Curiosity Quills Press

Book Review – How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days (The Tale of Bryant Adams #1) by Megan O’Russell.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

What can I say, I love the types of quirky, slightly off kilter stories that Curiosity Quills publish and so when I saw this on their site I had to take a look. Was I disappointed? Nope!

What’s it about? Well, if I was to undersell ‘How I Magically Messed Up My Life In Four Freakin’ Days’ I would say it’s a book about a boy who discovers he is can use magic… thanks to a mobile phone.

But it’s not just that and it’s not a Harry Potter rip off and thank goodness for that! As I seem to be about one of the only people in the world who doesn’t like HP! Love JK on Twitter… not a fan of the books. Go figure! 😀

However, with this book – sorry, the title is so long I can’t keep plugging it like I usually do – think more a mix of the least annoying bits of HP with great big dollops of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere mixed in with a bit of teen angst and a smattering of Arthur Dent’s hapless exploits as a hitchhiker and you get a better idea of what’s it all about. Just then add some independent and new ideas on an old theme and you’re there!

Plus it’s the first book in a potentially entertaining new YA/ NA urban fantasy series and I hope you can see now why I felt it got the score I gave it.

See, calling it ‘like Harry Potter’ is a serious underselling insult and I hope it is never described as that. If it is – shame on that reviewer!

Okay, back to what’s it all about… well, it’s set in modern day New York City where normal, everyday teens go from the usual angst of high school, fitting in and looking cool to having life turned on its head due to a misplaced phone and our characters then find themselves learning about a hidden world within their own. I mean, who doesn’t love those ‘what if’ hidden world’s within their own? I love them!

For those not into ‘teen drama’ don’t panic! Yes the main characters are teens – and sold as a YA book – but are still enjoyable by young and old. I didn’t need my inner teenager to enjoy this story; I managed it on my old fogey own. 😉

And even though this is obviously the first book in a series – the subtitle of ‘The Tale of Bryant Adams Book 1’ is a bit of a hint – this can easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone tale. I mean, there are still going to be a few threads flapping about at the end of it you might want tied up… but that’s for the next book. They can be ignored by those only wanting to read this first book… but people who think that way are just being silly and should stop pretending – read the next book when it comes out, you know you want to! 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I mean, isn’t it obvious I am pro not just this book but the rest of the tales to come in this series? Really? You didn’t spot that in my heaping on the praise bit? 😀

So yes, lovers of HP may or may not like it… I don’t know, as I simply don’t GET loving Harry Potter. But fans of urban fantasy or speculative fiction where there is a ‘what if’ world within our own… you’re going to enjoy this read. Yes, think ‘Neverwhere’, ‘RoofWorlders’, ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’… Think fun, entertaining and enjoyable while still setting reality on a slightly different angle to normal. You will enjoy this book!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yeah, I can see that as a possibility. I mean, right now it is wavering between ‘library book’ and ‘eBook I own’ status… but as long as the series keeps going in this way, I can see it becoming one I proudly own and will tell everyone about who dares to make eye contact with my while I am reading it. 😉

In summary: A great look at the hidden world of magic and what happens when teens access it. I highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – The Actuator 3: Chaos Chronicles by James Wymore.

The Actuator 3

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

This is the official third book in a rather interesting series. I really do have a love/ hate relationship with the whole series too. I really don’t know why. I mean, I love the whole concept and I love that the original authors have allowed fans to help write and weave their world… but I get to parts of it and I groan and think “really? This is what you want to write about when there is so much potential for others things?”

If I was asked to “do better” I couldn’t. I would go off and sit in my kid’s naughty corner or something similar. But there is just something about this series that gets under my skin in both a good and bad way. I get the good way – has potential, is entertaining, is consistent and keeps the reader thinking and entertained… As for what the bad bits are? I honestly really don’t know. There is just something there that bugs me and I wish I could figure out what it was so I could tell it to shut the heck up and just let me keep reading.

Example, I see the third book available as an ARC, I want it, I ask for it, I do a happy dance when I get it. Then I procrastinate when it comes to reading it. I get distracted by other books; I find other things to do… Why?! When I read it I love it. Perhaps this is the magical affect the Actuator has on me? Others it inspires some amazing works – zombie dinosaurs, need I say more – but in me I go all whiney and turn truant.

