Friday, March 08, 2019

Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor

Title: Binti:The Complete Trilogy
Author: Nnedi Okorafor 
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Complete

Hardcover, 368 Pages
Publication: February 5, 2019 by DAW

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.


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Collected for the first time in an omnibus edition, the Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning Binti trilogy, the story of one extraordinary girl's journey from her home to distant Oomza University.

In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family's concerns, Binti's talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.

But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti's spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination.

There is more to the history of the Medusae--and their war with the Khoush--than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace.
Binti has been on my to-read list for as long as I can remember. Therefore, when I saw the bind-up up for review, I immediately jumped at the chance. The omnibus edition contained the complete trilogy and a brand-new novella in one stunning hardcover book. The series follows sixteen-year-old, prodigy Binti as she runs away from home to attend the prestigious Ommza University. The novellas focuses on Binti’s life and personal growth at the university, as she deals with PTSD (attack on the way to the university), home, society and cultural issues.

The problem with novellas are their length. It can be difficult to lay the foundation of the world and characters with a restrained word count. With that said it can be done, it’s certainly possible but in Binti’s case, it fell a bit short. I found the world building perplexing and unconvincing. Besides the scientific terminology and various species, I didn’t get the science fiction, futuristic, space vibes. And I’ve read my fair share of SF novels. I also had a difficult time connect with our main protagonist, Binti and other side characters. The characters weren’t relatable at all and the more I read, the more I started to lose interest and not care what happened to them….which is never a good sign. The plot never really captured my attention either. I found myself putting down Binti quite often, not picking it back up for days and when I did, I had trouble remembering what occurred.

I had such high expectations going into Binti, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to it. The book never truly capture my attention, and on many occasions I felt like I had to trudge through just to finish. Nonetheless, Binti was well-written and although I may not have enjoyed it, many other reviewers absolutely loved it. I suggest checking out other reviews and excerpt before reading.


Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Caraval # 1

Hardcover, 407 Pages
Publication: January 31, 2017 by Flatiron

Source: Personal Library.


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Remember, it’s only a game…


Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
I bought Caraval when it first released based off a preview of the first four chapter sample. I liked what I read and it didn’t hurt that it was carnival-themed and compared to The Night Circus, one of my favorite books. But then it ended up unread, on my shelf for two years. With the final novel of the trilogy releasing this year, I finally decided to pick it up. I was pumped to start the book again after reading all the amazing reviews the first two books received over the years. My sister and I like the same type of books and she attested to enjoying the novel so I thought for sure this was going to be a winner. Sadly, I was wrong. Caraval had no substance.

Caraval went downhill pretty quickly after the characters arrived gosh knows where to attend Caraval. The goal of Caraval was to play a game and win a wish. In Scarlett’s case, the game involved finding her missing sister, Tella in five days. Caraval suffered from lack of world building, character development, imagination and mediocre writing. The entire novel revolved around getting clues that pointed to the next clue and/or location in which Scarlett would find her sister Tella. That’s literally it. It’s so simple and dull. I never felt the urgency of the game, the stakes never felt high enough. Why? Because half the time Scarlett was swooning and daydreaming over Julian and Dante. She all but forgot that she was there to find her sister! The author tried to make it sounds like Scarlett always put her sister above herself but Scarlett’s action is a far cry from that.

The world building was nonexistent and forgettable. I already forgot the Island the sisters came from and where they headed. And I read the book less than 48 hours ago, nuff’ said. As far as fantasy goes, Caraval had little to no magic. The ONLY thing that had a speck of magic was a dress Scarlett received from Legend that changed colors, shapes and styles. I remember listening to a podcast where Garber said she wanted to write a novel that blurred the lines between reality and fantasy…whelps, she succeeded in that respect because I couldn’t tell that this was a fantasy novel. It felt like I was reading a book version of that boring board game, Clue. Another issue I had was the writing. The writing in my opinion was mediocre and absurd. For example, early on in the first couple of chapters, Scarlett said the night smelled like a moon and candle wax. Dear readers, do you know what the moon smells like? I would like to know what the moon smells like. Has the author smelled the moon? Doubtful. Garber was going for beautiful lyrical proses, but combining random nouns and adjectives that don’t equate is just pure sloppy writing and instead, made for a jarring narrative.  

