In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.
Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.
What’s more fun than a period piece? A gaslight fantasy is! I just have always had a soft spot for books like these that bend multiple genres into one. And it’s even better when the book has me giggling throughout reading it, like The Brass Queen did.
I mean, there’s just so many elements to this plot that point to an amazing story. And with excellent writing/storytelling on top of that I easily saw why so many people fell in love with this one. Because I did too. I loved the characters, the setting, and the twisty plot. And I mean, you just gotta read it and fall in love with it just as much as I did.
I left this review a little open ended because I think the story is just so much… fresher without knowing too much about the plot. The synopsis gives you just enough to know what you’re getting into and then the book itself gives you just so much more and so much development. So crack this one open and fall into this world!
About the Author
Elizabeth Chatsworth is a British author and actor based in Connecticut. She loves to write of rogues, rebels, and renegades across time and space.
Elizabeth is a Writers Of The Future winner, a Golden Heart® finalist, a Pitch Wars alumna, and a member of the SFWA. She is the author of THE BRASS QUEEN (January 2021), an award-winning fantasy set in an alternate Victorian age.
When she’s not writing, Elizabeth works at the Westport Library and is also a voiceover actor. There’s a rumor she possesses the world’s best scone recipe.
Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her a thousand years into China’s past. With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara relies on her wits and her Granny Tang’s stories to survive. As dark forces gather, she must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.
I’m BACK! While I hate when I get blocked on instagram it’s also kind of nice to be forced to take a break every now and then. I get to catch up on all of my reading, play some games, and just all around be a sloth. But I’m super excited to share this book with you today. Because first of all it’s gorgeous and I love the aesthetic of the cover. And second of all it’s just a really amazing book!
I have been a really big fan of asian period pieces for a long time, especially when there are fantasy elements in them, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw this book! And sometimes when I get overly excited like this I’m let down, but this book does not disappoint! It’s such a unique and amazing story and I really enjoyed the contrast between the past and the present. I loved how much of the culture and history was interwoven into this story. That’s just automatically a way to grab my attention.
Finally, all I can say is that I cannot wait to read the next book! I am so excited to see where this story leads and what might come next. And while the characters are a bit younger, they’re still really interesting to read about and this story will appeal to a wide range of people.
About the Author
Originally from Scotland, Scott Lauder has collaborated on a number of EFL graded readers including The Right Thing, A Single Shot, Tiro’s Story, and The Albatross. His latest collaboration, The Jade Dragonball, is the first in a series of a high-adventure novels featuring three chosen ones on a journey across the Silk Road, history, culture, and time.
David Scott Ross has traveled and taught throughout Asia since he first moved there in 1987. He currently teaches in upstate NY, where he lives with his wife and two sons. When David is not writing or teaching, he dreams about becoming a chef, a rock star, maybe an actor, but probably not all at once. At present, he is wrapping up two projects: Pastimes, encounters with a Stone Age people, and Dim, a detective novel.
Print Length: 674 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1461177367 Publisher: The Wild Harp & Company, Inc. (November 28, 2017) Publication Date: November 28, 2017 Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC Language: English
The Spear that pierced Christ’s side on the Cross has played a secret, but major role in history. Charlemagne, Constantine, Otto the Barbarian, The Knights Templar and Adolf Hitler all owned it… and believed it gave them the power to rule the world.
What if they were right?
The first time Dr. Cait Monahan ever heard of the Spear of Longinus was the night her husband was murdered because of it. That was when the terror began.
…right before the U.S. Government, the CIA, Neo Nazis, the Vatican and a secret cabal of 13 powerful global manipulators sent their assassins after her and her 9 year old.
…just before a lethal secret propelled her across Europe following a riddle that hadn’t been solved since the Holocaust. …just before Cait Monahan became entrapped in an interdimensional labyrinth that her own husband may have helped design.
Now she’s a player in a game that has led to mystery, magic, mayhem and murder for over 2000 years, and only the help of a tribunal of long dead men may be able to save her.
Vibrant and cerebral, filled with intrigue, Conspiracy Theory and more ancient secrets than the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lark’s Labyrinth pits characters you’ll care about against a mystery you’ll want to solve.
Inside Lark’s Labyrinth is a secret men have killed for …now a woman, her sister, her child and their small band of friends are all that stand between us and the dark, insidious power that’s a hairsbreadth away from ruling the world.
