My Rating: 4 Stars
A fun, cosy-mystery, perfect for a relaxing evening filled with laughter.
Maddie Kosloski shouldn’t be surprised when the Christmas Cow of San Benedetto’s goes up in flames. Every year the same thing happens and she can’t say she doesn’t feel a little bit happy since the cow moves the attention from her paranormal museum. However, this year proves to be a bit different. One of the guards of the Christmas Cow is found dead with an arrow through the chest. When the haunted cowbell in her museum starts developing a weird behaviour, the spirit animals in the place also start going a bit out of control. Can Maddie discover the truth before the killer puts a hole in someone else and madness takes over her museum?
This novel, just like the title indicates, is very amusing and fun. This was the second novel I read from this collection (yes, I still didn’t read the first book) and the auhor Kristen Weiss never ceases to surprise me with her humour and her different plots.
The cast from the previous instalment is back and it was nice to see the evolution of these characters compared with the previous novel. They are still a delight to accompany in the adventure and their depth makes the reader want to get to know them better. Maddie is a great main character, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, together with Detective Slate. Her best friends
The plot is easy to follow but not easy to predict. There are enough twists to keep the reader guessing and all the weirdness of it makes the read very enjoyable. It was a treat to read and a delight to go deeper into the murder. You’ll never see San Benedetto’s the same way!
This book is definitely a good addition to the collection of the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Collection. I recommend it to the fans of a weird-in-a-good-way cosy-mystery type of book.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Midnight Ink and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This is the type of comic that never disappoints! Beautiful art mixed with a great story.
The tale starts with Lady Mechanika on a journey, trying to put a tragic event behind her. In the small town of Santa Catrina, it’s that time of the year, the celebration of the Dia de Los Muertos. As she learns more and starts enjoying herself, a mutilated boy comes into town before collapsing. He is the latest victim of the Jinetes del Inferno, a group of gods that require sacrifices every year. If they don’t get what they want, they torture children as the warning. This time, they get more than what they bargained for. Lady Mechanika makes it her mission to put a permanent end to them.
I read and reviewed the previous volumes of the Lady Mechanika collection and this one can be read as a stand-alone. There is enough background story in the plot to make sure the reader doesn’t feel lost.
The storyline is very nice and dramatic. For the readers of the previous volumes, you will know there is nothing new to that. The story is simple, easy to follow and very compelling just as the style of writing.
The art is memorable as usual. The excellent graphics, the steampunk mixed with the typical Mexican art is simply amazing. The lines, the colours and the attention to detail blend perfectly with the story and the character of Lady Mechanika. The reader ends up being pulled into her world and her adventures.
Another great read, one that I recommend to the fans of the series and of steampunk art.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Benitez Productions and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This book can only be described as pure magic, for several reasons. It resonates with the soul.
A young girl forgot part of an important memory of her childhood. Nineteen years later, Liesl is an under-appreciated girl that seems to be doomed to remain the ugly shadow of her beautiful young sister and her talent brother. She lives to care only for others, not caring about herself at all. Growing up with stories of the Goblin King, Lord of Mischief seemed just like any other fairytales, stories that in time stop being listened to. Everything changes when her sister is taken by goblins into the Underworld and the Goblin King himself sets a challenge: she has to rescue her sister and give her life in exchange for her freedom. As her relationship with the King grows, her life grows short. The wheels of fate and choice are set in motion: to stay and die or to live at the cost of her music?
This novel is a pure work of art. The writing style is breathtaking and slowly but surely it sings to the readers’ soul. The words are like music notes that play quietly in the distance and they bring out the longing and the nostalgia of memories that are half-forgotten. It’s like reading poetry but in verse. S. Jae-Jones revealed herself to be an enchantress of words.
The plot is unique and developed in a unique way. It’s a strange world where reality and illusion meet and, from the beginning, the reader isn't supposed to try and distinguish them. Wintersong is imagination, a vivid dream and it’s so well described that it pulls you in right from the first page. Everything that happens in the story and even the descriptions of rooms, the forest and Liesl’s home, they all mean something. The symbols are there so the reader can interpret them and the author leaves them that freedom. The scary part is that, in the end, everything just leads to the same ending. It’s a tale of remembrance, loss of innocence, sacrifice and acceptance, not only of the circumstances but also of one’s self and our individual value.
