Tag Archives: New Adult

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

 

The Goblins of Bellwater
by Molly Ringle

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

Rated: ★★
Publication: October 1, 2017
Genre: NA, Urban Fantasy
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

A beautiful cover, a story inspired by Rossetti’s Goblin Market, and set in the PNW, I was all about The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle. Yet, I don’t really know how I feel about it now that I’ve finished it, other than saying it’s a true and solid three start book. The story was solid, but the pacing a little odd. Character development was good, but then weird. And the resolution we received at the end fell flat for me.

The setting and descriptions were fairly spot on. Having been to the PNW and hiking in Oregon, it felt real and authentic. I could almost smell the crisp air and feel the river and ocean mist. Ringle excelled at making this feel like a real place, but simultaneously feeling other. Perhaps it’s because these places, these peaceful out of the way woodland areas already lend themselves to your imagination, but either way, Ringle really brought out the excitement and wonder of running into fae creatures in your backyard as it were.

Character development was a bit odd. I say that only because it makes sense that it would be odd. When you have half of the 4 main characters under a spell, it’s hard to see much of a change in them. The change we see almost fades into the background with them. They exist, things happen, we’re supposed to care, but in the end, don’t really. However, when we get to the non-glamoured half, they really take off. We see how Kit is a good guy in a bad situation. We see him grow from being a loner to making all of these connections and wanting more out of life. With Livy, we see the same. From her devotion to her sister, to finally focusing on her own life, her own future. It was really great and those two were really strong characters that I would have loved to have seen more about.

Which leads me to my biggest issue with The Goblins of Bellwater: the pacing. It just didn’t click for me. There is this huge build-up at a slow and steady pace. Things are happening, slowly growing in intensity, but then suddenly, poof! Everything is fixed in a quick fifteen minute read. It felt like the set-up was more than half the story, and then the journey and resolution combined made only a quarter. I would have preferred the journey to resolving the problem to be as long as the set-up. But instead, we get a journey that happens in the blink of an eye, a resolution that happens even quicker, and then a nicely wrapped up ending. It should have taken longer.

Finally, for mentioned Rossetti’s Goblin Market, I’d feel like there’d be more to it other than hey, we’re goblins and we force people to eat fruit. I expected the tie-in to be greater or more significant. Possibly for the story to go deeper into the symbolism of the poem. For all my complaints though, The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle was an enjoyable story. I enjoyed the premise, the setting, and characters and really, only wish it was longer to more fully delve into everything.

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

 Ensnared
by Rita Stradling

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

Rated: ★★★
Publisher: Kindle Press
Publication: May 23, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Sci-fi, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Even though I’ve been burned in the past by fairytale retellings, I had to give Ensnared by Rita Stradling a chance. I mean, look at that cover! Though now there are two covers, the delightful one I used for this post, but also a sleek blue one, both are fitting and intriguing. Beauty and the Beast with a twist and in the future. That’s what it was marketed as, and that’s what I got. Straight, simple, to the point.

Set in a future full of advanced AI, Alainn is forced to go undercover as a robot ordered by reclusive millionaire Lorccan to keep her father from prison. Though she doesn’t want to, and it definitely wasn’t her plan, she goes along with it. Things proceed exactly as you think it would considering it’s a retelling. What makes it really stand out is the use of AI. It’s truly unsettling and definitely makes you think twice about giving Siri or Alexa access to everything.

This was well-paced, the romance was soft and easy (there is sex so keep that in mind if you’re picking this up). Characters were developed just enough to make you want to continue the story, and the world building enough to sustain the plot. I’m sure if the book were longer, or made into a series, there would be some serious snags, but as is, Ensnared by Rita Stradling is a truly enjoyable sci-fi rendition of Beauty and the Beast that I thoroughly adored.

Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Synopsis

Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.

Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real

The Magicians
Lev Grossman
Publisher: Plume
Publication: May 2010
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, NA
Personally purchased title
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★★★★½

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The Line by JD Horn

Synopsis

Mercy Taylor, the youngest member of Savannah’s preeminent witching family, was born without the gift of magic. She is accustomed to coming in a distant second to the minutes older, exquisite and gifted twin she adores. Hopelessly in love with her sister’s boyfriend, she goes to a Hoodoo root doctor for a love spell. A spell that will turn her heart to another man, the best friend who has loved her since childhood.Aunt Ginny, the family’s matriarch, would not approve. But Mercy has more to worry about than a love triangle when Aunt Ginny is brutally murdered. Ginny was the Taylor family’s high commander in the defense of the bewitched line that separates humankind from the demons who once ruled our realm.

 The Line (A Witching Savannah Novel)
JD Horn
Publisher: 47North
Publication: February 2014
Genre: New Adult, Witchy, Urban Fantasy
Received via Kindle First
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★½

The Line by JD Horn

I must say I was quite surprised with this book. I went into this book extremely wary. I had low expectations, so therefore anything other than horrific failure would have impressed me. With that in mind, I really enjoyed “The Line.” I’m not sure if it was because I went into it expecting failure, or because it was a fun read, but  either way, I liked it and am tempted to pick up the second book in the series.

The book starts off a bit rocky, introducing us to the soon-to-be 21 year old protagonist, Mercy Taylor, a tour guide that specializes in twisting the truth about local spots into something more colourful for bored tourists. At the start, she sounded and acted much younger than 21, as I originally thought she was still in her teens, given the way she behaved. Mercy is a twin and a dud at that. She comes from a large, prominent family of witches and is constantly reminded for the family position and her lack of magical abilities, while her sister is the most powerful witch the family had seen in a very long time.

As she has no powers of her own, she finds herself going to a local ‘hoodoo’ doctor when she needs a spell to make herself fall in love with her friend who has been deeply in love with her for forever it seems. This is when the book starts to get interesting. A spell is performed, a murder committed, a position usurped, and eventually an understanding reached. All of the family secrets that kept coming up and undone were interesting, and things I did not expect considering the slightly lulling beginning and something I thought may have been a product of poor writing, turned out to be perfectly executed.

There are a few moments that may turn readers off and make you very uncomfortable. Both are abuses of power against women that leave them very violated. I was left feeling unsettled with one of these situations and really, really hope younger readers understand that these actions were wrong and are not left confused by the mixed message being given by the author.

Overall, the book is free and an easy read, though it does present various problematic messages concerning love that may be difficult to ignore.

Quotes & Excerpts

Witches used their magic to change the frequency we live on. […] They modulated the energy of our world just enough so that the scary things don’t get picked up. […] Once our world was out of harm’s way, the withes raised the line, a safety net of energy that prevented our former masters from burrowing their way back in. The witches who maintained the line were called anchors, and only these anchors know how the line was created or how it might be destroyed.
-Chapter Two

“I already proposed that,” Oliver said. “The part about my questioning him, not the part where you try to hold onto the illusion of being a young cock […]”
-Chapter Twelve

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