Benjamin Ashwood by A.C. Cobble

Benjamin Ashwood by A.C. Cobble, The Genre Minx Book ReviewsTitle: Benjamin Ashwood

Author: A.C. Cobble

Release Date: May 26, 2016

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

My source for this book: Complimentary

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

 

 

This review is based on a digital copy I received from author A.C. Cobble. It is an honest review and the complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.


Benjamin Ashwood is a classic swords and sorcery fantasy novel that chronicles the tale of a young man who finds himself in the middle of an epic struggle. Life is simple in Ben’s small town until an attack brings the arrival of exciting strangers straight out of a story. Before Ben understands what is happening, he embarks on a dangerous journey and begins a saga of his own.

Ben starts on the road with a Blademaster, a Rogue, a Lady, a Thief and a Mage. Demons, magic and assassins are just a few of the perils he will face while trying to protect his friends and get them to safety. But things aren’t always what they seem and safety is a fragile concept when the destructive behaviors of the powerful are exercised unchecked.

In Ben’s world – like our own – political, economic and military might create a system to keep the elite in power at the expense of the common man. As the series unfolds and Ben’s knowledge and skill grows, he will have to decide if he wants to live within the system, flee from it or break it.

Synopsis via Goodreads


This story does indeed remind me of what I would consider a classic S&S (swords and sorcery) fantasy to be. From the beginning the action starts and it carries straight on through until the end. The main protagonist Ben has very little skills beyond what he would need for a simple life but when given an opportunity for something wild and greater than he could have ever expected he seizes the opportunity.

I enjoyed the fact that the author did not try to give Ben any special “super skills” that he had never known about but has finally been unleashed. In order for Ben to better himself he had to work for it to sharpen his skills and it did not happen over a period of two weeks. We were able to see a steady increase in his skills and that made him more real to me. The supporting characters were a hoot! Now they did have their super skills but that was appropriate as they were the teachers in this story. His travel companions all have their own secrets and Ben spends quite a bit of time trying to piece figure out where their loyalties lay and how they fit together.

“In the stories, the hero always saved the day and never had to face these types of decisions. You saw the monster, you fought the monster and you saved the innocent damsel. But what if the person you were trying to save was a bad person – a thief? What if the monster was really your friend and was actually saving you?”

Along the way there is death and loss. Ben has never truly had to consider or face the realities of what it meant to fight, what being a hero was truly about. He had spent so much time as a child listening to stories of hero’s that he never considered what the downside was. I loved watching Ben’s character develop and seeing him struggle with his humanity was a breath of fresh air so to speak.

What I did not like about this story was the lack of personal details. There was great world building but the details themselves rarely went beyond the initial “it was a forest of trees.” Now that is just an example of what I mean, not taken from the story itself but it will help to explain my point. Ok, I got it a forest of trees..but what about the type of trees, what season is it, are they full or have they shed their leaves, is it a dense forest, is the land flat or rolling? Details matter to me when I am reading a story. It is not that I do not have an imagination; it is that I want to know the world that has been built for me in all its glory. In the end I am glad for the journey. I think if this is made into a series that it will be truly enjoyed by all who read it!

Pirates: The Golden Age of Piracy by Henry Freeman

Pirates The Golden Age of PIracy by Henry FreemanTitle: Pirates: The Golden Age of Piracy

Author: Henry Freeman

Release Date: June 19, 2016

Publisher: Hourly History

Pages: 46

My source for this book: Complimentary

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ of 5 stars

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of Pirates: The Golden Age of Piracy: A History From Beginning to End, courtesy of Hourly History LTD in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Pirates dominate movie box office profits, they are theme park entertainment, and they occupy a place in popular culture that has outlasted the era when they originally ruled the seas. Contemporary audiences who are safe from the pistols and cutlasses of the men who sailed the Caribbean, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans to prey upon ships and claim their cargo may find it hard to reconcile the perceived glamor of Captain Jack Sparrow with the authentic bloodlust and greed of the real pirates who killed without conscience, kidnapped innocent victims for ransom, and ravaged, bribed, and robbed their way into legend. Tragut Rais, Grace O’Malley, William Kidd, Blackbeard and their colleagues were dangerous adventurers who lived at a time when piracy was an economic enterprise which yielded both wealth and a hangman’s noose.