BUT! I have to say it is a series I am glad I have read, it is a series that the majority of me enjoys and it is a series I will no doubt struggle with continuing to read as I want to read it… Well, 80% of me does. Maybe my split personalities are warring here?

Back to the book! A great anthology! There are some very talented writers – and ‘The Actuator’ fans out there – and it was wonderful to see some of them given the opportunity to extend the adventures to fixing the world from when it was shattered.

Unlike the last anthology from fans published for ‘The Actuator’ this one kept the actual story moving. It wasn’t just people experiencing the world shattering. It was people coming to terms with a shattered world, and then some, as further Actuator changes take place. Plus this book does strive towards the end game and getting it all sorted one way or the other… And maybe that’s why I love this series so much? A big part of me wants to see what is left of the world once the machine is turned off and what is then done to keep fixing the damage caused.

Oh that is deep for so early in the year for me!

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would, but only to those who had read all other books and anthologies in the series. To those who had not, I would send them to Curiosity Quills Press and point them to the first book and get them to read from there. I feel the whole ‘Actuator’ series spans a few genres so lovers of fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi, YA and NA alike would enjoy it… or at least parts of it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Not too sure. I mean I am enjoying the series and do want to keep reading… but owning? Hmmmm, tough call. I have to say it is more of a library level book for me sorry. As in, I enjoy reading it, but I can’t see myself owning them. Worst fan ever, I know!

In summary: A good continuation of the myriad patchwork tales that make ‘The Actuator’ series what it is.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Emma and the Silk Thieves by Matthew. Cox.

emma-and-the-silk-thieves

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

I was so thrilled to get a chance to read ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’. Why? It is the second book in the ‘Tales of Widowswood’ series and the first one had me hooked!

Although I am pretty sure this is meant to be a YA/ NA (Young Adult/ New Adult) genre book, I just loved it for the world it weaves from the story. I loved its people, language, culture and history – very similar to our own but different enough to be exciting. So, yes, a series a young mind can happily get lost in by relating to it while also being entertained by its differences.

The story in ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’ picks up shortly after where the first book ‘Emma and the Banderwigh’ finishes and links to it smoothly while also allowing the adventure to continue and Emma’s world to grow around us. Totally loved this.

If you have kids with spider issues… possibly not the best book to let them read at bedtime, in the dark, with those scratching noises outside… 😉 But other than that I would happily let my nearly 10 and my 12 year olds read it. I loved it, found it really does continue with the series and not just a rehash or total new thing tacked on the a series title – I hate it when you get a “series” where it really is just books with the same character that tend to chop and change personality in each book. Does not happen in ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’. Perfect.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, no matter the reader’s age, as long as they enjoy a bit of YA/NA fantasy, this book is right for them. Just remember about the spiders, okay? I love spiders… spider lovers are good to read this. Those who freak at the smallest arachnid – read with the lights on and a good cleared two meter radius around you. 😉

Though I have to say here and now that I would strongly recommend that anyone wanting to read ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’ read ‘Emma and the Banderwigh’ first as this is not a stand-alone book, but a true follow on of the series. And so the reader would really be missing out on some excellent writing if they skipped the first book in the series!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Absolutely. Loved the first book – except for that ending that Mr Cox then fixed up – and was really looking forward to the second in the series. Simply can’t wait for the next book in the ‘Tales of Widowswood’ series too.

In summary: An excellent follow-on in a very well written YA/NA fantasy series. We need new tales like this for our children. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

The Curse Mandate (The Dark Choir #3) by J.P. Sloan.

curse-mandate

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

The Curse Mandate is book three in the ‘Dark Choir series’ and just as fantastic as the first two. Though, I do have to say I really should have re-read the first two before I read the third as there were moments I couldn’t quite remember who was who, who had done what, etc. But that was totally my fault and not a flaw in the author’s work! But, yeah, definitely not a stand-alone book – so go buy and read the first two first. Thank me later. 😉

Okay, back to the story – loved it. The whole plot and concept of the ‘Dark Choir series’ developed well within the Curse Mandate, though I did sometimes get the feeling a few too many things were being squeezed into the one book to line up the story for the series as a whole. Hey, this happens, many a good author and fantastic series can suffer this minor issue. Live with it, no biggie honest.