You can purchaseLark’s Labyrinth at the following Retailers:
Praise for Lark’s Labyrinth
“Politics and religion collide as Spellman delivers another fast-paced, suspenseful, and totally enjoyable thriller… The author constructs a blistering story–replete with political and religious intrigue–that never slows down and will keep readers turning the pages of this spectacular thrill ride.” ―Publisher’s Weekly Praise for CATHY CASH SPELLMAN
“…Almost impossible to put down. The Author has the ability to produce one powerful scene after another and the action draws you helplessly on…” ―Publisher’s Weekly on So Many Partings
“…A cross between The Thorn Birds and Ragtime…” ―ALA Booklist on So Many Partings
“Flows along with an inexorable narrative current that propels the readers from one involving episode to the next.” ―Booklist on So Many Partings
“An energetic plot that never takes a breather.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Paint the Wind
“A western extravaganza.. a plot teeming with outsize characters.” ―Publishers Weekly on Paint the Wind
“I have never read a book or connected with an author who has touched me so deeply – as a mother, a grandmother, and another psychic kindred soul!” ―Elizabeth Taylor on Bless the Child
“This book has really touched my heartstrings as both a mother and grandmother. And Cathy Cash Spellman is one hell of a writer!” ―Maureen Stapleton on Bless the Child
“With a seductive, at times spellbinding style, author Spellman (An Excess of Love) incorporates ancient myths into an entrancing romantic thriller.. Spellman succeeds in capturing the reader’s close attention as an unrelenting sense of foreboding drives the narrative forward with power.” ―Publisher’s Weekly on Bless the Child
Well, what a ride! There is just so much packed into this book. While there is so much in this book the world building is extensive enough to help everything make sense. I mean, this is a tome of a book. It’s the thic bottomed girl that I love to see in books (ignore me being weird, I just really like long books). It makes it even better though when I’m reading a big book that continues to make me want to learn more.
You know, it might be the current events that are making me feel this way (honestly though, I’m just typically like this), but I’m really digging all of the elements in this story. I mean, there’s just almost too many to list. Which I know can sound daunting, but it’s really now because everything just masterfully came together. Plus, I’m going to go back to this, but the book is heavy so there’s time for everything to be woven together. But I can’t even say I know what genre I would classify it as because it could fit into so many different ones.
All in all I really enjoyed this book. Don’t be fooled by it’s size, it really lures you in! And since it covers so many different things I think any number of people would be really intrigued by it.
About the Author
Photo Credit: Dakota Cash
Multiple New York Times and International Bestsellers, a Paramount Movie, book sales in 22 countries, Cathy Cash Spellman writes stories about love, friendship, adventure, and history. Known for her big sprawling sagas and memorable characters, Cathy writes the kind of stories women like to lose themselves in, and then remember long after the book is done.
Her books range through several genres: contemporary, historical, mystery, mystic and romance. Several take place in two time-frames, both current and historical.
Bless the Child was a Paramount movie in 2000, starring Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits, and Paint The Wind has been optioned for film and TV.
Cathy is an Astrologer, Martial Artist (Black Belt Goju Ryu Karate) and has expertise in Chinese Medicine, several alternative healing modalities and many metaphysical disciplines.
She has written for Self, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Mademoiselle, Cosmo, Penthouse, Mode, Kung Fu and many other magazines about women, health, empowerment, sexuality, spiritual philosophy and Astrology. She blogs for The Huffington Post and The New York Times.
Witch of the Wild Beasts by Catherine Stine Publication Date: March 11, 2020 Konjur Road Press Paperback & eBook; 294 Pages Genre: Historical Fantasy
When Evalina is imprisoned for witchcraft, will her supernatural bond with animals be her curse or salvation?
In 1854, Evalina Stowe witnesses the murder of her brother by Dr. Dowdrick, an enraged client at the tailorís where they work. Desperate to stop him, she rouses a swarm of wasps that sting the doctor while she stabs him with scissors, and then flees. At a subsequent job when birds race to her defense, Evalina is declared a witch and sent to Philadelphiaís Eastern State Penitentiary.
While imprisoned, Evalina is horrified not only to learn that Dr. Dowdrick is still alive, but heís experimenting on inmates. Determined to get inside his Eclectic Medical School, to expose his nefarious activities, sheís passionate about protecting fellow prisoners, especially Lewin, a child thief who knew her brother, and Birdy, a kind, resilient Welsh man serving time for a workerís death while blasting granite for the railroad.