The characters are just as unique as the story. Liesl is an incredible heroine and she isn’t the typical fair maid that needs rescuing. She is a real, unpolished young girl that couldn’t be more of an opposite to her family and their ways. On the contrary of her sister that is known for her beauty and her arrogant, spoiled character, Liesl doesn’t mind staying in the shadows with her self-doubt, her jealousy and her desperate desire to be noticed. She isn’t pure, at times she’s cruel, but that’s the way humans are. She needs to be broken in order to find her true self, to go beyond social barriers, expectations and most of all, her own self-doubt.
The characters are good and evil, innocent and devilish, self-absorbed but selfless too. The Goblin King, the main male protagonist, is also a victim of a trick of fate and destined to be judged by a title he never desired. He’s a tragic figure, bond to live eternally alone, in darkness. There are no heroes and no villains in this story.
This book will mark its reader deeply, for its melody, its soul-felt story and beautiful characters. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was a different, tricky and great historical mystery where both the living and the dead are suspects. Very refreshing!
Recently widowed Alice Goodway developed the ability to speak to spirits. She decides to become a medium with the help of her aunt and helps those who wish to speak with their loved ones. Her life is turned upside down when she receives a threatening letter quickly followed by a dead body in her home. The sceptic Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan and open-minded Constable Jaggery are sent to investigate and catch a killer before they reach their price: Alice herself.
The first book I read by A.J. Wright and I loved it. I’m curious to read the first story and how it all began. Even though I felt like I was missing something with the relationship between the characters, I would say it can still be read as a stand-alone.
The plot is brilliant created and developed. The plot takes place in the Victorian Age, Lancashire 1894 which gives a very English taste and a very nice setting for a murder. Everything about the crime makes sense and slowly the reader is taken on a trip through several people, ghosts and clues that entangle the story and make it hard to guess the identity of the killer. The fun part is that it can be both the living and the dead which were for me, a treat to read. The best part is that no strings are left loose and the complex case is beautifully solved. It was a tricky, evolving murder mystery full of twists and turns that leave the reader glued to the pages to see what the next page has in store.
The style of writing is simple, compelling and it has the appropriate tone and vocabulary from the 19th century. The reader doesn’t get lost in the story and the tone of the narrative runs as smoothly as the story itself. Wright doesn’t make it easy though. The tone of which he writes is suspicious and even though he doesn’t full out blame someone, he installs doubt in the mind of his readers, in a very skilful way indeed.
The characters are quite colourful since there are many of them. The author throws all sorts of clues but the reader will not be 100% sure if it’s a real clue or a distraction attempt. Even so, all the characters play their part and each one has a certain depth to them. The dead characters add spice to the story and I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book like I did without them. In the beginning, however, it was a bit difficult for me to remember all the characters, their names and identities since they all get introduced in the beginning. But, as the story goes on, everything becomes easy to follow.
A great historical mystery that can also be considered a cosy-mystery to be enjoyed by all the fans of the genres.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Endeavour Press and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A wonderful plot, unlike anything you’ve read before. A great beginning of an epic journey.
A storm during a delivery to a rural area completely changed the life of Robby Ribbon. After a few wrong turns, he’s completely lost and without meaning too finds and rings a Bell that isn't supposed to ring at all. After the incident, everything changes and war follows. Was it just a coincidence? Robby embarks on a journey that he doesn’t understand, meeting companions along the way that in the end will change more than just his world, they will reveal who he truly is.
I completely fell in love with this book. It starts with something so simple and develops into something more complex and it turns the novel into something epic and memorable. I’m counting the days for the next instalment. It’s a novel that is to be read at a steady pace. For me, it’s not meant to be rushed, it’s meant to be savoured and to be enjoyed to the minimal detail.
The world building of The Bellringer is fantastic. The author takes his time to explain the history of this world and build you a complete painting of how it’s organized. I really enjoyed the map detail: there are maps in the introduction that shows each continent and country. For me, it’s a very positive point since it allowed me to have an overview of the general lines of this world. In the beginning, I had struggled to read it since the pace was a bit too low for my taste, but it’s needed to have a better grasp of everything that comes after. Once the bell in rang, all hell breaks loose and the pace speeds up significantly. Sadly for me, it doesn’t have a happy ending and it leaves the reader with a big book-hangover.
