Tag Archives: Magic

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer

Overview

Title: The Watchmaker’s Daughter
Author: C.J. Archer
Series: Glass and Steele #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Magic, Steampunk
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2016

Thoughts

I’ve already read one C.J. Archer book, so when The Watchmaker’s Daughter perfectly filled one of my reading challenge prompts, I was excited to dive right in. And, boy, was I NOT disappointed. This was a fun, engaging whirlwind of a story that now has me completely hooked on the author. Like The Last Necromancer, The Watchmaker’s Daughter is a tale that had me on the edge of my seat – incredibly keen to see what was going to happen next. The fantastic historical fiction / steampunk world building just made me more and more excited as the storyline unfolded.

Although I am completely obsessed with historical fictions, in particular, historical romances at the moment – I do sometimes find it a little… unrealistic when the lead female is so damn headstrong. It’s a little less… enjoyably historical when the heroine is so damn modern. I mean, in the past, women who were THAT outspoken and strong… were probably burned at the stake, or worse. Which is what makes India such a lovely and refreshing lead for this genre. She wants to be what we would perceive in the modern era as strong, but she is restricted by society. So she finds and enacts her strength in a myriad of more subtle ways. Ways which make you love her all that much more because we’ve all felt restrained by our societies and unable to act exactly the way we want.

The mystery of Matthew’s watch continues right throughout this novel. And whilst parts of his history and the watch-obsession are revealed, even at the end of this novel, you realise that there are so many more things that are to be revealed and realised throughout this series. Which, of course, just makes me want to pick up The Mapmaker’s Apprentice all that much more. I love how whilst everything was tied up nicely at the conclusion of this story, there are still so many more mysteries to uncover. It is the mark of a fantastic writer that the end of the story leaves you hanging for the next book in the series, but also feeling like everything has been tied up nice and neatly.

The whole gang in this story are characters that I absolutely loved. I want to sink further and further into this series. Plus, I want to see how the hints of romance between India and Matthew blossom. They seem like kind of the perfect couple, which means that it will be fantastic to see if they do, in fact, make a good couple when push comes to shove. Plus, there is also the tantalising hints of Duke and Winnie to consider…

<- More C.J. ArcherThe Mapmaker’s Apprentice ->

Image source: Goodreads

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Overview

Title: These Rebel Waves
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Stream Raiders #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal fantasy, Pirates, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

Let me preface this review by saying that there is a surprise reveal in this that I DID NOT see coming. Not so much a twist that will shock and awe… but certainly a surprise unveiling of truth that I wasn’t expecting. It was one that suddenly made total sense and has me itching to read These Divided Shores… I just have to buy it first.

Jumping between points if view doesn’t always work so seamlessly. But Raasch is able to do it in a way that is not only enjoyable, but highlights the different voices of the three leads. In fact, she managed to have such great characterisation and relatable characters that I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. For all three of them. Not a feeling that I often have with multiple points of view.

This book had a very pirate-like feel to it. Almost Pirates of the Caribbean in some moments in fact. Add in the not so subtle splashes of botanical magic, and of course this was the kind of story that was up my alley. A dash of romance, plenty of action and violence… of course I fell for this.

The part that destroys me most about this story? The goddam ending!!! It is such a phenomenal cliff-hanger. One that I didn’t anticipate AT ALL. And it is one that I can’t stop thinking about… I really don’t relish the idea of waiting to buy the next book in this series…

<- More Sara RaaschThese Divided Shores ->

Image source: Goodreads

The White Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Overview

Title: The White Gryphon
Author: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon
Series: Valdemar #2, The Mage Wars #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Mages, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 1995

Thoughts

It’s been an age since I read The Black Gryphon. Or really, any Valdemar book. And although this definitely isn’t as fantastic to me as the other Valdemar books, I’m glad I decided to dive back into this world. I love the world building and the action. The fact that there is always a focus on misfits and plenty of emotional tangles to unsnare.

Skan is still a hit of an overwhelming cocky character. A little less painful than in the first book, but still not my favourite of characters. His development did make me like him a whole lot more though. Having a pair of gryphlets alongside definitely helped me warm to him too.