Inside you will read about…

✓ When Pirates Owned the Seas

✓ The Roots of Piracy

✓ The Original Pirates of the Caribbean

✓ The Pirate Round

✓ Piracy after the Spanish War of Succession

✓ The Pirates of the Barbary Coast

✓ The Modern-Day Pirates

Most pirates had a short life before they were captured and executed. A few lucky ones did die of natural causes, but they were rare. Nonetheless, those tales of swashbuckling adventure under the Jolly Roger continue to mesmerize us. Read more about the reality of the Golden Age of Piracy to find out whether or not Hollywood’s version can possibly compare with the truth.

Synopsis via Goodreads


Let us start this review by stating that this is a summarizing history of piracy and the Golden Age of Piracy. This is not a fictional tale that has leading protagonists. This is a short book with many informational nuggets about piracy and I found the content to be a wonderful introduction about a person or persons that I may want to read about in more detail later.

In the beginning there was some repetition of wording between the prologue and first chapter. I did some fact checking on the material and with how broad of a scope there is on this subject there should have been citations so that I could verify the facts. The intention of this book is to be a concise slice of history that can be read in one hour. I feel that the author was successful in his goal.

Release and Catch by Emigh Cannaday

Release and Catch by Emigh Cannaday, The Genre Minx Book ReviewsTitle: Release and Catch: A Three Part Bundle Book

Author: Emigh Cannaday

Website: http://www.emighcannaday.com

Release Date: November 26, 2015

Publisher: Smashwords

My source for this book: Complimentary from Author

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

 

 

This review is based on a digital copy I received from author Emigh Cannaday. It is an honest review and the complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

During the reading of this book I kept drawing parallels with two characters from the show Sex in the City. Maybe I am totally off because I can’t say I watched that show on a regular basis but I think if you took the character’s Samantha and Carrie and squished their personalities into one body you would have the main femme fatale, Sloane Spadowski. She narrates this story with humor, honesty and a sprinkling of crass.


After years of playing catch and release when it comes to men, Sloane has just hooked what seems to be the ultimate trophy. Andy is funny, sweet, smart, and oh so sexy with his Ken doll good looks, but there’s a snag the size of Texas–his best friend Barbie. Not only is Barbie a matchmaker with a perfect track record, but the tall, tan, gorgeous blonde clearly adores Andy and isn’t about to give this new relationship the green light without conducting a thorough investigation. Claiming to have Andy’s best interest in mind, Barbie starts to cross-examine Sloane to learn who she really is and what she wants most out of life. When Barbie’s ruling is announced, Sloane’s in too deep to realize she’s in way over her head.

Synopsis via Goodreads


“I mentioned my jobs only lasted a few months at a time. So did my relationships. I never subscribed to the idea that there’s only one person out there for us, because let’s face it; there are a lot of people on this planet. I saw every man the way that Lewis and Clark saw America; as a new frontier to discover, a new territory to claim.”

At the start of this book I was under the impression that it was going to be the female equivalent of a player is going to play, but as the story goes on there are aspects of Sloane’s character that start to come through and she develops. Sloane is not everything that she seems. Having to overcome some terrible family situations she has developed a “catch and release” type attitude about life in general with little thought to what consequences that those choices might bring.

“I’ve walked away from so many people, not just because of my career as a temp or my inability to commit to a guy, but because of my journey as a human. People outgrow one another, just like potted plants outgrow their containers. Some plants surrender to their confinement and wither and die a long, slow death.”

I think that most people will be able to identify with the main character Sloane in a way. Not in terms of the choices she makes but in that we have all made choices that seemed right in the moment but when we look back we can clearly see what we should have picked up on as “obvious.” Although Sloane’s character is not one I can personally identify with I did enjoy when she began to see beyond herself and started making choices that were good for her and her personal growth.

Now that I have covered that let’s talk about humor! I am not going to lie; you need to read this book for the Brazilian wax scene alone!! I was laughing out loud!! There is a club scene that involved Barbie and Andy that was also hilarious! What made the entire book wonderful was that throughout the story everything happening to Sloane was written realistically. Nothing is glossed over, no details made to “perfection,” just gritty realism that draws you in. This is just why I love, love, love author Emigh Cannaday’s writing! I may not love Sloane’s character but she is so real to me that I cannot help but truly appreciate her journey of self-realization.