The pace and tone was smooth and consistent with the previous two books – The Curse Merchant and The Curse Servant – and I really did like how the characters all developed and grew in ways that has me curious to see what happens next with them – good writing. But there was a moment I went “WHY!!!!!” but knew it was all for the plot and so have accepted it and am moving on. I can’t tell you what my why was… spoilers.

I also want to put it out there to fans of the ‘Dark Choir series’ that a young Alan Alder looks like Dorian… or vice versa. I suggested this to Mr Sloan, but do feel he was humouring me in my fangirl moment. I don’t fangirl well, it’s against my nature. Yes I am a fan… but I like to be one of the silent types up the back doing her best to not look like a stalker. 😉

The swearing is still there, but I’m used to it now and it is never out of context – which is why I think I am now used to it. But, yeah, it has been an issue for me in the last two books. Now? Meh. I want to read about Dorian and the gang; I deal with the words they use.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. But I would also strongly recommend they go buy and read the first two books first. Yes, buy and then read – any true urban fantasy fan should own copies. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I will be, once we have the funds once more. Though, sadly, as much as I would love them as paper books, as I own the others as eBooks, I would continue in that medium for now.

In summary: third book in the series that was well worth the wait. Consistent with the series so far, can’t wait for the next one. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Cover Reveal -KASPER MÜTZENMACHER’S CURSED HAT, by Keith R. Fentonmiller.

Welcome to the latest Cover Reveals for up and coming books…

Today’s Cover Reveal is for:

kasper-mutzenchachers-cursed-hat

KASPER MÜTZENMACHER’S CURSED HAT

by Keith R. Fentonmiller.

Available now for pre-order, guaranteeing delivery to your device on March 20, 2017.

 

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release­­: March 20, 2017

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

 Pre-Order: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add to your TBR list on Goodreads

 Description:

 Kasper Mützenmacher keeps a divine “wishing hat”—a thought-operated teleportation device—locked in the wall safe of his Berlin hat shop. According to an old prophecy, after Kasper’s Greek ancestor stole the wishing hat from Hermes, Fate cursed his progeny to sell hats, on pain of mayhem or death. Kasper, however, doesn’t mind making hats, and he loves Berlin’s cabaret scene even more. But his carefree life of jazz and booze comes to a screeching halt when he must use the wishing hat to rescue his flapper girlfriend Isana from the shadowy Klaus, a veil-wearing Nazi who brainwashes his victims until they can’t see their own faces.

Isana and Kasper’s happiness proves fleeting. Years after her mysterious death, Kasper struggles as a lonely, single father of two until he meets Rosamund Lux, recently released from a political prison where Klaus took her face. Kasper soon suspects that Rosamund is no ordinary woman. According to the prophecy, certain Lux women descend from the water nymph Daphne, who, during Olympian times, transformed into a laurel tree to avoid Apollo’s sexual advances; they, too, suffer from an intergenerational curse connected to Hermes’ stolen hat. As Kasper falls deeper in love, Rosamund’s mental health deteriorates. She has nightmares and delusions about Klaus, and warns that he will launch a night of terror once he’s collected enough faces.

Kasper dismisses the growing Nazi threat until the government reclassifies him as a Jew in 1938. His plan to emigrate unravels when anti-Jewish riots erupt and the Nazis start loading Jews on boxcars to Dachau. Then Rosamund goes missing, and Klaus steals the wishing hat, the family’s only means of escape.

Kasper, however, will face his most difficult battle in America. He must convince his wayward son and indifferent grandson to break the curse that has trapped the family in the hat business for sixteen centuries. Their lives will depend on it.

 Book One of the Life Indigo series, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat is a fantastical family saga about tradition, faith, and identity, set during the Jazz Age, Nazi Germany, and the Detroit race riots of 1943. Comparable works include: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Everything Is Illuminated, and Underground Airlines.

 Catherine Bell, author of Rush of Shadows (winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House 2014 Fiction Prize), calls the Cursed Hat “highly creative and imaginative, brimming with invention, mythology, psychology, secrets, characters, generations, cleverness and wisdom. Incredible, overwhelming, compelling.

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 cursed-hat

About The Author:

Keith is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His short story, Non Compos Mentis, was recently published in The Stonecoast Review and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Another story, Exodus, will be published in Running Wild Press’s forthcoming fiction anthology.

Find Keith Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Author Spotlight -Edward Aubry.