There are several storylines and each one is a different adventure. The best part is that some of them come together in the end and others are left to the imagination of the reader, which for me it’s a positive point. The characters are incredibly created: there are several main and secondary characters and they are all developed in depth. In this novel, it’s easy to be drawn to the characters and just journey with them. Sometimes the reader might even wish to be there to give some insights and advice. They are so well imagined and developed that I could almost hear their voices in my head throughout the novel. Robby, the main character, has a great heart. Even though he’s completely at loss, in the beginning, he takes on a journey that might actually be the death of him and he still has his head held high. Better than Robby, just Shelia, the female character. She is a badass, tough because of her background. I’m curious to see what her role is going to be in the next instalment. There isn’t much information about her apart from glimpses of her past, but I have a feeling she will be very important in the future.
This isn’t the typical fantasy book. I can’t really put it in words, but the feeling it gives and the feeling it leaves in the reader is deep and long-lasting. I have a major book-hangover with this one. I highly recommend it to all fantasy fans. This is the beginning of an epic saga!
I want to thank Xpresso Book Tours and the author William Timothy Murray for sending me a paperback copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
An absolutely brilliant plot: mesmerizing narrative and gripping from page one.
What if the ancient Aztec civilization survived the trial of time and still existed today? In a world of stone pyramids and wild parties, the old traditions prevailed and the belief that a blood sacrifice is needed for the sun to rise is still practiced like clockwork. This is the reality that Maya lives in. She is the daughter of an upper-class family that spends her time partying with her friends and the man that claimed her as his wife. Her life is turned upside down when she gets kidnapped by a group of rebels that want to put an end to the theocratic regime. Maya learns that everything she has been told in her life is a lie and that the sun will rise with or without a human sacrifice. Will she join in the rebellion to save the people or will she be the next offering to the gods?
A brilliant novel that I will re-read many times over.
The storyline is solid, well-structured and consistent. It’s very rich in historical facts and they are slowly revealed through the novel, so it doesn’t overwhelm the reader with information.
The pace builds up very nicely in the beginning and then it's complete non-stop with action, filled with twists that make the story impossible to predict and pure adventure. This world is so well created that it seems like it actually took place. It was a breath of fresh air to read more about Mayan culture, their cults and rituals since it’s a story of a civilization that I know little about. Val Bodurtha presents a deep knowledge on the subject and presents it beautifully. Not only that, but it also shows a knowledge of politics and religion and how society promotes equality but in the end, it’s structured, my classes. The Aztec society is built by the elite and the ones that aren’t. Unfortunately for the peasants, that title comes with a deadline as a sacrifice is needed to gain the favour of the sun deities.
The characters are very well characterized and they truly seem to come out of the pages. They are flawed with moments of arrogance, ignorance but also courage and growth. Maya, the female protagonist, is a spoiled brat at the beginning of the story, she doesn’t care about anyone but herself and her inability to see through her own circle is annoying. But, I’m glad to say, she improves throughout the novel and actually becomes a mature young woman, driven by the need to help others and change the course of so many lives that were meant for a short life-span. The main male lead is Tezca and he is the definition of a fearless warrior. He leads the rebel group, organizes raids and builds the plans to overtake the theocratic ‘government’. He definitely adds energy to the plot and his intelligence makes the plot more believable and solid. The secondary characters are just as important and they give the support that changes the course of a few occurrences during the adventure.
Even though this book is classified as YA, I recommend it to all audiences. It has some juvenile moments but the storyline is brilliant and it’s very different from any setting the reader may encounter. It definitely deserves all its 5 stars.
I want to thank Lanier Press and the author Val Bodurtha for reaching out and sending me a paperback of her novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
An incredible book that was worth the time it took to read it. This is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year and also one of the biggest.
