REVIEW | A Fierce Glory by Justin Martin

BookReview12:17A Fierce Glory: Antietam--The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery
Description

From an acclaimed author and historian, the dramatic, character-rich story of Antietam–the high-stakes battle Lincoln needed to win to save the Union and free the slaves

September 17, 1862, was America’s bloodiest day. When it ended, 3,654 soldiers lay dead on the land surrounding Antietam Creek in Western Maryland. The battle fought there was as deadly as the stakes were high.

For the first time, the Rebels had taken the war into Union territory. A Southern victory would have ended the war and split the nation in two. Instead, the North managed to drive the Confederate army back into Virginia. Emboldened by victory, albeit by the thinnest of margins, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves and investing the war with a new, higher purpose.

In this vivid, character-rich narrative, acclaimed author Justin Martin reveals why this battle was the Civil War’s tipping point. The battle featured an unusually rich cast of characters and witnessed important advances in medicine and communications. But the impact of the battle on politics and society was its most important legacy. Had the outcome been different, Martin argues, critical might-have-beens would have rippled forward to the present, creating a different society and two nations.

A Fierce Glory is an engaging account of the Civil War’s most important battle.

goodreads.com

 

What I Liked

Having lived in the U.S. I have been hearing about this battle from a young age and how it is the bloodiest of our history. Even moving on to University I learned even more and I though I had a very good grasp on the events of this battle. I am happy to say that this novel has shed some fresh light ton aspects of the battle I did not previously know or fully understand. Martin has done a great job in creating this unique and very well informed account.

One thing I look at while reading a non-fiction novel is I am very mindful of the footnotes/end notes. For me this can either make a nonfiction book or break it. When writing about nonfiction these authors need to cite a lot of documents and other articles to come across as legitimate and essentially prove that they did their due diligence while researching. It is apparent here that he has done just that. I also appreciated the mention of women dressing up in mens clothing so they too can fight.

Another thing I really enjoyed about A Fierce Glory was how the author showed how the soldiers and leaders lived and were affected. Additionally, the narrative benefited greatly by the author showing the battle in a large scope instead of focusing on the movements of soldiers. Often while reading a something about the battle you hear something along the lines of, so and so did this and then this happened. What was done with this account is very unique. Not only does the author NOT show you what happened, the historical figures do. This is something I think will benefit a lot of readers who normally would not pick up this genre.

What I Didn’t Like

While the author mentioned women taking part in the fighting, such as Barton, I just wanted to hear more. Now this is a person want and does not mean the book is not good in anyway. In fact, I am happy the author talked about women roles during the civil war. I just wish I could learn even more about it.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I would say this is a very solid look at Antietam and the bloodiest day in U.S. history. The way the author conveys the information give it a more human feeling instead of the others I have read that keep the readers at a distance from the people who fought by hiding behind troop movements. I really think this book would be well recommended for those who are interested in the battle, U.S. History, and want to get into reading nonfiction. The way in which this is written makes it very accessible.

4stars

Divider

Author Links

Justin  Martin

Twitter: JustinMartinNYC

 

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: Da Capo Press

Publication Date: September 11th 2018

List Price: $28.00

ISBN: 9780306825255

Pages: 320pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Review & Blog Tour | Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

Keeper of the BeesDescription:

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse. Add to Goodreads

Before I Begin

I just want to let all my readers know that this is the second book in a companion series, you do not need to read the first novel first one to enjoy this one. The bonuses to reading a companion series!

What I Liked

First off I have to say how much I love the authors writing style. It flows so nicely and because of this I often found myself reading for longer than I had planned and one time I was actually late seeing one of my friends. Ooops! Even though the story takes place in our world her writing was magical and that really added to the setting and the over all feeling of the novel.

While the setting and feeling of the novel were wonderful, I also liked how Kassel wrote the characters in this novel. I often read books where internal tension is more surface and there just to move a plot, in Kassel’s novel that is not the case at all. The characters have true tension within themselves and go a lot further than a surface issue. It entwines itself around the core of the character. It is present throughout the novel and not just when it helps the plot, for that I am thankful.

