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Julia Vanishes–A Goodreads Review

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Julia and her brother are orphans and members of the Spira City thieves’ guild. Her brother’s a mechanical genius, but Julia’s gift is better. She can vanish at will. It’s not invisibility. She steps into another space where she can watch the area she left. To help the guild, Julia accepts a job as a housemaid in Mrs. Och’s strange household. She believes she’s to discover what’s happening behind its doors, and there’s a lot going on. For one thing, a convicted magic practitioner-turned-professor keeps magical tomes, when magic is outlawed, a crime the government drowns witches for. Julia puts this down to Mrs. Och and her associates running an underground railroad, but that doesn’t explain the cursed werewolf lurking in the basement or the witch, who may or may not be the target of a serial killer moving in with a toddler in tow. And, guess what—the toddler can see Julia when no one else can. Soon, Julia discovers a link between the mistress of the house and an ancient demi-god.

I like Julia’s take-no-prisoners spunk, and the relationships she has with her brother, ex-boyfriend and mentors. They’re all thieves, but they care for each other. In fact, it’s because she wants to protect her family that she does something dastardly she quickly regrets.
The world, which has Victorian and steampunk vibes, is interesting, but the magic system is even more intriguing. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say witches cast spells with the stroke of a pen.

If you’re like me and you search for new authors, feisty heroines and fascinating world building, this might be the read for you.

Just so you know, I borrowed this book from the library.
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The Divine Dungeon Series- Dungeon Born, Dungeon Madness and Dungeon Calamity -A Goodreads Book Review-

Dungeon Calamity (The Divine Dungeon, #3)Dungeon Calamity by Dakota Krout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer-This series was the first LitRPG story I believe I’ve ever read. Originally, I started it to please my son. I was planning on just skimming the first book Dungeon Born, but I got drawn in.

The series is basically a life story, a fantastic biography. Cal is a sentient dungeon core, but he’s so much more. He’s funny, interesting, and surprisingly human for a supposedly inanimate object. He’s got a good personality, is fond of puns, and is likable as he grows from being self-absorbed to caring for the community living over him.

Also, I love his creations. They’re original and explained well enough that a non-RPG reader like me understood them and their actions, but my favorite part of this series is being in Cal’s head while he strategizes and pines for Dani, his companion/love interest, a wisp that necromancers have kidnapped. He is so desperate to rescue her, he learns to fly. Yep, he becomes a flying dungeon.

Then there’s the awesome supporting cast of dungeon-goers! Starting with Dale. He buys the mountain the dungeon is on and ends up trying to level up and train while dealing with the colorful townies. Most of the residents are eccentric and delightfully frustrating to Dale.
Some of my favorites are: Frank, the guild master, Hans, the ex-assassin, Rose, the chaos-archer, Bob, the goblin researcher, and James the rude portal mage who keeps getting banished.

I am impressed at how the story comes full circle. Everything’s explained and makes sense in this well-plotted tale. One caution-this series might not be for people who follow Stephen King’s no adverb rule, but if you’re looking for something different to read and you like stories with swords, spells and Lord-of-the-Rings type creatures, consider giving this series a try.

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Throne of Glass-A Goodreads Review

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin, Celeana a chance to compete for position of champion for the tyrannical King, who killed her parents, she reluctantly agrees, thinking anything must be better than the salt mines of Endovier. She’s wrong. Ghosts haunt her. The King and his courtiers plot her doom and summoned demons hunt her through secret passages. She struggles to survive combat, poisonings, and dress fittings while the Prince and the Captain of the guard via for her attention and mysteries unfold.

It’s pretty much everything a reader like me wants in a fantasy romance. If you like badass femme fatales, swordplay mixed with royal balls, and lots of cheeky banter between paramours, you’ll enjoy this novel.

FYI- I bought a copy of this book from Audible.

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The Burning Sky–A Goodreads Review

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Iolanthe just wants to ensure her guardian, a drug addict, keeps his post when she calls lightning down, alerting the Bane’s minions to her presence as the Elemental Wizard destine to bring down the Bane, making her public enemy number one in Atlantis and the Domain.

Luckily, Prince Titus’s mom warned him about Iolanthe in the prophesies she kept before her death, so when Titus sees the lightning, he charges to the rescue on a magical steed. He gets to Iolanthe seconds before the minions arrive, and the game is afoot. The two flee to Victorian England, where they must rely on deception and their wits to evade plot after plot. At one point, even the Prince’s allies attempt to kill Iolanthe. Will the intrepid pair fall in love? Defeat the Bane? Or be captured by his Inquisitor and her minions?

Prince Titus is dedicated to protecting both Iolanthe and his Domain, but he pretends to be callow and stuck-on-himself while Iolanthe is talented, resourceful and incredibly stubborn, which creates many delightful bits of banter as she wants no part of the Prince’s suicidal plans to take down the tyrant.

The humor, the historic details, the magical world and the awesome characters you can root for make this story a page-turner. I seriously can’t wait to read the next novel in this series, or any of Sherry Thomas’ books. Wow can this author write.

If you like fantasies with romance and humor, I bet you’ll love this book.

I purchased and listened to this digital download offering from Audible. Then I bought the paperback version–that’s how much I like this story.

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Joe Ledger: Unstoppable-A Goodreads Review

Joe Ledger: UnstoppableJoe Ledger: Unstoppable by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be fair I confess I’m crazy about the Joe Ledger series and I love, love, love Ray Porter as a narrator, so you can probably guess I enjoyed most of the short stories in the Ledger universe—true. All the stories gave me insights into the personalities I look forward to following most and I was happy to see that all the characters remained spot on to their Maberry-written-originals. Dr. Hu didn’t suddenly volunteer at the local soup kitchen and Church didn’t reveal a secret past as a stand-up comedian.