What did I not like? Only the mega of all-times love triangle! If you like love triangles that are well written and full of drama, humor, and sexy times then this book is for you! If you ever found Sex in the City offensive, hmmm maybe not for you, just saying. This story packs a big punch and it is not meant for the prudish of heart.

*Thank you to Emigh Cannaday for this complimentary copy of Release and Catch*

Interview with Emigh Cannaday, Author of The Annika Brisby Series and More…

Today I am privileged to bring to you an interview with Emigh Cannaday!  She is an Indie Author who has successfully written books in both the fantasy and contemporary genres. I first came to know this author with the book The Flame and the Arrow, which I just fell in love with. Subsequently I read a couple of her other books, The Silver Thread, Release and Catch and I am still a huge fan-girl of her writing!

 

Author Emigh Cannaday

A conversation with Emigh Cannaday

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

I enjoy wine, Corgis, art and horses. Not necessarily in that order.  😉

Q. What motivated you to become an Indie Author?

I’m a visual artist at heart, and grew up drawing and painting along with scribbling stories for my own amusement. Artistic integrity has always been very important to me, and I swore I would always stay true to those values. After writing my first book I tried traditional publishing for a few years, but had a difficult time getting my foot in the door. Years later, I now believe it was meant to be, because I think I would hate writing if I had editors chop up my beloved stories until they were completely unrecognizable, or publishers dictating what I should write and how I should write it. The reason I started writing was for my own personal enjoyment. I wasn’t finding the kinds of books that I wanted to read, so I wrote exactly what I wanted to read. I don’t write to trends and I’m not sure I ever would, unless it was to make a mockery of it. I’m proud to be an indie author and I deeply value the creative freedom it’s given me to write what I want and stay true to who I am.

Q.  The Scarlet Tanager is the third installment of the Annika Brisby series, can you tell us a little bit about it and how you came up with the idea for your book/series?

I wanted Annika to walk that knife edge of what’s expected of her and what’s strictly forbidden. I’d say one of the biggest themes that I wanted to explore was the idea that we have about commitment to a relationship. A lot of this book was influenced by Dan Savage and the work of Esther Perelle. For some reason, we expect to have all our needs met by one person for the rest of our lives, yet there’s a huge paradox in that, and we might just be setting ourselves up to fail. I mean, that’s a LOT to expect from one person, and a LOT of pressure to put on them! I think the reason that so many relationships fall apart is because one party finally realizes that the other is only human, and they occasionally make mistakes. And then we make them pay for it eternally rather than forgiving and moving forward. This book was my way of suggesting that we can move forward after making mistakes…no matter how large.

Q. What is your writing process?

Since my background is in making fine art, I create stories the same way that I draw pictures: I start with a few sentences as a loose outline of where I want the story to end up…then I keep adding and erasing and adding back in and highlighting certain areas until I’ve pantsed my way from point A to B. That means I venture down a lot of rabbit holes. I used to dream of being a spelunker (cave explorer), so it makes sense that I’m totally ok with this strategy of blindly groping through the dark. ;)  Also, I can’t stand formulaic storytelling, whether it’s in movies or books. I’ve tried to plot things out in a 3-act structure and it wasn’t the magical writing tool for me that it is for some people. I prefer to have a basic plot and then focus on character growth (or demise) and then revise, revise, revise. And then I revise some more. If I didn’t hop around so much and try to cram so many little nuggets into my books, I’d probably write faster, but I don’t know that I’d enjoy the finished product as much.

Another part of my process for the Annika Brisby series is the dreaded cliffhanger. I know some people hate them because they hate waiting. You know who else hates waiting? Small children and animals. I think cliffhangers can be used poorly, as in a cheap sales gimmick to make people buy the next book, but let’s be real here. First, no one can make someone buy a book. Not even college professors. Second, we are talking about a friggin’ book here, not an organ to become available for a transplant. Waiting for a book will not impair your quality of life, whereas waiting for a liver might actually kill you. Third, if all I wanted was to make money I never would’ve gone to college for drawing with charcoal and playing in porcelain mud. For me, having a cliffhanger is the ‘magic feather’ that propels me into the next book. It lets me hit the ground running and gives me direction. Without it, I’m left staring at a blank canvas, which leads to artistic anxiety, which means no words are going on the page, which means you’ll be waiting even longer to read the next book. So maybe that cliffhanger isn’t really so bad.

