Tag Archives: magic

The Undays of Aralias Lyons: Steampunk, Time Travel, Magical Creatures

24 Oct

There is A LOT going on in this first novel from author K.L. Horvath. When the book opens, you are dropped into this Victorian steampunk world, with characters that can time travel, and the creatures that are after them. I kept feeling like I’d missed the first two books that would have set this up – but this is the first book in the series. There are multiple characters and creatures and rules of time travel – worthy of Harry Potter several books in!
Overall, I’d rate this a 3.5 star book – really interesting concepts but some issues with the pacing. At times the dialog goes on and on, while the action sequences whiz by – a function, perhaps, of a first novel. If this were adapted to a film script, the first job of the screenwriter would be to figure out how to streamline all the moving parts.
Definitely worth reading but be prepared for a bit of bumpy-ness. Excited by the author’s imagination, and eager to see what comes next.


‘The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster’ Lacks Luster

23 Sep

Delightful time travel concept, quirky characters, magic, mystery, murder…and yet not a delight. I never connected with the characters but the biggest issue was the overwrought writing. Writing that was so conscious of itself that it was jarring. For example: as the evil villain bursts in, dragging a knife across the kitchen counter, it is described as “creating a chilling sound reminiscent of a pair of charged socks being pulled apart.”
What? I mean WTH??
Or another – as the protagonist, Annie, is confronting her assailant: “allowing malice to etch her features one more time, and shuddering in revulsion…”
What? WTF??
The concept is engaging but ultimately the writing style was so over the top that I can’t recommend this book.


Magical Creatures and Regency Manners: Sorcerer to the Crown

14 Aug

Lovely combination of a magical culture set within Regency England. From stuffy men’s clubs to Malaysian vampires, racism (the two protagonists are people of color), sexism (upper class women are too delicate to handle magic – not!) and politics, this was a fun mash-up of Regency manners with magic. Much like a steam punk world, magic is simply part of the infrastructure, with Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers Society charged with keeping England’s magic flowing. Zacharias, a freed slave, finds unexpected help from Prunella Gentleman, a teacher at a school for girls, with boundless ambition to use her magic.
Some reviewers mention struggling initially with the Regency tone & language – versed as I am in that medium 😉 I did not.
The book is titled #1 so one would assume there will be additional titles in the series. I look forward to reading them!

Sisters of the Craft

10 Jul

Lori Handeland’s new series, Sisters of the Craft, features triplet sisters, born 400 years ago in Scotland, who are hurled into the future as babies to escape an evil foe. The three books In the Air Tonight, Heat of the Moment and Smoke on the Water tell the story of each of the sisters as they ultimately find each other, find true love and find their magic. Refreshing contemporary romance, interesting take on magical powers, time travel, shapeshifters and ghosts. All three were enjoyable, with a focus on one sister per book, but as they are all brought together, you get to enjoy characters from the prior books. Enjoyable – recommend!


The Hidden and the Maiden: Paranormal Thriller

10 Jul

The initial chapters of this first book by author Eben Mishkin were a bit of a struggle as I tried to get my bearings in the story and with the different characters introduced. As more of the world and the plot were revealed, I found myself deeply engaged in the rich mythology, complex characters and tension-inducing pace. I noticed a few other reviewers had the same experience so readers should definitely persevere. The world and the back-story are so deep that I’m hoping that this is the first of a series set here, as I’d definitely come back! The writing felt fresh, the story was unique and the characters were intriguing and novel. Thumbs up!!

The Hawley Book of the Dead – the next “All Souls”?

18 Sep

Just by coincidence, I went from reading the third book in Deb Harkness’ All Souls Triology, the Book of Life, to reading this first book in a new four part series.  Very different take, but some interesting similarities – witches, a grimoire, New England…

I found the descriptions very evocative, liked the sense of place and people that was created, and enjoyed the combination of “real” magic with Las Vegas magic. More a mystery than adventure, with the protagonist, Revelation, more of an observer than a participant. I liked the characters of her daughters, and hope that the additional books delve deeper into their personalities and magical powers.

Good read – recommend.


The Mark of the Dragonfly

25 Jan

A nice combination of steam punk meets Elysium – interesting and new characters.  I thought the characters were the best part of this novel – fleshed out, novel individuals, good dialogue.  The back story to the world, and the motivations of the “bad guys” were not clearly expressed, sketched out here potentially to be expanded upon in future stories?  The magical mechanical creatures, ala Hugo, and the heroine’s talents seem to demand more of a story arc, so I’m thinking there will be more. Fun YA read.