In 19th century England magic is remembered as part of a glorious past but no longer used in the present. Even so, there are those that question if magic will return and if it’s possible t bring it back. The reclusive Mr Norrell starts his journey by moving from the quietness of his home and the company of his books to London where he brings a young woman back from the dead and summons an army of ghost ships to give England an advantage on the war with France. The road to fame and glory seemed imminent until a young, handsome, charming, untrained magician makes an appearance. Jonathan Strange is the opposite of Mr Norrell and in time a battle of wits, beliefs and magic puts in motion a series of events that will change the fabric of history and unleash consequences that will remain the in memory of England forever.
A compelling story and an enchanting novel that isn’t meant to be rushed but to take time to savour.
Being a little over 1,000 pages this novel proves that Susanna Clarke not only wrote a story but she also created a unique and mesmerising world. The accurate interpretation and use of historical facts and the typical language of this period bring this novel to a league of its own, bringing characters to life and pulling in the reader until the very last page. There is a perfect balance between fantasy and historical fiction and the deep knowledge of the magic spells and myths which allows the reader to fully understand the story without getting lost in the process. In some parts of the book I thought it grew a bit tedious but then something changes in the storyline and I couldn’t put it down again.
The style of writing is beautiful, subtle and very compelling. I admire the author for the brilliant use of the typical 19th century English with all its smooth phrases and rich vocabulary and how she manages to capture the readers' attention, to engage their imagination but at the same time not losing any of the strings that build the story in a steady pace. The amount of detail is just enough to allow the reader to vividly imagine the setting, the characters and the interactions between characters. Susanna Clarke is a true word magician: she was able to create a solid plot, with no loose ends while bringing together magic, history, warfare, politics, social and domestic life. A genius of literature.
The characters are extraordinary and there is no difference between the amount of characterisation of the main and secondary characters. The depth and solidity they have are incredible, each one with its own story, beliefs, opinions, qualities and flaws. Furthermore, all the characters contribute to the story in one was or the other and it was thrilling to see how their actions, both direct and indirect, are pieces that make the puzzle come together in the end. Jonathan Strange is my favourite character. He has his flaws, like being impulsive and arrogant, but at the same time his passion, his thirst for knowledge, his passion for books and his almost obsessive need to understand the past in order to build something new are some of the features that I highly enjoyed. The relationship between Strange and Norrell was one of my favourite to read and explore throughout the novel. Going between friends and rivals, their confrontations and verbal disputes creates such a chemistry that makes the reader anxious for more direct encounters.
A great book that I recommend for the fans of stead-paced story build-up and a unique tale that will leave a long-lasting impression.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great sequel to the memorable first novel The Red Pyramid.
Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt got released into the world, the lives of Sadie and Carter Kane has been turned upside down. Now responsible for the House of Life in Brooklyn, the siblings train others with pharaohs’ blood, trying to get ready for the dangerous mission ahead. The most feared enemy of Ancient times is awakening and with it bringing destruction to the world and drown it in Chaos: Apophis, the serpent of Chaos. To stop it, they must do the impossible: find the god of the sun, Ra and re-establish him as the King of the Gods. Easier said than done, however, no one knows where the god retired to exile and no one has seen him in decades. So, the world is about to end and they have no idea where to start. Just another normal day in the lives of the Kane family.
This adventure keeps getting better and better! Just as the first volume, Sadie and Carter narrate the tale of their impossible missions in a witty and entertaining way and this time their adventures will them to a trip around the world.
The story-line is great, consistent and leaves nothing to chance. Every detail the reader learned in the first book is explored and easily understood throughout the story, going deeper into the characters and the plot itself that starts to become more complex than the reader would have expected. Action, funny interactions, dangerous encounters are only a few of the moments that make this story so addictive.
The writing style is typical of the great writer that Rick Riordan is known for and it keeps the reader glued to the pages from beginning to end.
The settings in this instalment change just as quickly as everything else: from Brooklyn to Egypt and Russia where the characters explore the extended influence of the Egyptian culture across the world and how powerful symbols can be.
Rick Riordan presents a new group of characters that complement the story perfectly. Bes, the god of dwarves that has the power to scare people away with his ugliness, the handsome Walt that makes Sadie’s life a bit more complicated and true Zia that makes Carter’s life a lot more difficult. Carter and Sadie grow so much in this novel that it’s Impossible not to grow attached to them. Their relationship changes as time pass and it’s a nice change to see that even though they get along better actually able to have a normal conversation, they still have their snarky comebacks and rocky brother-sister conversations.
