it was filler to get to the main story. 

Then there was the ending!! Suffice to say I need the second book. As soon as it's released, I will have it in my hands. There isn't even a title for it yet, or a release year even. Still, I need it!! 

This will be a book I will happily re-read when the next comes out so I can experience it all again. 

Recommendations: For those who like urban fantasy, King Arthur and Merlin, and different magical systems, this is for you. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

This book is the fourth of the New Hercule Poirot Mysteries written by Sophie Hannah. I LOVED this one just as much as the other three. Any time I get to read more Poirot is a good time! 

I think Sophie Hannah does an incredible job writing in Agatha Christie's style. I feel that she brings Poirot back to life and lets us continue to experience one of the best detective characters to ever have been put down on paper. 

It's possible I'm not as critical as I could be with these novels, particularly this one. I know there has been mixed reviews, but the enjoyment I get reading a new Poirot mystery overshadows everything else and I end up having a fantastic time reading! 

This mystery did start off a bit different and I was a bit perplexed as to where it was going, but once the plot picked up, I found myself glued to the page. I guessed a bit of what was happening, but not everything. I was still surprised by the ending as usual, which I love.  

I will say that I knew I wasn't reading a story by Agatha Christie, as some of the additional characters felt a bit different, but Poirot was present and accounted for. 

Recommendations: For the lovers of a good, classic mystery. For those who love Poirot. For those who love a thrilling, twisty read. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

I should begin by mentioning that Victoria Schwab (V. E. Schwab) is one of my favourite authors. She is just an amazing author and human and I adore her. 

Tunnel of Bones is the second book in her paranormal middle grade series. The first book is City of Ghosts. You can read my review of that one here

The series follows Cassidy Blake and her ghost best friend as they accompany Cassidy's parents who are filming a television show about the world's most haunted cities. This book takes place in Paris, in the catacombs. Cassidy's parents might be chasing ghosts, but it's Cassidy who actually gets to see them and interact with them. 

I'm not the target audience for middle grade novels. That being said, I truly enjoyed this! It was a quick read, but it was fun and enjoyable. You never quite know how things will turn out, and it's always an exciting journey to get there. 

Victoria has a way of writing her characters that gives them such an old soul, more raw quality to them that just sticks with you. Cassidy Blake is no exception. I didn't have any trouble connecting with the main character, even though I am much older. 

There was more back story in this one, in some ways. Perhaps it was building more into the characters and the world in preparation for more novels. Still a fast paced, spooky read. 

I also appreciate the creepy, spooky aspects of this book. Even though it's for a younger audience, it's not too cute and watered down. The paranormal element is still here and still on the scary side. I love that. 

At this point I'm not sure there's a book by this author that I'm not going to love and I can't wait till the next one comes out! 

Recommendation: For the readers who love paranormal novels, creepy reads, ghosts, and great writing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

This book was totally not what I expected but completely something I needed.

I discovered Holly Black's writing with the book a while back when I picked up The Darkest Part for the Forest. At the end of that book was a preview of this one, and I actually ready the preview of this book before reading The Darkest Part of the Forest.

Right from the first few pages I was hooked. Holly Black's writing is something I've not experienced anywhere else. She gives you these regular characters with such real lives that when she introduces the fantasy elements, it's like an extra treat.

For some reason when I read the excerpt of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I didn't really grasp what it was about, so when I really got into this book, I was surprised. I had no idea what the monsters were in this book and it threw me for a loop at first. I don't even want to tell you in my review since finding out while reading was half the fun.

I adored this book and will continue to read Holly Black's other novels because they are exactly what I am looking for in monster urban fantasy twisted goodness.

Recommendations: For the lovers of urban fantasy and monsters. This is for you. Go in for the ride and you'll be happily impressed.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Secret Place by Tana French

I don't know what happened but apparently I have been asleep or day dreaming when Tana French and her books comes up in conversation/on bookstagram. I know I've seen her name and some of her books on shelves before but beyond that, I knew nothing.

This is my first Tana French book. I snapped it up on one of the sale racks at Chapters (I think I snagged this for $8) a year ago and it's been sitting on my shelf all this time. I am always into a good mystery and I remember thinking that when I bought this that people online talk about Tana French so I should probably read this.

The people were right. Tana French's writing style is magical, haunting, and so utterly interesting. I could not get over how different and exciting her writing was. If I could write like Tana French then I'll have reached the pinnacle of awesomeness. I don't think anyone could have accurately explained to me how her writing style is wonderful, so please, don't take my word for it. Please go read a book of hers for yourself.

This story is about a new officer who is looking to break into the Dublin Murder Squad. A former witness he knows comes to him with clues about a murder and he jumps in with one of the other detectives to try and solve it. The murder victim was a student who was found dead on the grounds of an all girls boarding school. The investigation takes them through the lives of teenage girls and all the mysteries that entails.

The book was written from the points of view of multiple characters, but in such a way that it just works. Getting the insight from all these different characters is great because there's so much going on that we really need to know what's happening in their heads.  Ordinarily I don't love it when author's do this, but in this book, it is perfect.

As far as mysteries go, it was a great one. I had no real idea who the murderer was until just before it was revealed in the book. I love it when I can't figure it out ahead of time. The trill of the hunt is always my favorite.

The Secret Place is actually the fifth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, but from what I read online, the books don't actually have to be read in order so I feel better about that. I will be reading more of her books because this one was just so great. I need more of her writing in my life!

Recommendation: For the mystery lovers, for the lovers of great writing, for the lovers of good stories... this is for you!