Q. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on The Darkest of Dreams, book 4 of the Annika Brisby series. And also re-vamping a whimsical, rowdy contemporary rom-com to be re-released later this autumn. And then there’s the spinoffs…I just want to do all the things right now!

Q. Of the books you have written, do you have a favorite?

I’d have to say they’re like children in that I don’t have a favorite; I love them all for different reasons. Some of them make you laugh harder, some of them make you read them again and again, and some of them are brand-new and need all your time and attention. It doesn’t mean you love the others any less.  😉

Q. Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?

It’s not glamorous, and it’s pretty lonely at times, and most people will not understand why you still do it. I do it because my inner-artist MAKES me do it. I also think that a lot of people don’t have the first clue how much work you have to do AFTER the book is written. Since I’m indie, I have to arrange for covers, formatting, marketing and distribution all by myself. I love that element of the business, but it’s not for everyone.

Q. When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

I have a few different jobs that keep me active, like painting/plaster & drywall repair, designing custom picture frames, and working on call as a stable hand at a farm. I like DIY home improvement projects, gardening, cooking & baking from scratch, riding horses, and spending time with family and friends. And there’s nothing like lounging on the deck with my husband and dogs, surrounded by plants and a enjoying a glass of wine. Too bad northern summers are so short!

Q. Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers? 

Make friends with other writers. Don’t fall into the trap of negative thinking or be in groups with negative people. Listen to the most popular podcasts for authors. I strongly recommend the Rocking Self Publishing podcast with Simon Whistler and The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn. Find others who inspire you. Cling to the advice that makes sense, and let go of the rest. You can always come back to it later. Realize that you don’t have to do everything right this very moment. Do a little bit every day and it will add up. Persistence and resilience are the two things that are going to get you to where you want to go, once you decide where that destination is. And if you ever have questions, the author community is filled with helping hands! Never be afraid to ask questions!

If you are interested in knowing more or checking out Ms. Cannaday’s books you may go to her website, check her out on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

 

 

The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday

The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday, The Genre Minx Book Reviews

Title: The Silver Thread (Annika Brisby Series #2)

Author: Emigh Cannaday

Website: http://www.emighcannaday.com

Release Date: December 01, 2012

Format: E-book

My source for this book: Author

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ of 5 stars

 

 

This review is based on a digital copy I received from author Emigh Cannaday. It is an honest review and the complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

This is the second book in The Annika Brisby series and I can say that I love this series! I went into this book expecting that the storyline would follow a predictable road given the cliffhanger from The Flame and the Arrow but this story was it’s own animal and was better than I ever expected!

After being torn away from Eritahti, Talvi’s home world, through a portal Annika finds herself back on Earth trying to convince her friends and family that she was taken to another world and had a great adventure. They of course thought she was crazy or had a case of Stockholm syndrome. In most books we get the magical “and all the friends accepted the unbelievable,” which has come to be the norm with fantasy books and I will freely admit I subscribe to this norm 😉. This was a point I loved, realistically if my friend came back after a few months of dropping out of sight spouting about fairies and such I would not believe her. So to have her rejected from her family and friends is unexpected but realistic and it made me appreciate this story all the more.

Meanwhile Talvi having been left behind in his world is going nuts thinking about his bride being all alone. He manages to cross into our realm but in order to find his wife he makes a proverbial deal with the devil. He is given some time to relax and be with Annika but his payment is going to come due and he is going to have to make some tough choices. Pact made, Talvi finds his way to Annika but things do not go as he has been fantasizing all these months.

Both Talvi and Annika thought that their relationship was all butterflies and unicorns but after some time apart they are beyond the insta-lust and reality is setting in. I like that the author went there with their relationship, I felt that it was a realistic choice and gave the story another layer of connection. I call this the whole waking up in Vegas married notion, sounded good at the time but then there is a stranger in your bed and you are thinking crap, was this a good decision? At least that is how it is for Annika, she finds that she is not the secure person she was in the other world and is not fully trusting of Talvi, especially as he brushes off all questions pertaining to his past.

As the story goes on their relationship takes a turn in a whole new direction, but it is not the entire story. There are characters that we spent little time with in the first book that are fleshed out and are quite a humorous addition to the story. We are able to discover a huge piece of Talvi’s past that paints him in a new light and really adds a great interest to the overall series in my opinion and Oh my! do we get to see Talvi’s brother Finn in a whole new light. I thought I had him pegged but I am double guessing my double guesses now.