The last point I would way I absolutely adored about this novel was the fact that it was unique from a lot of things I have read. The way she incorporates magic, curses, and aspects of ancient/historical events to aid in a timeline, which I really appreciated. It added more to the story than just saying he was ancient or centuries old. It makes his life and age more tangible because of it.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing I did not like, which I know many will not have an issue with is that sometimes the story just felt like it was too last. This did not happen throughout the novel. It only happened one or two times and didn’t last long at all. I know that this wont bug many people, I think it only bothered me because I was liking it so much honestly.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really liked this novel. I know I will be picking up the companion novel to this in the near future. Between the writing, characters, and use of magic this book really came to life for me. Every time I picked up this novel I fell into what felt like a new world. I would highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys reading paranormal or a cute romances with a twist.

4stars

Books in the Companion Series

black bird of the gallows.jpg

Divider

About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.
Website: http://megkassel.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/megkassel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seemegwrite/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megkasselauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8353652.Meg_Kassel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Meg-Kassel/e/B0756Q8N2L/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1524085261&sr=1-1

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: September 4th, 2018

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9781640634084

Pages: 304 pages

Genre: YA Paranormal

Purchase Link: Entangled Publishing

Divider
*I received this book from the publisher for this book tour, which was Organized by YA Bound Book Tours. My options and review are my own and honest.

YA Bound Book Tours

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

REVIEW |Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft Edited by Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood

BookReview12:17Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Description

A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

 

 

What I Liked

Both Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood did an amazing job editing this short story collection together. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single short story that I read. Normally, in a short story collection there are one or two duds that just lay flat or I disliked the authors writing style, but that is far from the case with this collection.

This collection of stories that revolves around witches was amazing for multiple reasons. The first being that each author had their own view of what a witch was. You can see that these authors come from different backgrounds and have heard myths from their cultures about witches. I loved this. Not only did I get to read about witches, but I got to read about different interruptions on what a witch is.

On top of there being different takes on what a witch is the stories in this collection are not just modern, but also some are written in the past. Being a history lover myself I loved that some of the stories were from along ago when in the United States were just colonies. Even if history is not your thing I feel like you would love those stories anyway due to the plots of the stories themselves. Even though these stories are short I felt connected with the characters I rooted for them.

What I Didn’t Like

The only fault I have with this collection is the fact that it ended. I wanted the book to keep going and going.

Overall Thoughts

I adored this collection of short stories so much. I have to openly admit that this short story collection has truly been a winner in my eyes. There was not a single short story that I did not love. All the authors writing was wonderful and the varying takes and time periods that their stories took place in were all done so well. Each story was its own and was wonderful.  I even loved that there was LGBTQ+ elements to this collection.  I know that I am going out to the store and buying this collection when it comes out in stores. I will be rereading it and annotating it so much. I highly recommend this collection of you love reading stories about witches from long ago to modern times.

5stars

Divider

Editor Links

Tess SharpeTwitter: https://twitter.com/sharpegirl

Website: http://www.tess-sharpe.com

Jessica Spotswood

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessica_shea

Website: http://jessicaspotswood.com

List of Contributing Authors

  • Brandy Colbert
  • Zoraida Córdova
  • Andrea Cremer
  • Kate Hart
  • Emery Lord
  • Elizabeth May
  • Anna-Marie McLemore
  •  Tehlor Kay Mejia
  • Lindsay Smith
  • Nova Ren Suma
  • Robin Talley
  • Shveta Thakrar
  • Brenna Yovanoff

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: August 28th 2018

List Price: $18.99

ISBN: 9781335016270

Pages: 416 pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW | Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

BookReview12:17Rust & Stardust
Description

Camden, NJ, 1948.

When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way. –goodreads.com

 

What I Liked

The one thing this book did that stands out is the fact that is broke my heart reading it. Even from the description you are warned that this is going to be a story where a man is going to abuse an 11 year old child, it did not prepare me for how much of a reaction I had. I was angry, disgusted, and devastated. This book made me cry, which has not happened for a while. Now it might sound weird to say that this is something I liked, but the writing and the way this story is told really made me invested.

Another thing I liked was that this novel was written in the manner that it was. Sadly, this story is based off of a true one, you can search the name Florence Sally Horner to find out about her case. But, it is also the case that inspired a novel well known called Lolita. I personally hated Lolita, it was creepy and rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like this story did more justice in telling the story of a child who has been abused.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing I have to point out is that some points were difficult to read, but I would not remove anything from this book. It simply is a personal preference and I still really enjoyed reading this heart breaking book.