One minor disappointment was Joe didn’t get to meet Agent Franks. I’d love to see a Ledger-Franks smackdown.

My favorite story was Red Dirt. Although the story didn’t have any fighting, it had a lot of heart. I connected with Katherine, the down-home-girl who became a doctor to help her community. Next, I loved that Ruddy Sanchez got the chance to play team leader. Usually, he’s the guy who stays at the base camp waiting to put mental band-aids on the trauma victims or counseling the returning warriors after mission. This time he, Circe, Top and Bunny investigate a mysterious disease that mimics Adult Onset Galactosemia, a disease I didn’t know anything about before this tale.
Other highlights for me were Black Water, a sad, sort-of ghost story which involves Joe as a teenager and Banshee had a super suit which would give Antman’s a run for its money.

If you like Acts of Valor meets X-File tales, you’ll enjoy these stories.

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Strange the Dreamer-A Goodreads Review

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strange the Dreamer
The brothers told Lazlo Strange he’d come in the wagon load of war orphans. He grows up with nothing except for his dreams about a mythical city called Weep, based on the stories an old monk shares with him. Sent to deliver manuscripts to the library, he stumbles upon a neglected vault of fairy tales and he stays. The library-staff apprentices him and the more he reads, the more convinced he is that his destiny is linked to the far-off and forbidden city and then one day, a caravan arrives from Weep—this is Lazlo’s chance—if only he’s brave enough to put himself forward.

But the city of Weep has its own tragedies. For 200 years, its people were slaves to the evil godlike overlords. Fifteen years ago, Eril-Fane, called the Godslayer, lead a revolt and the gods died, but Weep is still haunted. Its people are desperate for cure and Eril-Fane has come in search saviors.

At the same time, Sarai, one of the five god-spawn children, who escaped death, uses her god-gift of invading sleepers’ dreams to make Weep’s population fear the angel citadel where the god-spawn hide. As a child, she enjoyed inflicting nightmares. Now, at seventeen, after spending so much time in others’ minds, she has questions and regrets. She enters Lazlo’s dream and, unlike any other dreamer she’s ever known, he sees her.

The world building is rich and enchanting, but the characters made me fall in love with the story. Life has been unfair to Lazlo, yet he’s kind, gentle and genuinely wants to help others. All the characters are deep, complex and conflicted and their interactions including the love story and those who seek revenge compelled me to keep turning pages.

If you read fantasy to be captivated by a story, this is a book for you.

Just so you know, I borrowed this book from my library’s digital consortium and I loved it so much, I had to buy my own copy.

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A Scot in the Dark-A Goodreads Review

A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel #2)A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miss Lillian Hargrove, the heroine, fell in love with the wrong guy. He tricked her into posing nude. In a short month or so, all of London will view Lilly in the buff. She’s ruined, which becomes a problem for her guardian—Alec, the Scottish Duke of Warnick. He didn’t even know he’d inherited a ward, but to do his duty and because he’s a compassionate guy, a gentle, but misunderstood giant, he comes to London to settle things. That’s when everything gets interesting. The characters are likable, funny and vulnerable, both have lots of baggage—the perfect recipe for a romance that is an emotional roller-coaster. The many twists and turns lead to a satisfying conclusion that surprised me.
If you love romance, I’m betting you’ll love this story.

All the Missing Girls-A Goodreads Review

All the Missing GirlsAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All the Missing Girls
Ten years ago, after her best friend, Corinne vanished, Nicolette fled Cooley Ridge determined to never return. She builds a whole new life for herself including a rich fiancé, but then her father gets sick. She returns, and then another girl goes missing. Her family, her friends and even some frenemies are involved.

Pulled into the mysteries, Nicole must confront her past and save those she can, which is when the story gets exciting–with more twists than a boa constrictor and a few astonishing surprises that I, for one, didn’t see coming. The secrets, love and loyalty bind Nicolette and all the suspects together in this small town whodunnit.

If you like spellbinding suspense, this tale is definitely worth your time.

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The Night Sister-A Goodreads Review

The Night SisterThe Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Night Sister
Once the Tower Motel was a huge and mysterious club house for Amy, Piper, Margot and Jay. That was until the children discovered a dark secret that destroyed their friendship. As adults, they’ve all tried to put it behind them. Piper fled while Jay married Margot and tried to forget about the crush he had on Amy. It almost worked, and then Amy and her family were murdered, forcing the remaining friends to re-examine the motel’s past.
I liked the way the story flipped from the present into the past and back, so that the mystery could be explored from its inception. The characters were as rich and complex as the whodunnit questions.
The supernatural elements were fascinating and really added to the overall intrigue in the plot. This was one of those novels I couldn’t put down. I read it in a couple days and I’ll probably read it again. If you like complex mysteries that involve things that go bump in the night and well-written prose, you’ll appreciate this tale.

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Gil’s All Fright Diner- A Goodreads Review

Gil's All Fright DinerGil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Duke, a werewolf, and Earl, a vampire, are driving through Rockwood county. They stop at a local diner and are enjoying some greasy burgers when zombies attack. The Diner’s owner, Loretta, offers them $100 to fix her zombie problem. Well, things get complicated soon after. A graveyard ghost, a couple of bored teenagers and a magic eight ball may combine to spell the old gods’ destruction of the world. Or maybe not.
The plot brought an abundance of chuckles from me, but my favorite thing about the story is the characters. They are funny and vivid, but, at the same time, they seemed authentic like people I might kind of know.
If you enjoy dark humor in horror novels or if you like laughing about almost-apocalypses, this is story for you.

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