Book Review, Fantasy, Favorite Reads, Romance

Book Review | THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN, by C. L. Polk

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The Midnight Bargain, by C. L. Polk

Publish Date: October 13, 2020
Published by: Erewhon
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken? 


My Review: 

All I can say is, how dare this book make me ship insta-love.

When I am shipping two characters that just met, I know I’m in for it. Normally I hate that sh*t. But somehow it worked in this book. I fell in love with Ianthe and Beatrice as a pair almost as immediately as they met. Part of me was anticipating it from the synopsis I suppose, but there was just something about their personalities that clicked together and had me smiling giddily.

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Book Review, Fantasy

Book Review | FIRE STUDY, by Maria V. Snyder

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Fire Study (Poison Study #3, The Chronicles of Ixia #3), by Maria V. Snyder

Publish Date: March 1, 2008
Published by: Mira
Length: 448 pages
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

The apprenticeship is over—now the real test has begun.

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before…

Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.


My Review: 

It probably isn’t a good sign when you are relieved to finally get to the end of a book.

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Book Review, Fantasy

Book Review | MAGIC STUDY, by Maria V. Snyder

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Magic Study (Poison Study #2, The Chronicles of Ixia #2), by Maria V. Snyder

Publish Date: October 1, 2006
Published by: Mira
Length: 448 pages
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

You know your life is complicated when you miss your days as a poison taster…

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be united with the family she’d been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But although she has gained her freedom, she once again finds herself alone – separated from her lover Valek and suspected as a spy for her reluctance to conform to Sitian ways.

Despite the turmoil, she’s eager to start her magic training – especially as she’s been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes embroiled in a plot to reclaim Ixia’s throne for a lost prince – and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with her new enemies.


My Review: 

This one was MUCH better than the first book in terms of writing quality and world-building. It wasn’t clunky and awkward like in Poison Study, instead everything flowed well and kept the storyline going while also continuing to expand the world of Ixia and Sitia.

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Book Review, High Fantasy

Book Review | POISON STUDY, by Maria V. Snyder

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Poison Study (Poison Study #1, The Chronicles of Ixia #1), by Maria V. Snyder

Publish Date: September 27, 2005
Published by: Mira
Length: 431 pages
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

Murder, mayhem and magic…

Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman’s noose.

But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia’s food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander’s food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.


My Review: 

This is one of those books I have been meaning to read for forever and while I enjoyed reading it for the most part, there was definitely a lot lacking that had me disappointed in many aspects of it. Despite that, I’m still interested in continuing the Yelena’s story, though, so while there will be a lot of negatives in this review, it wasn’t an entirely bad novel.

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audiobook, Book Review, Favorite Reads, lgbtq+, Urban Fantasy

Book Review | THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA, by T. J. Klune

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The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T. J. Klune

Publish Date:  March 17, 2020 
Published by: Tor Books/Macmillan Audio
Audiobook Narrated by: Daniel Henning
Length: 12 hrs 12 min (400 pages)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours


My Review: 

The House in the Cerulean Sea is a story that feels both timeless and unforgettable. It’s the story of found families, found selves, learning to live with and overcome fears, understanding the unknown, soft romance, and of course, finding home. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry. This is one of those books that will stay forever in your heart as a place of comfort, love, hope and belonging. Continue reading “Book Review | THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA, by T. J. Klune”

Book Review, Fantasy

Book Review | MAGIC BITTER, MAGIC SWEET, by Charlie N. Holmberg

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Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, by Charlie N. Holmberg

Publish Date: June 28, 2016
Published by: 47North
Pages: 306
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.


My Review:

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