Overall Thoughts

While this book is filled with abuse of various kinds, made me very angry, and told an awful story. It did so in a beautiful way. The first thing I noticed when I started this book, right in the first chapter when she confronted by the “FBI” man, they way the story was written sounded like the narration was from a young girl. You can feel her confusion, her terror, and worry not just read about it. Over all if you are able to read this type of content I would highly suggest this novel.

Divider

Author Links

T. Greenwoodwebsite: https://www.tgreenwood.com

twitter: https://twitter.com/tgwood505 

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tgwood505/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tgreenwoodauthor

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: August 7th 2018

List Price: $26.99

ISBN: 9781250164193

Pages: 352 pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW | Idle Days by Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau

BookReview12:17

Idle Days
Description

Depressed and unmoored by his father’s violent death, and drafted into the Canadian military to serve in World War II, Jerome has fled, taking refuge in a cabin his grandfather owns in a remote part of the countryside.

But Jerome’s troubles are only beginning. A strange dread fills the woods, and rumors of murders and ghosts cast his refuge in a sinister light. As Jerome struggles to come to terms with his father’s death, he obsessively seeks to uncover the mystery of what, exactly, happened in his grandfather’s house.

Simon Leclerc’s haunting, expressionistic artwork brings to life a quiet, layered, and deeply literary story from writer Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau, in a graphic novel that explores with tenderness and insight the wounds opened with the loss of a loved one. goodreads.com

What I Liked

This graphic novel starts off very mysteriously. You are just dropped into a middle of a story and it takes off. You know something big is happening, but you aren’t quite sure what that is, you can feel the excitement.

Another thing I liked was the fact that this dealt with WWII in a different way than I have previously read about. While this part of the book would be classified as historical fiction it was interesting to get the point of view from someone who has fled serving in the military during such a period. It also lends to the tense feelings that fill this book from cover to cover. Not only did you follow this individual you hear updates on the progress of the war throughout the graphic novel and I though it made it very interesting  and tied this aspect of the storyline together instead of just using it as a plot point and then ignoring it completely.

Throughout this book there are feelings of something just lingering out of the frames. Something was happening, but you couldn’t figure out what was going to happen and if it would be a criminal or something not from this world.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing I did not like about this graphic novel was the fact that I felt like it jumped around a lot. I would be getting into a plot point and then all of a sudden it would take you somewhere completely different. Now this could be the author trying to add another layer mystery, but for me it didn’t quite hit the mark.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed this graphic novel. I thought both the historical and spooky elements were spot on. I felt like the art work and writing aided greatly in creating a definitive atmosphere that pulls you in. You, as the reader, want to know more and figure out what is just out of your reach and outside the frame. I will add that there is some talk of suicide in this book, for me I am comfortable with this topic, but I know not everyone is. I think that if you enjoy creepy books that leave you uncomfortable, that you should look into this graphic novel.

Divider

Author Links

Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau
photo from macmillan website

 

website: THOMAS DESAULNIERS-BROUSSEAU

 

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: First Second Books

Publication Date: August 14th 2018

List Price: $19.99

ISBN: 9781626724587

Pages: 272 pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW |Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

BookReview12:17Anna KareninaDescription:

Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Kareninaprovides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

I liked that the story followed not just one person or one couple, but a mixture of couples who were connected, but dealt internally with different worries and moral issues. I felt that even though this was written so long ago, a lot of the ways these characters felt were relatable. I can see who people still talk and discuss this novel and it has held up to the test at time.

Also, this translation of Anna Karenina was done wonderfully. It kept the air of being a classic and used a lot of words that remind me of the time period, but they made it readable. I was not reading at a very slow pace, but it was not fully modern. They found a great balance.

What I Didn’t Like

At times I felt that I would have rather have read this story individually instead of intertwined, but it in no way ruined the story for me. I would say going over the spark notes and getting a list of of names (DO NOT READ THE DESCRIPTION OF THE CHARACTERS THERE BECAUSE OF SPOILERS) because having a running list is helpful because they sometimes use their proper names and then nicknames that seem to have no relation in english, they might in the texts original language of Russian.

Overall Thoughts

Overall I felt that this was a very wonderful book and it was very thought provoking. If you are interested in a soap opera type of book with deceit , betrayal, and scorned individuals this is a book for you. This is a wonderful and timeless novel, that is a commitment. I am very glad that I finally read this novel.