So I bet you are wondering what it is that I did not like….sigh….love triangles. Not full on love triangles but similar enough to get my ire up. Also, there was Annika. I love her as a character but she is self-centered, almost annoyingly so and I wanted to shake her, ha ha, which actually only makes the story that much better for me because I was emotionally involved. Don’t worry though by the end there was light at the end of that tunnel and I am confident that she will develop in the next book.

By the end of book two I am ready to move on to book three, which makes this book a winner! I was expecting the storyline to follow the “happily ever after” theme and that was my own preconceived notion. Too many fairy tales for me I guess. What started off as a beautiful disaster transformed into a story of naked honesty and acceptance with a cliffhanger that is unbelievable! I absolutely loved it.

Read on for the official synopsis and if you like what you have read so far, keep scrolling for information on Book 3, The Scarlet Tanager, which is releasing today!!!


Blurb:

You’ll enjoy this edgy & dark blend of New Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance if you’re a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton, Kresley Cole, Donna Grant, Charlaine Harris, Karen Marie Moning, Jeanine Frost, J.R. Ward and Lynsay Sands.

Synopsis:

“You know, my parents didn’t give me much advice about relationships, but my mother told me that we should never go to bed upset with one another.” Talvi reached am arm out to invite Annika to curl up against his chest. “Aww, that’s a sweet thing to say,” she said as she cozied up in the crook of his arm. “What did your dad tell you?” “He said to make sure the sofa was comfortable, just in case.”

Talvi Marinossian has slain maenads and fought off vampire attacks, but nothing has prepared him for getting involved with one of these forbidden ‘Modern Girls’. When he finally tracks down Annika it’s obvious that she’s changed since her recent adventure in his homeland. It’s also clear that she’s not ready to embrace the next chapter in her life. He tries to persuade her to open up to him, but she finds it difficult since he won’t even explain how he earns a living, why he has a secret cell phone, or the reason he keeps another woman’s handkerchief in his pocket.

Instead of relying on Talvi to help her adjust, Annika delves into her music and her job, and it isn’t long before the new lovers find themselves completely out of sync with one another. Just when they start to find their rhythm, Talvi is called away on business and whisks Annika off to Paris for what is supposed to be a working vacation. But one bad decision leads to another, and the chaos that ensues may cost someone their life.

Synopsis via Goodreads


The Scarlet Tanager by Emigh Cannaday, The Genre Minx Book Reviews“You’re part samodiva. I knew that when I met you. It’s in your blood to be distracted by beauty…and pleasure.” He turned to face her, taking in every sensuous curve of her female form. “You seem to have forgotten that it’s in my blood as well. Whatever shall I do to remind you?”

Scandal. Blackmail. Obsession. It’s just another day if you’re a Marinossian. When Annika disappears without a trace, Talvi launches the hunt for his most infuriating rival yet. His only clues are from a government he’s increasingly at odds with. In exchange for access to their resources, he does the unthinkable and reveals Annika’s true nature. Time is short, but the list of names Talvi can trust keeps getting shorter.

Back home at the family’s country estate, his brother Finn is blindsided when the missing redhead turns up injured with no recollection of how she arrived. While his mother tends to her physical wounds, Finn’s given the task of restoring her memory…and he just can’t resist showing her his version of the truth. But playing mind games is like playing roulette—and someone’s luck is about to run out.

Interested? Oh, I know you are! Here are two retailers where you can purchase this book as well as the previous installments:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee. The Genre Minx Book ReviewsTitle: Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea

Author: Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Release Date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: Abrams Kids

Format: E-book

Source: NetGalley

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 of 5 stars

 

This review is based on an ARC I received from NetGalley. It is an honest review and the advanced receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.


Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

Synopsis via Goodreads


This story paints a riveting and tragic story of a young man whose family was ripped apart by the political/socioeconomic environment of his country. North Korea had recently lost their trading partner and primary source of aid and this coupled with a series of weather anomalies manifested into the collapse of the central ration system. After the death of political leader Kim Il-Sung, the country plummeted into a famine that the new leader, Kim Jong-il was ill equipped to deal with.