I vaguely (hey, its been a while) remember thoroughly enjoying Amberdrake and Winterheart. There is something fantastically simple about this couple that, whilst it doesn’t inspire fireworks, gives a feeling of comfort and truth. I love the acceptance that shines between them and how it carries throughout this entire story. The fact that they’re the targets of a madman who will make you cringe… well, that makes it all better.

Probably one for the reasons I don’t get as into this as the other Valdemar books is the lore and world building. I get seriously lost I all of the terminologies for the different clans and groups. Not to mention I feel like I’m constantly missing things from the history of the wars… which just inspires me to want to read this all over again.

<- The Black GryphonThe Silver Gryphon ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

Queene of Light by Jennifer Armintrout

Overview
Queene of Light (Lightworld/Darkworld, #1) by Jennifer Armintrout

Title: Queene of Light
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Series: Lightworld / Darkworld #1
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Magic, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 14th – 21st October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: When someone wished to speak with the Queene, they would wait forever.

Synopsis

In a time not long from now, the veil between fantasy and reality is ripped asunder – creatures of myth and fairy tale spill into the mortal world. Enchanted yet horrified, humans force the magical beings Underground, to colonize the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels beneath their glittering cities.

But even magic folk cannot dwell in harmony, and soon two Worlds emerge: the Lightworld, home to faeries, dragons and dwarves; and the Darkworld, where vampries, werewolves, angels and demons lurk.

Now, in the dank and shadowy place between Lightworld and Darkworld, a transformation is about to begin…

Ayla, a half faery, half human assassin, is stalked by Malachi, a Death Angel tasked with harvesting mortal souls. They clash. Immortality evaporates, forging a bond neither may survive. And in the face of unbridled ambitions and untested loyalties, an ominous prophecy is revealed that will shake the Worlds.

Thoughts

I really, really wanted to like this novel. I mean, the premise is great and the writing is good too. But I just… couldn’t get into it. I’m not sure if that was just the mood I was in (so this is definitely in the reread pile) or just generally not my speed.

One of the things I found most difficult about this novel I think was the characters. I found it hard to connect to both the leads and honestly could not have cared less what happened to them. Not exactly something that inspires me to keep reading.

Again, I really loved the premise of this story. And the world building certainly intrigued me. I will most definitely give this another try since I did love the world that this was built in. And I’m intrigued as to how the female lead is going to get out of her weird marriage.

All in all, whilst I got halfway through this and gave it a DNF, I didn’t hate it. Enough that it’s staying on my shelves ready for another attempt in years to come.

<- More Jennifer ArmintroutChild of Darkness ->

Image source: Goodreads

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone: Siege and Storm : Leigh Bardugo : 9781510105263

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2, Grishaverse #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The wound in my shoulder felt like it was on fire, but I was unhurt and my whole body was thrumming from using my power again.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner – hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice – and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Thoughts

Ever since reading Shadow and Bone, I’ve been seriously wondering what was going to be thrown in Mal and Alina’s way this time. And, you know, when the Darkling was going to reappear. He’s a great villain – I don’t really get the sexy vibes off him that others have claimed, but he is dark, mysterious and undoubtedly evil. A wonderful combination for a villain in my opinion.

Even though I think Mal is a wonderful lead love interest, he’s also kind of a knob. I mean, he’s got a woman who is obviously being thrown into a situation she’s not comfortable with. But instead of trying to communicate and support her? He runs. And just acts… well, knob-like. By the end of the book I was finding him to be a bit much and a bit frustrating in this area… im hoping Ruin and Rising will redeem him a bit more…

The build up that Bardugo creates in this story is wonderfully and seriously intense. Not only is there the clash between Alina and the Darkling, but there’s now royalty and a cult… I mean, if that set of trials and tribulations isn’t gearing up for a massive one, then what is?

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. Even in the moments that I wanted to cringe and look away, I just… couldn’t. The majority of this was read in one sitting. Late at night. When I should have been sleeping. Always a good recommendation for a book in my eyes…

<- Shadow and BoneRuin and Rising ->

Image source: Bookdepository

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Overview
Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews

Title: Emerald Blaze
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Catalina Baylor Trilogy #2, Hidden Legacy #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, Strong women
Dates read: 23rd – 29th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Sink some magic into it.

Synopsis

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything… except the hearts of those who wield it.

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers – powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops to use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.