This series keeps getting more and more interesting and I’m sad that there’s only one volume left.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another brilliant series by the renowned author Rick Riordan, and this time with Egyptian mythology.
The Kane siblings have two very different lives ever since their mother died. Carter, raised in the US, the oldest, travels the world with his father, being home-schooled and used to the fact he never stayed in one place long enough to make friends; and Sadie, taken under their grandparents wing in the UK, goes to school, has friends, but only has the chance to see her father and brother no more than a few times a year. Their lives change forever when an accident unleashes the gods of Egypt into the world, the good and the bad ones. They soon discover that the gods are unable to stay on their plain unless they take a human host, one strong enough to sustain them. Thrown into a world that was hidden from them, Carter and Sadie find themselves on a race against time to save the most important person to them and stop Set, God of Chaos, from destroying the world.
Rick Riordan did it again: a mind-blowing and involving middle-grade novel that all ages can enjoy. In this novel, he takes on one of the most complex religions and manages to make it very simple to the eye of his readers.
The story-line is very solid and the reader is taken on an adventure of a lifetime with the Kane siblings. All the mythological myths, legends, and godly characters are very well represented and their story is presented in a way that will keep even the younger readers engaged in the story and the characters. The novel is fast-paced, filled with action and unexpected twists that will leave the reader second-guessing throughout the story. There are two perspectives in the novel, both from Sadie and Carter which allows the reader to get to know them simultaneously and have a better understanding of the story.
The characters are amazing. For the first time, the main characters of this novel are brother and sister and with such dynamics that is both refreshing and very entertaining. I think readers with siblings will be able to identify to some of their thoughts about each other and their reactions. At the same time, I think the author did a great job in developing their relationship since they were raised apart. In the end, they don’t know each other that well and struggle to understand one another. Furthermore, Carter and Sadie are very different: Carter is humble, methodical, logical and with a vast knowledge of Egyptian culture; and Sadie is sassy, rebellious and usually acts before thinking. Both characters are very well-developed as well as the secondary characters, which become more important throughout the story.
I really enjoyed this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s an action-packed adventure that will impress all ages.
My Rating. 5 Stars
This a great change compared to the other collections Rick Riordan created. A hilarious breath of fresh air!
Handsome sun god all-mighty Apollo is banished from Olympus after the great battle with Ghea. He is now in the body of a teenage boy with acne and not even the shadow of his 8-pack; and, because things had to be worse, he doesn't have his powers either. With the help of the demigod Page, Apollo gets to Camp Half-Blood only to find that his oracles have gone silent and demigods have gone missing. When the ex-god is given a quest, can he make it out alive?
This new series continues after The Heroes of Olympus and it makes the start of a great new adventure with a very unlikely main character.
The story-line of this novel is refreshing and creates a solid base for the future instalments. There isn't time to grow bored with this novel, the action starts right from the beginning and the style of writing and the humour keeps the reader engaged until the very last page. Plus, since the story is told through the perspective of Apollo himself, the reader gets to know in depth this character that has as much arrogance as he has regrets.
The settings where the novel takes place are already familiar to the reader which gives a feeling of familiarity but at the same remember the danger of specific places.
It was great to see old characters that the reader got so used too in the previous collections and new recruits that add spice and colour to the story. Page, the main female protagonist, is q mystery and very difficult to get to know since she's very quiet and keeps to herself. On the other hand, to see her interactions with Apollo and how their friendship grows was a treat and a hilarious journey. Apollo is not your regular main character: he is narcissistic, selfish, completely oblivious to the feelings of others and a complete drama king. Even though he has his flaws (which he doesn't see as such), he has his heart in the right place and he actually grows as a character throughout the novel. The reader will be taken on a ride of emotions with Apollo aka Lester, living through hilarious, witty comments to heart-stopping action scenes and heart-felt moments. It was very refreshing to read a book of Rick Riordan where the main character is so different from all the others he created so far.
A very enjoyable and easy read that I highly recommend to the fans of Rick Riordan, his amazing writing style and his memorable characters. I you think you've seen it all, you should definitely try this one!
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.