The characters, like the world building were one-dimensional and under-developed. I didn’t like our main leads Scarlett and Julian. Scarlett priorities were all skewed. She was more worried about her pending nuptials and falling for a stranger than finding her sister. I would say a good 2/3rd of the book was dedicated to Scarlett contemplating Julian: how attractive he was, where he was or why they’re incompatible. Anything and everything Julian. It was overkill. As for Julian, he was a cookie-cutter male lead. I didn’t find him interesting nor did he do anything interesting. And oh how vexing it was every time Scarlett praised him for saving her he would tell her, “You give me too much credit, I’m not a good guy…” I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes when he made his depreciating speeches.

I managed to finish this book, how I’m not sure. I hoped, at the very least, the ending would redeem the novel someway, somehow but like the entire book, it also was a let down. Caraval literally ended with Tella TELLING Scarlett how everything went down. A ridiculous, detailed, info-dumping play by play of her involvement in the game that took place prior to the sisters leaving home to the present moment. Talk about anticlimactic. I cannot recommend Caraval. If you’re looking for a fantasy novel, look elsewhere because this is not it. I always tell those reading my reviews to try a sampler before committing to a purchase, but lesson learned, it doesn’t always help. I feel duped. The book was falsely advertised. Caraval claimed to be a YA version of The Night Circus but I didn’t get anything remotely close to it. Not even close. Do yourself a favor is skip this book/series. The world building is a joke, the characters have as much personality as a card board box and the writing was poor and sloppy. One of the worst Young Adult novel I’ve ever read. 


Monday, March 04, 2019

A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery by Curtis Craddock

Title: A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery
Author: Curtis Craddock
Genre: High Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: The Risen Kingdom # 2

Hardcover, 416 Pages
Publication: January 22, 2019 by Tor Books

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery is the masterful sequel to Curtis Craddock's critically-acclaimed high fantasy An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, which continues the engrossing tale of courtly intrigue and breathtaking magic, and starring our fiercely intelligent heroine Isabelle des Zephyrs with her loyal musketeer Jean-Claude.


Isabelle des Zephyrs has always been underestimated throughout her life, but after discovering the well of hidden magic within her, unveiling a centuries-long conspiracy, and stopping a war between rival nations, she has gained a newfound respect amongst the cutthroat court.


All that is quickly taken away when Isabelle is unfairly convicted of breaking the treaty she helped write and has her political rank and status taken away. Now bereft, she nevertheless finds herself drawn into mystery when her faithful musketeer Jean-Claude uncovers a series of gruesome murders by someone calling themselves the Harvest King.


As panic swells, the capital descends into chaos, when the emperor is usurped from the throne by a rival noble. Betrayed by their allies and hunted by assassins, Isabelle and Jean-Claude alone must thwart the coup, but not before it changes l'Empire forever.
I loved the first book in The Risen Kingdoms Series and wondered if the sequel, A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery would live up to its predecessor. Craddock not only delivered an excellent sequel but he exceeded all my expectations. In this latest installment, readers finds Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs stripped of her title for saving and defending a wrongly accused women, investigating sorcerers’ that has gone missing and/or butchered for their Builder’s gift all while trying to stop a coup d'├ętat against the Le Roi.

Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery is part murder mystery, political and religious climates and family, the ones we are born into and the one built by bond and love. With a serial killer on the loose and an usurper in the midst, at the core of the novel its all about family. Craddock delves deeper into Isabelle’s bloodline as we learn about her parents specifically her father Lorenzo, the mystery of her birth and an enigmatic sister recently discovered. Isabelle’s cruel father and vindictive brother aren’t far behind, traveling to the capital for Le Roi Leon’s 75th birthday festivities while seeking a death wish and red consumption cure. But it’s Isabelle’s true family that is the heart of this novel, her guardian and the one she sees as her ‘father’ Jean-Claude and childhood friend and bloodhollow Marie.

I love the trio’s dynamic relationship. They’re so in-sync with one another and loyal to a fault. I remember there was a scene towards the end when Marie thought Isabelle turned against the empire and Isabelle had to sacrifice one of her family, Marie undoubtedly pledges her loyalty to Isabelle till the very end even it meant her death. Marie has come a long way and despite being a bloodhollow, normally emotionless; we see a brand new side to Marie, one that is ambitious, inquisitive, intelligent, strong, and brave. We also learn about Jean-Claude’s past and some of things he’s done in his youth. While it wasn’t what we’ve come to expect of Jean-Claude, it was nice to see that he’s leaned and grew from his past actions.