Thoughts

Ilona Andrews is one of those authors that I pick up strategically… because I can never seem to put her books down. And I generally get a really bad book hangover once I’ve finished it. Emerald Blaze was no different. It was wonderful and impossible to put down. It was amazing and now I’m honestly a little bit pissed off that I have to wait until the next Catalina Baylor book to come out…

The more I find out about Catalina’s power and her own personal battles, the more I fall in love with her. Like all of Andrews’ heroines, she is intrinsically flawed. But, for Catalina, the biggest challenge she often faces is that she’s an introvert thrust into an extroverted position. The fact that she also has to battle her big, bad, evil grandmother… yeah, I can’t wait to see how that unfolds in the final book in this trilogy. She goes from strength to strength, but at what cost? It’s a beautiful question that you’re constantly wondering, even as you hope that the battle that Catalina and Alessandro face turns out… good in the end.

The ending of Sapphire Flames leaves a perfect cliff hanger in the feeling of who and what Alessandro actually is. Alessandro’s backstory, a bit like Catalina’s, is bought to life even more throughout the pages of this book. I actually wanted to reach through the pages of the book and hug him. It helped to strip back the arrogance that is so prominent in the other books, and, although you were always gunning for a happily ever after… this book makes you want it all that much more. I can’t wait until they get their sail off into the sunset ending (like Nevada and Rogan did), but as previously mentioned… now I have to wait (can you tell that I’m finding that quite disappointing?).

This is the most amazing of stories. I think I sat there staring at the wall for about 2 hours before I was capable of conversing too much or reading anything else. You know that the book is damn good when you are just… paralysed with the enjoyment of what you’ve read. When you can’t quite seem to get the adventures of the pages out of your head.

<- Sapphire FlamesRuby Fever ->

Image source: Goodreads

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Overview
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1) by Jim Butcher

Title: Furies of Calderon
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Codex Alera #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: High fantasy, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 13th July – 7th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: Furystorms could be deadly to anyone caught out in the open.

Synopsis

FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, THE PEOPLES OF ALERA HAVE BEEN UNITED BY THEIR UNIQUE BOND WITH THE FURIES – ELEMENTALS OF EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER AND METAL. BUT THEIR WORLD IS CHANGING.

Deep in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. And as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – returns to the Valley, this weakness will seem more important than ever.

Amara is a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos – when rebels are with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power – and could even turn the tides of war.

Thoughts

This is one of those beautifully complex and intricate story lines that will sweep you up from the very first moment. It was also completely different in tone from Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I had no idea what to expect when I opened that first page. But, wow, was I swept away.

All throughout this story, my thoughts constantly bounced to Oh Tavi, what trouble are you in now? It didn’t seem to matter the situation, that boy just seemed to bounce from one chaotic not so good moment to another. Which, of course, kept you turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

It took me a little while to get my head around what Furies were. But, once I did, o really enjoyed the variety of powers that the different furies were able to provide to their people. I loved how it was almost a partnership of powers between element and human. One that drew on the strengths of both to enhance their natural powers.

I was so hopeful that the really horrifying bad guys would be dead at the end of this. Or at least, one of them would be. But, instead there is the beginning of a war on the horizon. Alright, I kind of knew that that was going to be the case because this is the first in a series… but I was still kind of hopeful. Yet, the brilliance of the villains is a huge part of why I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

<- More Jim ButcherAcadem’s Fury ->

Image source: Goodreads

Caught by the Tides by Diane Whiteside

Overview
Image result for beyond the dark angela knight book cover

Title: Caught by the Tides
Author: Diane Whiteside
In: Beyond the Dark (Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Emma Holly & Diane Whiteside)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Magic, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Boom!

Synopsis

Diane Whiteside does it… in an alternate universe of Regency magic where two lovers are threatened by a vicious mage and swept up in a turbulent war off the Cornish cliffs.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this novella. The historical / regency setting is one that is seriously familiar to me at the moment (I seem to be diving into a lot of regency romances at the moment). But it had that great added twist of magic throughout. Something to provide a bit of a different spin on things that I haven’t quite seen yet. And definitely an enjoyable system / storyline.

There seems to have been a few books on my shelves lately that have featured a mysterious man being washed, naked onto the shore. Alright, the lead male in this isn’t actually naked (that I remember). But there is still that sense of the ocean brining true love to someone’s unwitting door. It gave the whole story a sense of joy and mystery that swept me away (like the pun there?). The windswept Cornish coast just added to that fantastic feeling throughout.

