Unknown9: Genesis – Book Review

Unknown 9: Genesis: Book One of the Genesis Trilogy by Layton Green

Strange hallucinations have plagued PhD student Andie Robertson throughout her life. After years of consulting doctors, she decided the visions were a glitch in her own mind—until her mentor, the famous physicist Dr. James Corwin, is murdered in Italy, and Andie finds a stack of ink drawings in his office that bear a remarkable resemblance to her hallucinations.

Shocked, Andie digs deeper and learns that Dr. Corwin developed a device that might shed light on the very nature of reality. She is even more stunned to discover that her mother, an academic who disappeared when Andie was a young girl, might also be involved.

Determined to find answers, Andie follows a trail of clues placed by Dr. Corwin, for reasons unknown, in museums and cultural sites around the world, highlighting human achievement as well as a tapestry of secret knowledge woven into the threads of history.

Yet Andie is not the only one searching. Powerful forces know of her mentor’s invention, including a mysterious elite society that spans borders and will stop at nothing to find the device. Now a target herself, Andie and a disgraced journalist embark on a perilous journey that might hold the key to a new frontier of knowledge—and which also promises to unlock the doors of her past.

Andie is left with a cryptic message from her mentor and father-figure that leads her on a globe-trotting adventure.

Unknown 9: Genesis is told from several points of view, though it’s easy to catch up an follow the vastly different characters. This first installment in the series is a pulse-pounding thriller. The origins of the secret society following Andie is told from flashbacks throughout the novel, as well as a mysterious scientific breakthrough.

This is a fast-paced and exciting novel. With fun clues to follow and danger always lingering, I found it hard to put down. It’s difficult to trust anyone Andie comes into contact with. And there are several surprises along the way. I’m eager to learn more about the science elements as well as secret societies in the next installment.

Brightly Woven – Book Review

Brightly Woven: The Graphic Novel by Alexandra Bracken (Author), Leigh Dragoon (Author), Kit Seaton (Illustrator)

Extraordinary things just don’t happen to fourteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabil, a talented weaver who dreams about life outside of her tiny village. But that all changes when a mysterious young wizard named Wayland North appears and asks for Sydelle’s help. He’s got a shocking secret that could stop a war between kingdoms-if he can reach the capital with the news in time. North needs a navigator who can mend his magical cloaks, and Sydelle is perfect for the job.

As Sydelle and North race against the clock to deliver their message, they must contend with unusually wild weather and a dark wizard who will do anything to stop them. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers more about North’s past and her own strange abilities, she realizes that the fate of the kingdom may rest in her fingertips.

This is a graphic novel, adapted from a full-length, YA fantasy novel. It had to have been hard to whittle down, but it really works as a graphic novel. In fact, it’s beautiful and feels like a story made to be told with pictures. There are lush colors and Sydelle’s creations and dreams were some of my favorite things about this book.

The story is engaging and exciting as well. And I loved the characters of Sydelle and Wayland. This inspired, middle grade, fantasy combines magic and art in a wonderful way.

Ink & Sigil – Book Review

Ink & Sigil: From the world of The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails—and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.

But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.

But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective—while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.

As a fan of the Iron Druid series, I jumped at the chance to read this new story. It’s set in the same world, yet follows Al, a man who creates magic via sigils (symbols written in special ink on paper). And he happens to have a unique curse that prevents him from speaking aloud to anyone that he doesn’t want to eventually hate him. Plus, all of his apprentices have died in seemingly accidental ways.

Ink & Sigil is the first in a new and exciting, spin-off, fantasy series. It’s action-packed, funny, irreverent, and thrilling. With colorful characters and an intriguing plot, this mystery was thoroughly enjoyable. The highlights for me were the wise-cracking and mischievous hobgoblin and the suspenseful and complex plot involving the trafficking of Fae creatures. The novel was written with a lot of Scottish dialect/spelling, but that only added to the richness of the story. I look forward to the next in this fantastic new series.

Book Review – Legendborn

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Bree is one of my favorite female characters in a YA novel. She’s smart and sassy. And she doesn’t let anyone push her around. It’s really refreshing to have a young woman who doesn’t find her self-worth in how others see her. She’s strong and knows it. And the important men in her life see it and respect her for it as well.

Legendborn is a fresh and inspired first installment in a new YA fantasy series. It’s an enthralling story, with a unique mix of magical lore. The pacing never slows, with plenty of action, intrigue, danger, and drama. And the characters are engaging and believable. Just when I thought I had some of the mysteries figured out, plot twists came along proved me wrong – which I love. It’s not predictable. I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting upcoming release. And I can’t wait for more.

The Hunters’ Girl – Book Review

The Hunters’ Girl by Barb Hendee

What would you do if you orphaned a girl?

Cooper Reyes and Lee Nevada run their own business hunting things no one else wants to hunt—ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and other dark entities. Before taking a job, they have clients sign a “hunters not responsible for damage or collateral” contract. They do a job, and they leave.

Then one night, in a hunt gone wrong, they orphan a teenage girl with a speech impediment. To Lee’s shock, Cooper won’t leave her to social services, as he doesn’t think she could survive the foster system. This could shatter their “no collateral” policy . . . and possibly their partnership.

They bring her to their log house in the forests of Quinault, Washington, and try to figure out how all of this is going to work. Though still damaged, she begins trying to fit into their life and home, determined to prove her worth. When it turns out she may have gifts and secrets of her own, Cooper and Lee have to face even harder decisions.

Taking in a stray is never simple.

Cooper and Lee are supernatural hunters for hire. They like their quiet and solitary life. They are both stoic and rigid and seem like the last men to take in an orphaned teenager. However, she’s not only emotionally scarred, but psychically gifted.

The Hunters’ Girl is the first installment in a new urban fantasy series. At only 212 pages, this is a shorter story than I’m used to, as I don’t read many novellas. But it just left me wanting more. It’s fast-paced and fun, with several supernatural mysteries that we get to experience. And I’m looking forward to seeing these characters evolve in future installments. I enjoyed every bit of this exciting new book. It feels like Ghost Hunters meets Supernatural. I can’t wait for the sequel.

The Princess Will Save You – Book Review

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning

When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warrior―not a sacrifice.

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

The inspiration for this novel was Princess Bride. This becomes really evident at times, with quite a bit of similar dialog and events. But don’t expect the same lighthearted humor. While there isn’t much in the way of humor, there is plenty of suspense, drama, and intrigue. And in this novel, the princess does the rescuing.

The Princess Will Save You is a fun YA novel that will appeal to fantasy fans of all ages. The adventure and mystery make for an engaging read. As well as several exciting twists and surprises. This is the first in a planned series, so don’t expect all threads to be wrapped up. But I certainly look forward to the next installment.

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