3stars

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: Vintage Classics

Publication Date: January 5th 2017, originally published in 1878

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 9781784871956

Pages: 963 pages

Divider

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW | Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

BookReview12:17

Lying in Wait
Description

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax. -goodreads.com

What I Liked

 

Liz Nugent is well on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. Not only did I love Unraveling Oliver, I also think she did an amazing job while writing Lying in Wait. In this novel I felt that I was utterly shocked and surprised throughout, even with knowing who killed Ammie Doyle right from the description. I would never have thought it was possible, but Nugent has pulled it off.

I was so engaged in this novel I read the last 75% without pulling it down. I needed to know what would happen next. I think a main part of this was due to the fact that the story she has woven has so many aspects. When you think there is just one thing happening, there turns out to be so much more. She ties that characters and their together so well, so much more than I would have originally thought. Seeing this and the plot progress in such a suspenseful manner really kept me engaged.

Nugent uses multiple points of views to tell her story. I thought that was a very wise choice and it was executed very well. At first I was confused by the amount of voices and I could not really see how they were related, but soon enough it was made clear. Once these were firmly established and the plot “took off” each point of view distinct and added something essential to the story.

Another thing I really loved about this was the fact that the “monster” is so much more than I originally thought. But, I wont say anymore because I don’t want to spoil anything.

 

What I Didn’t Like

One thing I noticed and mentioned earlier was that this novel is told in many different perspectives. This was also done in her novel Unraveling Oliver, which I loved, but for some reason I found to have a bit more difficulty with this novel. But, as soon as the novel truly got going each voice was distinct and was no longer an issue. So this issue resolved itself quickly.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a great thriller. It kept my on the edge of my seat to the point I binged on the last 75% of this book. The writing was done very well, the use of multiple perspectives was spot on and the overall plot was great. If you like thrillers or think you want to try a thriller out, I would highly suggest Lying in Wait.

5stars

Divider

Author Links

Liz Nugent

 

website: http://www.liznugent.ie

Twitter: @lizzienugent

Facebook: facebook.com/liz.nugent.399

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Publication Date: June 12th 2018

List Price: $26.00

ISBN: 9781501167775

Pages: 320 pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW | The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

BookReview12:17

The Death of Mrs. WestawayDescription

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it. – goodreads.com

What I Liked

The Death of Mrs. Westaway started off really well for me. Right off the bat I was drawn to the main character Hal. She is strong, intelligent, and has something I can’t quite my finger on. I was rooting for her right away. Apart from that I love the use of tarot in this book. I have always enjoyed tarot cards and the symbolism that saturates them. Ware did a wonderful box intertwining that throughout the story without making it gimmicky, you can tell she did some serious research in this regard.

Also, I liked that this story was rooted in something that is very much real. You sadly  hear stories of people passing away and then there are issues regarding an inheritance. While I will not say more than what is in the description I will say that she takes this sadly common occurrence and builds upon that. Throughout the story I was surprised, on edge, and I felt myself become more and more invested in Hal. I read this book within a few hours, I was very much drawn into the story.

The writing itself was also really well done. The pacing was spot on. It was like goldilocks, it was just right.The characters Ware created were ones that has distinct characteristic and mannerisms. Even minor characters you can tell she put a lot of thought into. That cannot be said about a lot of books. The use of symbolism in this book was just grand. I also enjoyed the nods to Agatha Christie, which are like fun easter eggs throughout the book.

What I Didn’t Like

Normally I break my reviews into two sections. What I liked and what I didn’t like. This ended up being a 5 star read for me, I found no faults in the book. I found it thrilling and unpredictable. The writing was great and the characters were distinct.

Overall Thoughts

Overall I thought this was an outstanding thriller. It was distinctly different from other thrillers I have read. I liked the story telling, the twists, and just everything. If you like thrillers or you are curious about trying this genre I think it would be a wonderful book to read. I have already told people they needed to read this in my personal life and I am telling you as well. Read this book!

5stars

Divider

Author Links

Ruth Ware

website: http://www.ruthware.com

Twitter: @RuthWareWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruthwarewriter

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Publication Date: May 29th 2018

List Price: $26.99

ISBN: 9781501156212

Pages: 384 pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW | The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

BookReview12:17

The Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician, #4)Description

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair… -goodreads.com

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this review I would like to point out that this book is a spin-off of another series. The series is called The Paper Magician Series. Since it is a spin off you can read it without reading the others, but you might miss out on a few things.