Sungju’s family moved from the capital of Pyongyang to the forsaken northern city Gyong-seong. This is where everything just fell apart and the story that is spun is just heart breaking. After the money ran out and the family was unable to forage anymore from the nearby forest Sungju’s dad left to search for work in China. When he did not return and the food literally ran out, his mom left to go to her sister’s for help and she never returned. Which left a malnourished pre-teen to fend for himself. So, so, so sad! Honestly as a parent this scenario just brought tears to my eyes. What made the situation worse in my eyes is that his parents had never really told him what was happening, what was really going on, so it left him ill prepared to deal with his reality.

What helped him while he was on his own was his childhood “training” with his mother and father on military strategies and hierarchies. Through his early childhood education and goals of becoming a military commander, Sungju was able to form a gang with other boys in his similar situation and together they were able to keep themselves fed, fight rival gangs, and become a family that these boys so desperately needed for survival.

“You can’t wait for hope to find you. You have to go out and grab it.”

What I took away from this story is that hope is the key. Hope was the spark that brought about the change in events that lead Sungju to South Korea and to his restoration. This story is emotionally charged and honestly portrayed. It was a glimpse into the realities of a closed off country and just another reminder of how much I take for granted in my country. This book is an eye opening must read that will not only entertain you but also capture your heart.

*Thank you to Abrams Kids & NetGalley for this ARC of Every Falling Star *

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders. The Genre Minx Book Reviews.Title: The Secrets of Wishtide (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery)

Author: Kate Saunders

Release Date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Format: E-book

Source: NetGalley

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ of 5 stars

 

This review is based on an ARC I received from NetGalley. It is an honest review and the advanced receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.


Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged fifty-two, is the widow of an archdeacon. Living in Hampstead with her confidante and landlady, Mrs. Benson, who once let rooms to John Keats, Laetitia makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator.

Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in the neighboring village of Highgate with his wife and ten children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence, her iron discretion, and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When Frederick brings to her attention a case involving the son of the well-respected, highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire to take up a position as the family’s new governess—quickly making herself indispensable.

But the seemingly simple case—looking into young Charles Calderstone’s “inappropriate” love interest—soon takes a rather unpleasant turn. And as the family’s secrets begin to unfold, Laetitia discovers the Calderstones have more to hide than most.

Synopsis via Goodreads


Have you ever read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens? If you had and wished for some exploration on the characters or some slight differences in their outcomes then I whole-heartedly suggest you read this tale. If you have never read David Copperfield then no worries, if you like crime, mystery and suspense then I also suggest this book to you.

This book is touted as a new crime series and it is BUT what they are not touting is that this is a book about romance as well. I do not mean romance in the illicit sense; I mean that the underlying stories in this novel are all driven by love for good or bad. There is also the heartbreak of the widowed Laetitia Rodd, which was felt throughout the story. She loved her husband and misses him so and because of her experiences in love she views all the other interactions with the women that she sees through this lens. To me, it makes the story richer. Humans are driven by love and by lack of love and I like that the character is written in such a way that she can be compassionate to even the most vile of women because she can understand on a level what led them to their circumstances or situation.

“My work could be described as the Management and Prevention of Scandal (my brother used to enjoy making up facetious advertisements for my services – ‘Blushes Spared and Broken Commandments Mended!’)”

 Laetitia Rodd is a clever sort of woman who uses intuition and spying to gather information for clients in her work as a private investigator. What could drive a woman in Victorian times to pursue a career as a PI? Well, after the death of her husband she was left near penniless and needed to find a way to support herself. Luckily she has a younger brother who is a barrister and recommends her for cases where discretion is advised for finding out the truth of the matter.

It is due to this type of recommendation that Laetitia finds herself embroiled in a most unpleasant mystery that involves multiple murders all being orchestrated by an unknown master criminal that only goes by the moniker of “Prince.” True to fashion, this stubborn Victorian woman is not deterred by the circumstances and is bound and determined to bring this puppet master to justice. With the help of her brother, an inspector from the Metropolitan Police and her landlady, Mrs. Bentley, Laetitia is able to follow the trail of a murderer that is full of twists and turns and surprises. This story will keep you on your toes with suspense.