And lastly I can’t talk about family without mentioning The Trefoil, the three wives of Grand Leon: Sireen, Impervia and Conquetta. One would think women sharing a husband would be full of animosity but The Trefoil are like sisters who love and care for one another. I loved the women as a group and individually. They’re all so amazingly different and true warrior queens without forfeiting an ounce of femininity.

I highly, highly recommend The Risen Kingdoms series to everyone. The world building is complex as it is intriguing, the characters are realistic and multifaceted and the writing is absurdly witty, clever and well-written. The Risen Kingdom is a truly underrated series and for how ridiculously great it is, I’m surprised not many more people have read it. I hope that changes soon. Read it folks, this series is a hidden gem, you won't regret it!
Side note: The cover color choice finally makes perfect sense! Hint: Isabelle. 



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

Title: The Beast's Heart
Author: Leife Shallcross
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: N/A

Paperback, 416 Pages
Publication: February 12, 2019 by Berkley

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.


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I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.
Beauty and The Beast is one of the most beloved and well-known fairy tale in the world. Many people have drawn inspiration from the story; having it adapted, retold or re-imagined time and time again over the years. But one thing that has never change was the point of view. It has always been from the female perspective, from Belle (Isabeau)'s point-of-view. Until now. Shallcross gives readers an intimate and in-depth look inside the Beast’s mind; where we will finally see what he thought of his curse and his initial impression of Isabeau.

I was excited when I found out The Beast’s Heart was a Beauty and The Beast re-imagining from the Beast’s perspective. I’ve always wondered when someone was going to get around to writing one and lo’ and behold Shallcross delivered. But the excitement isn’t without some trepidation. My only concern and hope was that we didn’t get a repeat of the captive scenario again. That part of the original story has always rubbed me the wrong way and I hoped any and all future retelling would address it differently. Many did not, but Shallcross did. Isabeau ended up at the Beast’s castle in pretty much the same way as she always has, which was in replacement for her father. However, she remains a “guest” at the Beast’s castle of her own free-will. The Beast clearly gives Isabeau a choice to leave once she met him or stay with him for the duration of a year to keep him company. Isabeau seeing how sad and lonely the Beast was agrees to stay for the year.

If you’re expecting a Disney version of Beauty and The Beast then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But if it’s a complete new and fresh take on the story that you want, then you’ve found it. Not only are readers getting a new perspective on the fairy tale but Shallcross expanded on both Beast and Isabeau’s backstory including more characters and added her own spin on the magic and curse. In the original and various retelling, there were two to three characters at most. In The Beast’s Heart readers will meet Isabeau’s father and two sisters and various people that come into the sisters’ lives. The story jumps back and forth between what occurs at the castle with Beast and Isabeau and back at the cottage with Isabeau’s family as they adjust to life without Isabeau.

There was no villain in The Beast’s Heart, not like Gaston in the Disney version and not unless you consider the Fairy that cursed the Beast as a baddie. Instead the story focused on the characters’ relationships over the duration of a year. Readers watched as each character grew, developed and reacted to the changes and obstacles thrown their way. While I normally like action in my story, I also appreciated the character driven approach that Shallcross took. There was never a detail too small or insignificant that Shallcross didn’t add. Some may enjoy reading about the sisters’ mundane tasks like learning a new recipe or finding a potential suitors but those that crave more excitement will likely be bored as the story continues in a monotonic tone till the very end. I am in the former category.

All in all, The Beast’s Heart was quite enjoyable and better than I expected. The pacing was without a doubt slow and I often found myself putting the book down but even then, I kept thinking about the characters and was eager to find out what happened next. The story held my interest from beginning to end, when I did and didn’t read, which doesn’t happen often. I think true Beauty and the Beast and fairy tale fans will love this new take on the classic. Overall, The Beast’s Heart was a solid debut and a re-imagining worth reading. 



Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Folk of Air # 1

Hardcover, 370 Pages
Publication: January 2, 2018 by Little Brown BFYR

Source: Personal library.


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Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

The hype surrounding The Cruel Prince was and still is pretty extraordinary. Everywhere I looked someone was mentioning The Cruel Prince in some capacity. Whether it was through a review, about the characters, about the author or their overall love for the series. The reviews had the same sentiment with glowing five stars. With this much love, I thought it has to be good! To my surprise, I didn’t fall in love with this book like everyone else and found myself in the minority.

Unpopular opinion incoming. Boy, was this novel problematic. I’m going to start with the title. With a title such as ‘The Cruel Prince’, one would assume that The Cruel Prince (Cardan) would mean the story was centered around the prince or the prince would at least play a significant role in the book. However, there was neither. The novel is actually narrated by Jude, a human girl who was taken to Faerie at the age of seven and raised among the gentry as if she was a fair folk princess. At this point, I had a feeling it wasn't going to bode well when I realized how misleading the title was. 

Then we had the heroine Jude. Oh how I hated Jude. Jude despised the fair folk and yet she desperately wanted to be one of them. Hypocrite much? She often mentioned how cruel and selfish the gentry were but she literally did everything in her power to be just like them or crueler…believing it made her better than them. It’s not an admirable trait nor something to aspire to.  Jude had a shitty personality to begin with but it got worst when she joined a secret organization and became a spy for a powerful fair folk. All the secrets went straight to her head. She went around threatening people and went as far as murdering a fair folk because she thought she was untouchable (she claimed self-defense but let’s get real she wanted to kill him). She never felt remorse for her actions and had little to no care for the consequences (and of course it helped that she hid all the proof). Many readers saw Jude as a strong, kick-ass heroine and her actions as self empowering. But she was not. Jude was nothing more than a disgusting and despicable human being. How anyone can like her is a mystery to me.

Before I read The Cruel Prince, I saw people ‘shipping’ Jude and Cardan. Readers normally ‘shipped’ couples they loved, so again, I assumed Cardan and Jude were a couple. And big shocker, they were never a couple! From the moment the two characters met, all I felt was the loathing, animosity and frustration between the two. Every exchange and interaction thereafter between Jude and Cardan resulted in either the characters insulting one another or physically attacking one another. I was baffled. Why would readers approve of this? In an early scene, Cardan shoved Jude against a wall/or tree and proceeded to choke her and tell her how beneath him she was. The male character was literally emotionally and physically abusive to the female character and yet readers found this behavior acceptable…and I dare say, romantic? It’s not cute or romantic. It’s sick, revolting and unacceptable. It may be a fantasy novel and everything was fake but when real people start romanticizing it, there’s definitively a problem. And the book is marketed to teens no less. I love a good fantasy novel, I even love faeries but this book is not appropriate for children. I am surprised the book was approved and published because it was absolute rubbish.

The writing was not any better. Reviewers praised Black for her lyrical prose and even dubbed her as the Queen of Faeries but I didn’t see it. The writing wasn’t beautiful or lyrical. It was simple and basic as they come. The world building and characters were poorly developed and in my opinion unremarkable and unlikable. I’ve read far better faerie novels with complex world building and multifaceted characters; and best of all they didn’t romanticize abusive/unhealthy relationships.

The Cruel Prince was one of the worst book I’ve read in the last couple of years. It seriously boggles my mind how many people love this book. As I mentioned, the writing was average, the world building unimaginative, the characters unlikable but it was still nothing compared to an aggressor disguised as a love interest and violence and cruelty disguised as bravery and strength. That's messed up and twisted if you asked me. And If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and skip it. It’s not worth your time or your money. 



Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Breach by W.L. GoodWater

Title: Breach 
Author: W.L. Goodwater
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Cold War Magic # 1

Paperback, 368 Pages
Publication: November 6, 2018 by Ace

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.


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AFTER THE WAR, THE WALL BROUGHT AN UNEASY PEACE.

When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane Wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now after 10 years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable:

THE WALL IS FAILING.

While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to stop or take advantage of the crisis.

Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and see if it can be reversed. Instead she will discover that the truth is elusive in this divided city, and that even magic itself has its own agenda.

BECAUSE THE REAL PURPOSE OF THE WALL IS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED.
One cannot mention the Cold War without mentioning the Berlin Wall, the two are mutually inclusive. In Breach, Goodwater’s alternate Cold War Era, The Berlin Wall separates East and West Berlin as well; except the wall is made up entirely of magic. The strongest magic anyone has ever seen and is said to be unbreakable and impenetrable. Until a soldier discovers a breach.

Fantasy war novels are usually a hit or miss. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about the Cold War except what was taught in junior high and that was a long, long time ago. However, Goodwater does an excellent job using the history of what is known and added his own embellishments for an intricate magic realism espionage mystery. Breach is narrated by different characters from a young magician with rose-colored glasses, an American operative based in Berlin to a boogieman of legends told to frighten and keep people in line known as The Nightingale.

One of the main narrator is Karen, a young magician called in to help evaluate the wall from the US Magic Research and Deployment office. I was immediately immersed in her voice. Unlike many people around her who feared and still saw magic as destructive, Karen believed magic can be used for good. Karen was a very realistic heroine (well the only heroine in the entire novel aside from a brief mention of a prostitute) who is perfectly flawed. She had moments of triumphs and mistakes and faced oppositions and hostility from the majority of her male colleagues and strangers on a daily basis. And despite it all, she never dwelt on the matter too long, rather she focused on doing everything she could to help the people affected by the wall. All of Karen’s actions and reactions throughout the novel felt very real, considering magic is involved. And speaking of magic, the magic system in Breach wasn’t as fleshed out as I hoped. It was never clearly defined but it’s wasn’t overly complex either making it easy for readers to understand. The magic consisted of verbal incantations and occasionally a locus, a source of the magician’s power (something that held personal meaning).

At the core, Breach is a mystery. There’s a spattering of action scenes here and there but what stands out are the characters and their interaction with one another. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the Berlin Wall and following Karen and the team as they uncover the truth for the wall’s creation. My favorite scene was when their lead led them to an impromptu rescue mission of a high ranking Nazi magician, who turned out to be one of the most interesting character in the entire novel. I highly recommend Breach, it was a solid debut novel and in my opinion, a great Cold War Fantasy introduction.








Monday, January 21, 2019

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Title: One Fell Sweep
Author: Ilona Andrews 
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles # 3

Paperback, 332 Pages
Publication: December 21, 2016 by Createspace Independent 

Source: Personal library.



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Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!
I can always count on husband and wife extraordinaire, Ilona Andrews to deliver action, hilarity and the unexpected. And the third installment in the Innkeeper chronicles, One Fell Sweep had all three and more. Its been quiet on Gertrude Hunt’s home-front but things changed when a rare species, a Hiru drops in unexpectedly and seeks assistance and asylum for his brethren and himself. The Hiru offers Dina something she can’t refuse; help save his species and they will answer one question. The Hiru knows the answer to everything including the possible whereabouts of Dina’s parents.

Readers are treated to familiar characters from the previous two novels and plenty of new additions such as Dina’s older sister Maud and her daughter Helen. First off, I didn’t recall Dina having any other siblings besides her brother who went MIA at the same time her parents did. I absolutely loved Maud and her daughter. They were the center of many hilarious and heart-warming scenes. If I can use two words to describe Maud, it would be Alpha Female or total bad-ass. Like Dina, Maud would do anything and everything in the name of family and friends. While the sisters are 100% human, Dina has innkeeper abilities while Maud does not. But what Maud lacks in powers she made up for in sheer prowess in combat and strategy. Maud was married to a vampire noble and years surrounded by vampire customs has turned her into a ruthless and calculated soldier. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with little Helen who is half human-half vampire. Growing up in a vampire house, Helen doesn’t know what it truly means to be a child. Even when she saw her own father murdered, she didn’t shed a tear but knew instantly that her father had to be avenged. Helen was a little firecracker, I just adored her. You’d have to read the novel to see what the fuss is all about! I can’t wait to read more about Maud and Helen in the novella, Sweep of the Blade.

The Innkeeper Chronicles is a hodgepodge of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Romance and Mystery. Intergalactic vampires, werewolves and other alien species shouldn’t make sense but Andrews makes it work perfectly; and who knew that, that was exactly what I and other readers wanted? One Fell Sweep was an excellent addition to the series providing hours of happiness and laughs. Andrews’ books are always my go-to to escape reality and to relieve stress. If you haven’t read the Innkeeper Chronicles, you must remedy that A.S.A.P. Wondering what the raves are all about? Check out chapter samples on the authors’ website of the first two books for free. Guaranteed to be a sure winner!