The Queen of the Tearling: A Novel (Queen of the Tearling, The) by Erika Johansen - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062290380
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Paperbacks - April 14th, 2015

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea, who was raised in exile, is escorted by the Queen’s Guard back to the palace of her birth, where she will be expected to take her late mother’s place as Queen of the Tearling. Soon, Kelsea discovers that there are some who will stop at nothing to deny her the crown, even if it means using dark blood magic to do so. The Queen of the Tearling is a novel filled with action, magic, and a touch of mystery. The world-building is on a whole new level, as are the characters and their relationships with each other. You will absolutely fall in love with Kelsea and her guard Lazarus (the Mace), mark my words. ~ Reviewed by Cassidy Washburn

Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy #1) by Brian McClellan - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780316219044
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Published: Orbit - April 8th, 2014

Ever wondered what would happen when you mix magic with an industrial revolution? Well, Promise of Blood is your answer. Field Marshal Tamas has overthrown the King and executed the corrupt aristocrats, now he must reckon with war, royalists, and internal strife. But when dark omens begin to appear, Tamas’ problems might involve far more than just angry citizens; they might just include battling the Gods. McClellan’s debut is filled with everything you love in a Fantasy novel. Political intrigue moves the plot forward, while the unique gunpowder and elemental magic weaves action into the story. However, the best part would have to be the incredibly flawed cast of characters. None of them are perfect, but that’s what makes them so easy to connect to. McClellan’s subtle character development and slow burning plot have proven him to be a master storyteller. ~ Reviewed by Cassidy Washburn

Bloody Rose (The Band) by Nicholas Eames - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780316362535
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Published: Orbit - August 28th, 2018

It's not easy growing up in the shadow of your forebears, particularly when your father was the frontman of the most renowned band in history. All her life, Rose has been trying to find herself - and losing herself. When her band, Fable, has one final gig with the prospect of a peaceful retirement at the end, they enlist Tam as their new bard - herself trying to escape the long shadow cast by her own father - and set out. Of course, with a horde running roughshod through the countryside, nothing is as simple as it seems. Like its own precursor, Bloody Rose is told from the point of view of a secondary character, and like Rose, the novel stands to rise above even the greatness of that which came before. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis

Kings of the Wyld (The Band) by Nicholas Eames - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780316362474
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Published: Orbit - February 21st, 2017

What if there were a fantasy world inspired by rock ‘n’ roll of our past? The usual group of adventurers - “bands”, obviously - go from town to town, but rather than their gigs being to play music, it’s to kill whatever goblins, centaurs, or what-have-yous are troubling the town. Bands gain glory and renown for their exploits, but clearly it was better in the old days. But now, to save the frontman’s daughter, it’s time to get the band back together for one last tour. They may be old, but Saga is about to show the new kids what real heroes look like. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis

NVK: A Novel by Temple Drake - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781590519356
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Published: Other Press - November 26th, 2019

NVK was given a terrible review by Publisher’s Weekly. Thankfully I read the book before I read the review.
This novel is an overlapping story. It’s a flashpoint of sudden sexual desire that smolders. It’s when the “what if” actually happens. It’s the story of a curse brought about by a singular act to survive. It is a love story and horror story all in one. So, to the reviewer at PW ~ you were looking for something else. I found what the author intended. ~ Reviewed by Sarah Donner

Time's Convert: A Novel by Deborah Harkness - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780399564536
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Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

Time's Convert is the first spin-off series within the All Souls universe written by Deborah Harkness, with the story this time around revolving around Marcus and Phoebe's relationship a year after the events of the Book of Life. Phoebe prepares to transition into a vampire and she and Marcus must wait until 90 days after her transformation to reunite and get married. While this is happening in the present day, we also get to glimpse into flashbacks of Marcus' human life during the revolutionary war and his first century as a vampire under his father Matthew's wing.
I was really excited to see how all of my beloved All Souls characters were doing after the end of the trilogy, and it was great to continue having Diana's narrative in the story, even if it was a side narrative while Marcus and Phoebe's were at the forefront. It was difficult for me to want to be interested in Phoebe's vampire transition at first but I grew to love her character and her relationship with Marcus. Marcus' flashback narrative was also hard to get into just because I could not understand its relevance to the present day plot other then just giving us more information about Marcus' character as a whole, but I loved to learn more about his story all the same.
My only complaint about this spin off is that there was no real conflict going on in the present day plot, other then Phoebe needing to be a stable vampire by the 90 day mark so she would be allowed back with Marcus and the real world. I guess I was hoping we would see more of the ripple effects of Diana's role on the Congregation and the slow but steady "coming out" of creatures to the human world, but for this spin off book we were just left with the smaller problems. I hope that Harkness considers coming out with another spin off tale that goes over these potential new story lines, or flash forwards to Diana and Matthew's children all grown up and them dealing with new conflicts.
Overall, a great spin off and hope the TV show incorporates this into their series as well! ~ Reviewed by Kirstin Swartz


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