Evalina, her friends and her ìwild beastsî work against time to unmask Dowdrickís crimes when she participates with him in a symposium, showcasing Philadelphiaís premium doctors. If they fail, not only will the doctorís evil deeds continue unchecked but Evalina and her crew will surely be hung. Actual historical figures such as Dr. Thomas Mutter and Charles Dickens spice up this fantastical thriller brimming with historical gems set in Philadelphiaís renowned penitentiary. Won a second place spot in The 2019 Valley Forge RWA Sheila contest.
This book is just so cool! I mean not only is the cover gorgeous, but the story is just so interesting! I love the mix of fantasy and historical fiction along with the setting of this one. I have a thing for books set in either asylums or penitentiaries way back when. They were just such terrible places and I think it is important to shed light on the horridness that was these locations.
The magic system in this book was done really well. It was there but it wasn’t oversaturated throughout the story, which made it fit better. It was honestly such an intriguing story and I couldn’t put the book down. It was a historical and fantasy but also had a little bit of suspense to it. But then again I do love everything gothic.
The characters were all so engaging. There was such a varying cast of good and evil that you were kept on the edge of your seat throughout the read. I would definitely recommend this book to so many different types of readers as I could see it appealing to many different genre lovers.
About the Author
Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi thrillers and young adult fiction. She lives in Manhattan, grew up in Philadelphia and is known to roam the Catskills. Her most recent novel, Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize spot in the 2019 Valley Forge RWA Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books for Teens. Before writing novels, she was a painter and childrenís fabric designer. Sheís a visual author when it comes to scenes, and she sees writing as painting with words. She loves edgy thrills, perhaps because her dad read Edgar Allen Poe tales to her as a child. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening on her deck, traveling and meeting readers at book fests.
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Spectacle (#1) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: February 12, 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.
Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
Sensational (Spectacle #2) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: February 11, 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Sensational is the thrilling follow-up to Spectacle in which a killer haunts the Paris World’s Fair of 1889.
The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.
Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.
Ah Paris, how I love it! The drama! The fashion! The culture! The food! I mean, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It is actually the only city I could ever see myself living in. When I visited I just instantly fell in love and felt right at home. So, as you can guess, I always love to read books set in Paris! There’s just something so magical about the city, and I love when the books add in their own sets of magic to one of my favorite places.
I have come to realize that I actually really love duologies. It’s probably because they always leave me wanting more. I like feeling like I need more over feeling like the series is dragging on and on. I also extra love when these duologies are set in one of my favorite settings AND involve magic. I also really love how well Zdrok interwove the history of the times into the story. It makes it seem more plausible and really brings to life the characters and themes.
I also loved all of the pettiness in Sensational! I’m a petty person myself so I enjoy the snark and pettiness when characters start to let it eek out. The second book takes a little bit to take off compared to the first, but once it does the story really starts to come full circle. And I love that aspect about the duology, it makes it more impactful when elements from the first book begin to affect the characters in the next one. It’s just so much more realistic to life.
Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. She enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, traveling, doing races (to offset being a foodie), and posting cat photos to Instagram. She works in technology and lives in North Carolina by way of Massachusetts.
This rich literary novel follows Elen, who must live a precarious lie in order to survive among the medieval Welsh warband that killed her family.
Wales, 1109. Three years ago, a warband raided Elen’s home. Her baby sister could not escape the flames. Her older sister fought back and almost killed the warband’s leader, Owain ap Cadwgan, before being killed herself. Despite Elen’s own sexual assault at the hands of the raiders, she saw a chance to live and took it. She healed Owain’s wound and spun a lie: Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always.
For three years, Elen has had plenty of food, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in that she shares with the man who brought that warband to her door. Then Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a Norman lord, and her three children, triggering full-out war. As war rages, and her careful lies threaten to unravel, Elen begins to look to Nest and see a different life — if she can decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie. J. Anderson Coats’s evocative prose immerses the reader in a dark but ultimately affirming tale of power and survival.
I love a good historical fiction, especially one that takes me way back. Wales 1109 was a time of war, fear, and destruction. Spindle and Dagger takes us back to this time and gives insight into the horror Elen, the main character, had to face. Elen is a survivor, while she may not always be the most fearless individual, she still perseveres.