All in all, this was a seriously fun and enjoyable story. I have read one or two novellas (or were they short stories) by Diane Whiteside and always find them to be good fun. I’m glad that this story was not different. Definitely one that I would read again.

<- Dragon DanceQueen of All She Surveys ->

Image source: Amazon

Devils and Details by Devon Monk

Overview
Devils and Details (Ordinary Magic, #2) by Devon Monk

Title: Devils and Details
Author: Devon Monk
Series: Ordinary Magic #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 26th April 20
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Odd House Press
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Thank you so much, Thor.

Synopsis

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Police Chief Delaney Reed is good at keeping secrets for the beach town of Ordinary Oregon – just ask the vacationing gods or supernatural creatures who live there.

But with the first annual Cake and Skate fundraiser coming up, the only secret Delaney really wants to know is how to stop the unseasonable rain storms. When all the god powers are stolen, a vampire is murdered, and her childhood crush turns out to be keeping deadly secrets of his own, rainy days are the least of her worries.

Hunting a murderer, outsmarting a know-it-all-god, and uncovering an ancient vampire’s terrifying past isn’t how she planned to spend her summer. But then again, neither is falling back in love with the one man she should never trust.

Thoughts

I forgot how much I enjoyed the world building in this series. I love the idea of gods on vacation and having a sheriff to try and control the insanity that will surely follow. I mean, after all, gods are known for being unpredictable, and well, frankly, nuts… so it makes sense that they need a sheriff to keep them all under control. The fact that it’s Delaney and her sisters just makes it all that much more likeable.

This story careens from insane moment to insane moment. It left me smiling and giggling all throughout. And, for most of the tale, I wasn’t really sure of where this story was going to take me… I mean, god powers being stolen, vampires being murdered, past loves trying to reconnect… there is a whole lot in this that is fun and sassy. And completely unpredictable. Which I think all stories of gods should be if I’m being honest.

I did kind of predict what Ryder’s secret and reason for breaking up with Delaney were. Even then, the actual explanation was a little more than I had hoped for (yay). I loved their dynamic throughout this. Alongside the protectiveness of Delaney’s two sisters – I mean, what are sisters if not beautifully and ridiculously protective?

This story ends with a war on the horizon, and a missing vampire. I can’t wait to see where they went / what happened and where the story is going to take us from here… bring on the next novel in this series!

<- Death and RelaxationGods and Ends ->

Image source: Goodreads

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone : Leigh Bardugo : 9780805094596

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1, Grishaverse #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He didn’t say a word to me, and as the hours and days wore on, I started to worry that I’d somehow offended him.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Orphaned and expdnable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first rek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dromant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of roaylty and intrigue, as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she lvoes and the very future of a nation.

Thoughts

I can seriously understand why this series, and this story in particular is so damn popular. I knew that I’d probably love it from the fact that I have loved all of the short stories which Bardugo has written. But I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy this. I mean… wow. It is an amazing, unforgettable journey and I can’t wait to read more of this series! hopefully before the Netflix series comes out…

Alina is a lovely and soulful lead character. I honestly fell in love with her from the very beginning. There is something about her loyalty and strength that makes you love her from the first page. And the fact that she will do anything for the boy that she loves… that just makes it all so much sweeter and cuter. Particularly when you discover the depths she’s actually gone to for him…

I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series – not just he trilogy, but the whole Grishaverse. Alina and Mal may have found a way to escape the first obstacle. But there are so many more to come. And the Darkling doesn’t seem like the kind of villain that is going to be easy to escape – he is kind of terrifying if I’m being completely honest.

I love that this is most definitely a friends to lovers romance. Particularly since you can see Alina’s loyalty and love from the very beginning. Boys are stupid and tend to take a little bit longer, but that tie is there from the very beginning. I can’t wait to see how this all grows and blossoms throughout the series. Everything about writing this review and reading the story just make me want to pick up the next novel in this series!!!

All in all this is an amazing story. One that has pulled me into the Grishaverse reality completely. I can’t wait to read more of the series. And then, hopefully, when I’ve finished, dive into the Netflix show too…

<- More Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm ->

Image source: Bookdepository