As I haven’t done one in a while, as life has been so busy, I am thrilled to get a chance to bring to a new Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal for Edward Aubry and his new book ‘Prelude to Mayhem‘ courtesy of Curiosity Quills Press.

prelude-to-mayhem

Prelude to Mayhem (The Mayhem Wave, Book I)

 Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, New Adult

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release­­: November 28, 2016

 

Description:

On May 30, 2004, the world transformed. Nearly all signs of civilization vanished, leaving in their wake a bizarre landscape of wilderness, advanced technology and magic, and leaving Harrison Cody very much alone. After weeks of surviving in solitude, he hears a voice on the radio, beckoning him to cross a thousand miles of terrifyingly random terrain to meet her, and other survivors, in Chicago. Eager to find any remnants of humanity, he sets forth, joined by an unexpected—and inhuman—companion.

For Dorothy O’Neill, the end of the world means she will never finish ninth grade. On her own, she builds a home in the ruins of a strip mall, relying on her ingenuity and hard work to maintain some semblance of creature comforts. When another survivor arrives, he brings futuristic technology and stories of monsters he has encountered. Armed with this information, she takes a new interest in exploring her world, but she is not prepared for what awaits her, and the new arrival has brought his own set of problems.

On their separate journeys, Harrison and Dorothy begin to piece together what has happened to their world. Their questions have answers to be found in what remains of Chicago, and from the mysterious voice on the radio offering the hope that civilization can be rebuilt.

Goodreads

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About The Author:

edward-aubry

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

Find Edward Aubry Online:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review – Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox.

nine-candles-of-deepest-black

5 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Wow! What a book. Now, I am not usually a fan of gore/horror scary tales of the supernatural… mostly as I tend to read in the dark at night… and I’m a wuss.

But ‘Nine candles of deepest black’ had just the right level of these things to be creepy and scary… but in an addictive way that literally DID have me awake until 1:30 each morning. And not because I was scared, but because I was just could NOT put this book down!

Due to the age of the characters, I am sure this is possibly meant to be a YA or NA story… but it would have scared the pants off me back at that age and so do feel I’m now *cough* mature enough to enjoy it and not need to turn all the lights on in the house and check all the doors are locked after reading it for a while. 😉

Openly being a Pagan – who is not a Wiccan – I really liked how this book approached the belief. No, I’m not saying what I do is all pentagrams, blood candles and demon stuff… I write about demons, but I don’t try and summon them. 😉 But I liked the fact that it tips its hat to the fact a lot of my faith is about intent and belief. Not saying if we BELIEVE in something long enough it will happen… But belief in oneself and our abilities to do what is right. And I really got that in this book and loved it. I was a little worried it was going to go all “Charmed” on me and make me throw the book down in disgust… but it didn’t and for that I am thankful.

Okay, enough soapboxing on belief and back to the book. It started out almost like a string of short stories… but just for the first few chapters and then it found its footing and ran. And boy did it run! I honestly found it hard to put down and that is rare for me with a book. It was like ‘kids, cook your own dinner!’ level of could not put down. I’m a good mum, they reheated left overs. 😉

And yes, it really did have me up to 1:30am each morning as I read, and read and absorbed the story. As we have been having some pretty horrific weather here in the Adelaide Hills right now (50 year storms, the entire state of South Australia lost electricity for at least 6 hours) THAT sort of weather… this was a terrific book to scare myself with. 🙂

Though I’m sure it would be just as entertaining to read on a sunny day… I think I remember what they look like.

All in all a totally addictive and highly entertaining story with a likable protagonist, a good storyline, solid characters and just that right amount of scary stuff to make it interesting without being too gross for the sake of being gory. I’ve read some of Mr Cox’s work before and it was similar… scary stuff, but not scary enough to prevent young readers (and readers of YA) to go screaming in terror. Just enough to entertain.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. ‘Nine candles of deepest black’ is a terrific piece of supernatural story telling. Yes the more timid YA/NA reader may get a little scared at times, but others will probably think it mild (I did say I was a wuss right?) and just enjoy it all the same.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. I am really starting to become a fan of Mr Cox’s supernatural work and could happily see myself buying this book – as well as telling others to do the same. It really was a perfect bit of writing.

In summary: Lovers of the supernatural with an honest Pagan twist will love this story. It wasn’t too far-fetched, it was well paced, a good mix of believable characters and an addictive nature to draw you in and read for hours past your bedtime. I highly recommend it!

Until next time,

Janis.