One thing that I often find hit or miss with historical fiction, especially one that takes you this far back in time, is readability. As soon as I started Spindle and Dagger I was struck with how “easy” (for lack of a better term) the story was to get into. The prose was simple yet elegant and I wasn’t struggling to find myself interested in the story, like how I sometimes feel with historical fiction.
The other aspect of this story that I greatly appreciated was the parts where I could gleam how much research the author did for this story. You could tell that this book had a great historical context even though it is a fictional story.
So in essence, if you like historical fiction and gorgeous covers then don’t hesitate and snag a copy of Spindle and Dagger!
About the Author
J. Anderson Coats has received two Junior Library Guild awards, two Washington State Book Awards, and earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Horn Book Review, and Shelf Awareness. Her newest book is The Green Children of Woolpit, a creepy middle-grade fantasy inspired by real historical events. She is also the author of R is for Rebel, The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming, The Wicked and the Just, and the forthcoming Spindle and Dagger.
Categories: Historical Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy
On Sale Date: February 11, 2020
Publication Month: February 2020
A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…
The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to her survival…and possibly her undoing.
As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah… The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.
An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.
You can purchaseThe Unwilling at the following Retailers:
Praise for Braffet
“Kelly Braffet is extraordinary… Familiar yet entirely unique, The Unwilling is the sort of story that seeps under your skin and pulses there, intimate and vibrant and alive. Fantasy at its most sublime.” —Erin Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of The Starless Sea and The Night Circus
“A juggernaut of an epic fantasy novel with ingenious, thrilling twists and turns. Put this on the shelf beside Naomi Novik and George R. R. Martin. Kelly Braffet is a marvel and I’ll read anything she writes.” —Kelly Link, MacArthur Genius Recipient and and of Get in Trouble
“Kelly Braffet’s The Unwilling is a viscerally powerful book. Full of complex and compelling characters, this is the story of the corruptions of power and the strength it takes to resist. This is an incredible, brilliant story.” —Kat Howard, author of Roses and Rot
“Gorgeously told, The Unwilling is at once a sweeping epic and an intimate portrait of being trapped in an oppressive regime. Meet your new favorite fantasy writer.” —Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
“Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written, and never predictable, Braffet’s first foray into speculative fiction is an essential addition to all epic-fantasy collections.” —Booklist, STARRED Review
“Wow…The characters, the world, the magic and greed and politics and pain–all of it adds up to something wonderful. I love it.” —Ellen Datlow, award-winning editor and anthologist
This book is haunting. There’s no better way to put it. I read it slowly and thoroughly and even when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it. And this is a big volume of the book, so I mean it when I said I took my time. It’s almost a feat for me that I didn’t binge a book for once. But this isn’t something you can binge. It’s dark. It’s a lot. And it’s difficult. But, I mean that in all the best ways!
As I was reading this I was distinctly reminded of another favorite author: Stephen King. And then once I finally realized that Braffet is his daughter in law (I should really get better at reading the full blurb and/or the author profile) it all made sense. Much like when I read King I found myself taking my time reading this (as I’ve mentioned). But also, much like with King, there are scenes that are brutal and difficult to get through. Scenes that are extremely graphic and gruesome.
So, as you can probably tell by my review so far: this isn’t a happy book. The characters are all on the verge of being unlikeable. The plot is dark and full of sadists. You’re going to be uncomfortable while reading it. And all of this is why I love this book. This is going to be a very polarizing story and going into it blind will not be a good idea for everyone. Not everyone will appreciate the dark nuances and snail pace of the story. But for me they all worked together. Once I reached 200 pages I found myself saying, “I feel like nothing has happened.” Yet at the same time so much happened and I was so enamored with the story. I know this sounds weird, but this book is such an atmospheric read. It hovers on the line of multiple types of fantasy while also not seeming fantasy at all. And the heft of the book just added more. As you were reading you could literally feel how much of the story was left.
Well, based off of my rant you can see I have a lot of feelings for this book. And based off of that ending I hope that I can have more of this story to have feelings for (second book please?). In the meantime I guess I’ll just have to gorge myself on Braffet’s other works.
About the Author
Photo Content from Kelly Braffet
Kelly Braffet is the author of the novels The Unwilling, Save Yourself, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving. Her writing has been published in The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, the author Owen King.