There are truly no dull moments in this book and it is also a clean read. There are talks of scandals, adultery and harlots but it is all done without it being vulgar. All the characters are well fleshed out and even though this is most likely going to be a series, the ending is very tidy with no cliffhangers. I do not think that will be a deterrent for readers in not continuing the series though because Laetitia is a pip and they will want to see what she wanders into next. There is also the seeds of possibility of something with a certain inspector…it is after all a novel full of romantic notions. I highly recommend this book to all readers!

*Thank you to Bloomsbury USA & NetGalley for this ARC of The Secrets of Wishtide*

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen. The Genre Minx Book ReviewsTitle: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast (A Steampunk Proper Romance #1)

Author: Nancy Campbell Allen

Website: http://ncallen.blogspot.com

Release Date: August 02, 2016

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

My source for this book: Purchased

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 of 5 stars

 

I have been waiting for this book to come out since April and it is finally in my hot little hands. It was so much more than I had hoped for. It has the steampunk elements that I adore. It has vampires, shape-shifters, mediums and humans with exceptional qualities. Loved it! This book for me is amazing; it felt like it had a blending of Jane Eyre, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Beauty and the Beast. Those three books happen to also be my favorites so I had warm fuzzies going on throughout this story.

First thing first– Are there really steampunk elements in this story? Yes! Yes! Yes! From beginning to end! It has airships, clockwork carriages, and automatons among other things. Not only do we see automatons on the airships but they are also essential staff members and some that even have artificial coverings to make them appear more human. They are programmable for their duties as well as personality wise. So cool!! I loved this addition of characters to the story. There are also shape-shifters that have modified clockwork-hearts because when they shift from human to other the human heart is insufficient to carry the “load” that a shape-shifter requires. Eeeek! Last but not least, characters walk around with goggles as part of their attire because hey you never know when you are going to jump aboard an airship.

The setting of this story is an alternate Victorian England where the existence of vampires, shape-shifters and zombies are all anomalies that have been verified by science. Our heroine, Lucy Pickett, is an accomplished research botanist and public spokesperson for the Botanical Aid Society of London. Her belief is that if it is real it can be proven and she is very comfortable with reality based upon facts.

When she receives a letter from her recently married cousin, Kate Blake, stating that she has been unwell and that she believes that it may be due to a ghost haunting the premises, Lucy is dubious and goes to visit her cousin vowing not to leave until she is better. While in route to Blackwood Manor she also contemplates the Earl of Blackwood and the mysterious death of his wife and murder of his sister, which happened within one day of each other. Which leads her to consider that the circumstance her cousin finds herself in to be of a natural cause rather than a supernatural one.

“She couldn’t exactly define what it was that roused her from sleep. The room was dark with only moonlight streaming in from the turret window. And there was a woman at the foot of her bed, watching her.”

Oh dang! That’s creepy! Yes, there are some supernatural beings in this story after all but what about Lord Blackwell? Is he above suspicion? Hmmm, Lucy is not sure. He is really cranky and secretive but somehow she doubts that he is capable of cold-blooded murder. Now there is talk about “The Bride’s Curse” that has affected several of the Blake predecessors. So what are we talking about here, a killer, a murdering ghost, a curse?!?

This story is very well written. There are many fantasy elements, steampunk elements, Victorian elements, and horticultural elements that are woven together and throughout this story. Very nicely done! Also, let’s not forget that this is a “Steampunk Proper Romance” and the romance is quite proper and hey maybe a little naughty too. Yeah, I liked the romance elements and found that for me this book was a page-turner that I did not want to put down!

Keep on reading for the official synopsis:


Blurb:

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

Synopsis:

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

Synopsis via Goodreads

 

Terrific Tuesday: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff Releasing August 09, 2016

Hello my Terrific Tuesday pals! Today marks the debut of an entire new series by author Jay Kristoff and all I have to say is thank the freaking stars it is finally here! I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for this to finally happen. Thanks be to Amazon who have same day delivery of pre-orders, I will have this book in my hot little hands today!!!

Nevernight by Jay Kristof. The Genre Minx Book ReviewsIn a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Synopsis via Goodreads


Seriously, I am hyperventilating with excitement just reading this synopsis! Did you see that cover art? I need to read, need to read it now! In case you live under a rock, kidding, here is a bit about the author:

Author Jay KristoffJay Kristoff is a New York Times and international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

Website: https://jaykristoff.com

Twitter: @misterkristoff

Bio via author website  Author Photo Credit