What I Liked

This book was enthralling, I could not put it down. I remember very vividly that when I first picked this book up I read for a few hours without even trying. For some reason reading for hours on end is starting to become difficult, I am not sure why. Anyway, I was very much pulled into this world. Charlie N. Holmberg does a wonderful job of creating and sculpting this world and her characters. While the world is well established in her previous books, this spin off does not leave you in a spot where you don’t understand the world around the characters, another bonus. Her world and her magic are refreshing and different.

One things I really liked about the main character was that she was not impulsive or quick to action. I felt like the character thought about what she did. For me, I love that in books. I often find myself put off by characters who just mindlessly jump into action and only seem to pull off things due to luck. So this was a very refreshing thing to have thoughtfulness as a trait in a lead character.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing that got me was that I want not really surprised by anything in this book. While I did very much enjoy the story and characters I never had the moment where I said to myself, “NO WAY!” It was predictable. But, this can also be a plus for some. Some people why don’t like surprises or enjoy when they are right when predicting an outcomes to a book or a plot twist. This is very much a readers preference and does not make the story itself less enjoyable. Even though I was able to predict a few things it did not in anyway make me not enjoy the ride. In fact, I really enjoyed it regardless.

Overall Thoughts

I would say that this book is unique, it has a great with a magic system that for me was very different from books I have previously read. It was a fun book filled with adventure, relationships, magic and bonus had a great main character that I felt like I could relate to on some level. I would say that if you find the description or any of the things I said interesting you should give this book a read.

Divider

Author Links

Charlie N. Holmberg

hhttp://www.CharlieNHolmberg.com

Twitter: @CNHolmberg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cnholmberg/

Instagram: cnholmberg

Divider

Book Information

Publisher: 47North

Publication Date: May 15th 2018

List Price: $14.95

ISBN: 9781542047913

Pages: 236 pages

Divider
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

REVIEW | The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

BookReview12:17

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child MurdererDescription

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read. In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

The first thing I noticed while reading this novel is that Kate Summerscale is very thorough. Her knowledge of not just the crime itself, the perpetrator, and his family, but of the town and the time period are easily noticed. She goes into detail of the events of the town and the economic and social conditions that not only put our child murderer and his family in, but may have even contributed to it. Some of the information she shares in this book you know she had to look long and hard for it.

Another things I liked about this book was the content of the book. Now, I enjoy non-fiction very much and enjoy a book mystery. But, this book was different. It deals with the life of a child murderer. Someone who at a very young age decided to kill one of his parents. To me that both intrigues me as well as worries me. A child is meant to me innocent and this action/situation is the farthest things from innocent. Due to this the entire time I read this novel it was both almost morbid, but very thought provoking. It made me think about many topics, but I don’t want to list them because that might be considered a spoiler. I rather not spoil this book for anyone.

The last thing that really stood out to me was the ending of this book, it was an unexpected turn I was not expecting. While a majority of this book made me uncomfortable due to the subject the ending made me think even more about human nature and how and if people can change. Many non-fiction authors tend to stop at the “big” event, sometimes that is a disservice. I really appreciated that fact that Summerscale no only covered and researched the murder and trial, but continued and expanded beyond the “main” event.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing that can be seen as a negative with this book is that it contains a lot of background information. For some people this can be a downside to the book. I personally did not have a problem with this because I loved learning about the town, culture, and other events happening at the time. But, I recognize that for some this is not what they signed up for when they picked up a book about a child murderer.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I think Summerscale did a wonderful job researching and telling the story of Robert Coombes and his brother. Throughout I was interested and I often found myself thinking about the book once I put it down. For me that makes a good non-fiction read. I would say if you enjoy non-fiction, true crime, or reading about morbid topics this book is for you. I just would keep in mind that you will also be learning about the time period etc., but I feel it is needed to understand the environment the Coombes boys lived in. I ended up giving this story novel 4 stars.

Divider

Author Links

Kate Summerscale

http://www.katesummerscale.com

Book Information

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: July 12th 2016

List Price: $28.00

ISBN:  9781594205781

Pages: 378 pages

Divider
SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads