Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (59)

Am I the only one afraid to read the last book in a series I love? Like if I don't read it, the story isn't really over? Or what if I hate it and I can't love the series anymore because there are no more books to redeem it?
In this case, I think I just hate the fact that there are only three books in the series. I have absolutely loved Jennifer Estep's Black Blade series! It has all the things I love about her Elemental Assassin world but with monsters and swords. And based on the cover, there's some sort of kraken-like thing in this one. I can't wait!

Bright Blaze of Magic
(Black Blade #3)
Jennifer Estep
Release: April 26, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
In the exciting conclusion to her richly imagined Black Blade series about a reluctant young bodyguard and thief, and her hometown, where magic, mobsters and monsters make for a dangerous mix, Jennifer Estep expertly combines the snark and fast-paced action that have made her a New York Times bestselling author.


As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families—and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…


What book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Really Short Reviews: The Entwined Realms Series by Danielle Monsch

I read the first book in this series last year as part of an anthology. A few weeks ago, Rose Red started reading it and made some of the same observations I had. So when book two showed up on Netgalley right after that, I decided it was time we talked about this series here on the blog. 

Has anyone else read it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Stone Guardian
(Entwined Realms #1)
Danielle Monsch
Release: July 3, 2013
Goodreads Amazon
Gryphons flying past skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago.

Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species, nor has she wanted to. Her life is as ordinary as it gets - that is, until one day she walks out of her apartment and is attacked by a mob of Zombies, only to be saved by a Gargoyle.

Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but due to a cryptic prophecy, Terak, Leader of the Gargoyles, has been watching over the human woman for months. While he can find no reason why the woman has been singled out, something about her stirs every protective instinct within him. When the attack confirms that the threats against her exist and are real, he convinces Larissa that though their races have never been allies, the best chance of discovering why she has been brought into his world is by working together.

In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa’s life, but the fate of this New Realm as well.
I grew up watching Gargoyles. Does anybody remember that Disney cartoon? I loved it as a kid! *Looks at the the Season 1 and 2 DVDs on the shelf* Okay. I still love that cartoon! This book is the first time that I’ve read a book where a gargoyle is a main character. Do you think Goliath was the inspiration for Terak? I could totally see it.

Overall, I enjoyed Stone Guardian. It was a fun read! The premise is an interesting one where two realms collide with each other to create this new world. The world felt kind of like the one in the Kate Daniels series, but it does have its own twists and quirks.

What I love most is that there is a whole cast of different magical creatures and beings in this book. The hero is the leader of the gargoyles and the heroine is a rather sheltered human. The romance is kind of charming and builds slowly. I enjoyed their love story but it wasn’t my favorite part of the book.

My favorite part was the cast of secondary characters who I hope get their own books at some point. I would have liked to see a little more depth to the supporting characters. The heroine’s brothers and father, the enigmatic gargoyles, a possibly evil vamp, the crazy mage, the kick-ass female swordsman, a hot werewolf, and the awesome elf girl… We don't really get to know any of them very well but they do play a part in the story line.

It’s a solid introduction to a new PNR series. There are a few sections where the writing shined, but overall it was a little rough. The world and the characters were interesting enough to make up for it and I definitely will be continuing the series. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a fun and quick read.

 3.5 / 5 Stars!

The Dream Crafter
(Entwined Realms #2)
Danielle Monsch
Release: October 12, 2015
A Legendary Spellbook. Everyone desires it, but he controls it.

The most feared mercenary in the New Realms, Merc takes what he thinks is a routine job – guarding a magic spellbook until a secret auction takes place, one where only the most powerful and influential will have the opportunity to bid. But one moment of carelessness makes this job the most personal he has ever had, and if that wasn’t enough, his dreams are being invaded by a woman who his every instinct warns is trouble, but he can’t stop wanting.

A Legendary Power. Everyone covets it, but can she master it?

One moment of terror took away Amana’s security and her brother’s freedom. Now her life is doing whatever she must to survive, all the while trying to find the way to release her brother from prison. Her answer comes in an offer from the Guild, but the cost is high – using a power she has kept locked away on a man who terrifies her even as he fascinates her.

As the auction draws ever closer, Merc and Amana are drawn into a game of cat-and-mouse, captor and captive as they battle for control, even as they work together to thwart the various factions who are willing to do anything to collect the spellbook for themselves. While grudging respect and mutual desire begin to shape their relationship, in the end, only one can prevail. What will be the ultimate decision, when the price of victory means the end to the other’s dearest dream?
I think I liked Stone Guardian a little bit more than this second book in the series, though they have some of the same strengths. For me Fallon, the Dragon Slayer, a.k.a. the badass woman with the sword, is still the most compelling character. She plays a much larger role in this book than she did in the first one. I also thought Merc was an interesting, if enigmatic, character when he was introduced in the first book and I liked learning more about him. His magic tattoos were an original and unexpected touch.

The heroine, Amana, is similar to Larissa from the first book in some ways. She's not as ignorant of the magical world, but she is still untrained and vulnerable. She turns out to have powerful magic but she hasn't learned to use it properly. I wish that the characters who did know what she was capable of as a Dream Crafter would have explained it a little earlier on. The way her magic is portrayed as a sort of alternate personality was interesting, but I also thought it was a bit confusing.

About halfway through The Dream Crafter, I realized that there are no villains in the story, although no one likes the necromancers. Merc and Fallon are on opposing teams, both pursuing the spellbook, and sometimes Amana. But both are working for someone else and both are sympathetic characters. It's kind of like The Amazing Race with magic. I think that's why I found the story less compelling.

I'm still quite drawn to all of the characters in this world, Fallon and the rest of the Guild in particular. I'm looking forward to the next book which features a werewolf on a Guild mission with a woman called the Master of Monsters.
Recommended for fans of: Kate Daniels, high fantasy elements in a modern setting
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

3 stars

Monday, November 23, 2015

Read This F@!%ing Book (51)

Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if its something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:

 This week's post comes from our very own: 
Rose Red!

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 51: The Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)

2015 is going to be known as the year where I became obsessed with Nalini Singh and every book she's ever written. Back in June I binge read all fourteen of the Psy-Changeling books plus novellas and short stories in less than two weeks and loved them! I knew she had written another paranormal series but I was hesitant to start the Guild Hunter books. Why was I hesitant? I had never read an angel book I liked. I should have known better. I was hooked as soon as I started book one. Then I proceeded to binge all eight books and novellas in less than a week. Now that I've finished them, all I want to do is reread them again.

The World Is Ours... But It's Not.
Guys! I'm in love with Nalini Singh's worldbuilding! She has crafted it in such a way that I could see angels and vampires living in our world today. Imagine looking out your window and seeing an angel flying home! I loved the concept! What I loved even more was that she paired two paranormal creatures together that normally don't get paired together! Vampires and Angels is a weird combination but it works SO well in these books!

The Characters Are Awesome!
One of my favorite things about Nalini Singh's books are the characters and how each series has an ensemble cast. Unlike the Psy-Changeling books that have a different main couple each book, the first few books center on Elena and Raphael before branching out to other characters and it's fascinating. Elena is a badass Guild Hunter (aka vampire hunter) while Raphael is a scary son of a gun Archangel. And while I love them both a lot, I love the secondary characters just as much. Raphael's Seven and Elena's Guild Hunter friends are fascinating! Some of them I wasn't sure about (Ahem... Dmitri.) but by the time I put the last book down I loved them all. They're all so unique but they all have an underlying vein of fierce loyalty that it makes it easy to take them all into your heart. I'm just going to sit here impatiently waiting for Illium and Aodhan's books.

I'm Going To Stop Here.
I'm not going to say anymore besides GO READ THESE BOOKS! I'll start gushing and rambling about things and I don't want to spoil you all for the awesome that is this series. Seriously. Go pick up these books if you haven't already. And after that go pick up the Psy-Changeling books if you haven't read them. Trust me. You'll thank me later. Seriously, these books are some of those books that I'm going to want to read over and over again as the years go by. I am thoroughly besotted with both of these series and their characters.

Have you read theses books?
Did we persuade you to add them to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Author Q&A With Jenn Stark Plus A Giveaway!

Getting Wilde was one of those books I discovered on Netgalley because the cover caught my eye. As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it and I requested an ARC so fast that I think my mouse got whiplash. It's got some really original world building and the story is intriguing! So I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for the next book in the series, Wilde Card. My review will be going live on Wednesday November 25! So stay tuned for that! Today, I got the chance to ask Jenn Stark some questions about herself and this series. Plus, Jenn has a really awesome giveaway going on! Details are after the interview!

Author Interview

JS: Thank you so much, Rose Red, for being a part of the Wilde Card tour! I was absolutely delighted to get your questions, and this interview was so much fun. So let’s hit it!

RR: First off, we loved One Wilde Night and Getting Wilde! One of the things I’ve personally loved about this series so far is the world building and how it incorporates Tarot cards! Can you tell us a little about how the world for your books came to you and how you began the process of creating such a complicated paranormal universe?

Jenn Stark: Thank you so much for reading and enjoying ONE WILDE NIGHT and GETTING WILDE! I’m thrilled the stories entertained you. I began conceiving the world for Immortal Vegas back in 2007, when I won the Golden Heart award from Romance Writers of America for a manuscript titled BLACK JACK, which was an early version of the Immortal Vegas world. I knew I wanted Vegas—the city just seemed to have an energy all its own, and had a storied history of occult activity as well. I also knew I wanted to use Tarot cards, because I have read them since I was a teenager and am fascinated with their imagery and mystery. In addition to Sara using the cards as a tool to help her find people and things, the cards are represented on the Arcana Council, which is led by the Magician.

RR: The main character Sara is such a badass! How did you decide that she’d use her ability to read the tarot cards to hunt down artifacts?

JS: I knew I wanted her to engage with the cards in a meaningful way, beyond predicting the future. Using the imagery of the cards to help identify clues as to the location of lost or hidden objects seemed a fun way to explain the cards and show their practical relevance. I have also found cards (and playing cards, and Tarot imagery that isn’t on cards) popping up from time to time, which I always find intriguing!

RR: Since Tarot cards are such an important tool of Sara’s, we were wondering if you have a favorite Tarot deck and why it’s your favorite?

JS: For many years I used Ciro Marchetti’s Gilded Tarot deck, but now I use a variation on the traditional Rider-Waite deck, called the Radiant Tarot. However, Mr. Marchetti recently granted me permission to feature his cards on my site(!!!), so I can’t wait to upload his lovely new deck, the Tarot Royale!

RR: One of my favorite things was the variety of locations Sara goes to find artifacts. That being said, is there a specific reason you chose Las Vegas to be the central location for The Council?

JS: Yes! Several years ago I visited Las Vegas for the first time, and was seriously struck by the energy of the place. It seemed to move with a magic all its own—some of it a bit dark, admittedly, but the Strip and Fremont Street in particular were filled with power and possibility. I was convinced that if a group of sorcerers/demigods etc. needed a home base, Vegas wouldn’t be a bad place to be. Add to that the fact that Bugsy Siegel, one of the Vegas Strip’s most famous “founding fathers”, was a believer in the Tarot according to some accounts, well… that aspect of the series just seemed meant to be.

RR: We love that you write urban fantasy books! We’re big fans of the genre and of your books here! Are there any books or series that you’ve read that influenced you to write urban fantasy books in particular?

JS: I have to say, my favorite authors in both Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are Darynda Jones (love! her books!), J.R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning, and Kim Harrison. But there are so many amazing authors out there—always new books to read!

RR: Finally, we have a question we like to ask each of the authors that stop by our blog. What book or books are you currently reading or have just finished? We are always looking for great book recommendations!

JS: Yes! I’m currently enjoying SPIRITS OF THE SEASON: EIGHT HAUNTING HOLIDAY ROMANCES. There are some really outstanding stories in this anthology, and it’s currently on sale for $.99! How can you beat that? You should especially check out the tales by Athena Grayson and Diane J. Reed… just absolutely magical.

Thank you again for hosting me, Rose Red!! I hope you have a magical holiday season as well!

RR: Thank you SO much for stopping by and answering our questions, Jenn!

Follow the tour from November 16th - 20th! One grand prize winner will receive a $25 gift card for Amazon (Open Internationally) and one grand prize winner will receive a ‘Dixie Quinn Approved “Girls Night Out” Gift Basket’ (Open to U.S. Residents Only).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wilde Card
(Immortal Vegas #2)
Jenn Stark
Release: November 17, 2015
All that glitters may not be gold.

When an antique gold show comes to Vegas, Tarot reading artifact-hunter Sara Wilde's job is simple: to locate and liberate a set of relics rumored to give their bearers access to an ancient, incredible power. Yet within the Connected community, whispers of a war against magic draw every psychic, mystic, warlock, and witch to Sin City. The most powerful Connected covet the infamous relics, but no one wants them more than Sara's client--the insufferably arrogant, criminally sensual, and endlessly evasive Magician.

And what the Magician wants...

Sara's heist takes a turn for the trickier as the smoky-eyed specter from her past, Detective Brody Rooks, is assigned to investigate a break-in at the gold show, forcing her to confront the one man in Vegas she can't bluff. Even worse, just as she finally gets her hands on the goods, the game twists anew. The resulting chase leads her across the world to an ancient Egyptian temple filled with secrets, deception... and hints about her own abilities that could change everything. Desperate for answers, Sara is forced to turn to the one person she knows will manipulate, obfuscate and beguile to get whatever he craves. Only now, it seems, the Magician wants her.

Sometimes, when the deck is stacked against you... you've got to play the Wilde Card.
About The Author
Jenn Stark is a Golden Heart award-winning author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She lives and writes in Ohio. . . and she writes a LOT. In addition to her work in paranormal, she is also author Jennifer McGowan, whose Maids of Honor series of Young Adult Elizabethan spy romances are published by Simon & Schuster, and author Jennifer Chance, whose Rule Breakers series of New Adult contemporary romances are published by Random House/LoveSwept.

The world of her first paranormal romance, which was previously titled BLACK JACK, has now been reimagined as the setting ONE WILDE NIGHT, GETTING WILDE and WILDE CARD, all to be published in 2015, with BORN TO BE WILDE to follow in early 2016!

Connect with Jenn:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Other Books in the IMMORTAL VEGAS Series

ONE WILDE NIGHT, Book 0.5, is available at Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Nook
GETTING WILDE, Book 1, is available at Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iTunes

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Reap the Wind by Karen Chance

Reap the Wind
(Cassie Palmer #7)
Karen Chance
Release: November 3, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
You’d think that being Chief Seer for the supernatural world would come with a few perks. But as Cassie Palmer has learned, being Pythia doesn’t mean you don’t have to do things the hard way. That’s why she finds herself on a rescue mission skipping through time—even though she doesn't entirely understand her dimension-bending new power.

Rescuing her friend John Pritkin should have been an in and out kind of deal, but with the near-immortal mage’s soul lost in time, Cassie has to hunt for it through the ages—with Pritkin’s demon dad in tow. He’s the only one who can reverse Pritkin’s curse, but with the guardians of the time-line dead set on stopping anyone from mucking about, Cassie will have to figure out how to get her friend back without ruffling too many feathers—or causing a world-ending paradox or two...
I love Cassie and Pritkin together! Even though Cassie's traveling back in time to a version of Pritkin that hasn't met her, they're still great together. Reap the Wind is chock full of those on-the-run-from-the-bad-guys-careening-out-of-control moments that they've perfected. The action never stops, which makes this book a lot of fun to read. You don't even notice that it's 500 pages long.

At the same time, I felt like not much happened in those 500 pages. I think that's just a pitfall of time travel stories, that a lot can happen in the past but the present day plot doesn't make any forward progress. Cassie does uncover some new information about her childhood, as well as Pritkin's during their adventures. Cassie also starts to gain new understanding of her powers. And she makes some decisions about her role in the supernatural world.

I like the fact that she finally seems to be acting like an adult, though trying to convince the vampires and mages to treat her like one is a whole other battle. Part of that coming of age is finally addressing some of the issues in her relationship with Mircea that have been lingering for a few books now. I also loved meeting more of the Fey, who have featured prominently in Chance's Dorina Bassarab series but not much in Cassie's books.

But at the end of the book, the one thing that I really wanted Cassie to accomplish was incomplete. She has a plan and newfound confidence to execute it, but it just felt like a big "to be continued." I'm glad the next book in the series is only a few months away - Ride the Storm releases in April. Still, fans of the series won't want to miss this exciting, action packed installment. It really is a lot of fun.

Recommended for fans of:  magical chases through fantasy worlds, supernatural politics

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley


For more on this series:
Read This F-ing Book 43

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (57)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. We hadn't done Waiting on Wednesday since early last year, but we recently decided it's about time to bring it back.  So here's this week's WOW pick:

The Iron Druid Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series! I have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever when in all actuality it has only been a year and a half. I'm so ready for some more adventures with Atticus and the gang. I'm nervous though. The stuff that happened with Loki in the last book can lead to nothing good. I'm kind of terrified about what will happen especially with him and with Leif in this book. Atticus's confrontation with Leif has been coming for a few books now and I'm still not ready for it.

Ah! I need this book in my life! I need to know what happens next!

(The Iron Druid Chronicles #8)
Kevin Hearne
Release: January 26, 2016
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Iron Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne’s epic New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, has a point to make—and then drive into a vampire’s heart.
When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.
What book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Release Day Review: Veiled Magic by Deborah Blake

Veiled Magic
Deborah Blake
Release: November 17, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.

Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…
Witch Donata Santori is a Witness Retrieval Specialist for the police department. She summons the ghosts of murder victims to find out who killed them. While that's not a completely original idea, it's also not one you see all that often in UF. What makes this world unique though, is the wonderful assortment of other supernatural characters. Veiled Magic features kobolds, dragons, shifters, and obviously witches, all done just a little bit differently than usual.

The paranormal world consists of five major races, of which witches are the only ones known to the public, along with several minor races, or sub-species. The races are governed by the Council, made up of representatives from each race, like a supernatural UN. Each group also seems to be based on a different mythology, the witches Roman and the shifters Norse, which I thought was an  interesting touch.

Donata runs afoul of the Council, and her boss, when her latest murder victim asks for her help keeping a magical painting out of the hands of the Cabal, a secret society within the Catholic Church out to destroy supernaturals. She enlists the help of an art forger, who may be the only supernatural in the world who doesn't know that his father is a dragon, and her shifter ex-boyfriend, an expert fighter. The potential for a love triangle is there, but the romance isn't a big part of the story. I had a lot of fun with this action-filled adventure, though I felt like it slowed down a bit in the middle.

Veiled Magic wants to be the start of a series, and I hope that it will be. I really like the cast of characters and I'd like to see more of this world. There are still some unanswered questions at the end of the book. And Donata's position as one of the only police officers with knowledge of the supernatural has great potential.

Recommended for fans of: SPI Files and The Underworld Detection Agency

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Here's this week's WOW pick:

Truthwitch is one of those titles that I feel like I've been hearing about forever. I was a little bit surprised at how far away the release is still. I've always loved stories about magic and witches, but what has me really curious about this one is the ship's captain. I'm guessing the prince isn't actually a pirate, but until the book comes out I'm going to imagine him as one anyway.

(The Witchlands #1)
Susan Dennard
Release: January 5, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

What book are you waiting on?


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Release Day Review: Wings of Sorrow and Bone by Beth Cato

Wings of Sorrow and Bone
(Clockwork Dagger #2.5)
Beth Cato
Release: November 10, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
From the author of The Clockwork Dagger comes an exciting novella set in the same world…

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.
Wings of Sorrow and Bone is set a few months after the end of The Clockwork Crown and features two teenaged girls introduced in that book. Rivka Stout and Tatiana Garret are unlikely pair, a Mean Girl and a misfit, brought together by a common acquaintance and eventually a common goal. The two meet at a party hosted by Balthazar Cody, a Tamaranian councilman and the creator of the city's arena games. After sneaking away from the festivities, the two discover Cody's workshop where gremlins are kept in cages and used for parts for the giant chimera Cody is building for the next match.

Rivka relates to the gremlins, having been a victim of abuse herself. Though her life has improved, she still has a cleft lip and wants to be a machinist, so she doesn't fit in with her grandmother's society friends. If that's not enough, she's from Caskentia so the science-loving Tamaranians assume she's uneducated even before her accent marks her as poor. But Cody respects her mechanical ability and allows her into the workshop. Rivka plans to use that access to free the gremlins, but she'll need help from Tatiana, who has her own motivation for being there, as well as a young medition, to come up with a plan.

Cody, while not actually the villain in The Clockwork Crown, was never a sympathetic character so it's quite satisfying to see someone giving him a hard time. I also really loved the gremlins in both novels, so I was happy to see the issue addressed. However, I did feel like there was an excessive amount of Octavia name dropping in this story, which makes it hard to view it as a standalone.

I've always found the socio-economic insights into the different countries in Cato's fictional world fascinating. Octavia touches on it in the books, but Rivka has a deeper understanding of the issues having lived in many different areas. I really enjoyed learning more about the world from her perspective. In that respect, this novella might provide a good introduction to the world of the Clockwork Dagger books, but I would not recommend reading it first. It makes too many references to the events in The Clockwork Crown not be spoilery.

I'm not aware of any plans to do so, but I could see Rivka starring in a spinoff series. She reminds me of Genevieve LaFoux who appears in all of Gail Carriger's series. Either way, I'm happy with the chance to return to this world and the gremlins and I enjoyed the novella.

Recommended for fans of: The Clockwork Dagger series, Gail Carriger's Finishing School series

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

3 1/2 stars

Our reviews of other books in this series:
The Clockwork Dagger
The Deepest Poison

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