Ink & Sigil | 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.

Buy links:

How was it? Having read all of The Iron Druid Chronicles books, this one that takes place in the same world should have been an immediate read but I sat on it. Now that I’ve read it I’m a little underwhelmed.

This story sets up a few mysteries, one of which – the investigation of Al MacBharrais’ latest apprentice’s death – spans the whole book. That mystery could have had a lot of potential but it ends up being quite boring. At no point I got pulled into that mystery, there were no hints or clues that got my mind working. As for the other mystery, meaning who cursed him, there’s little here for me to speculate.

The characters in this book are pretty good, in fact Al and Buck’s relationship have shades of Atticus and Oberon but in all the worse ways. The attempt at humor here is sometimes so dump that it would either work with pre-teens or not at all. It’s not as sly or funny, I down for quirky humor but half the time it doesn’t work in this book. It’s a little too heavy handed.

However, I think this book has some potential – or that’s what I told myself because I pre-ordered and got the second book Paper & Blood before even starting this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ink & Sigil is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

The Eye of the World | Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

Buy links:

How was it?

I don’t know how this book got on my list but the upcoming Amazon Prime Video adaptation hastened my reading it. I’ve never read the Lord of ring or the Shannara Chronicles but I’ve respectively seen the movies and TV show. The Eye of the World very much falls into the same category as these stories, it’s an epic high fantasy with a dark twist to it.

The story’s influence is quite clear – it’s Tolkien – but I didn’t see Eye of the World as a rip-off. It’s more in the same vein with similar plot points and more women involved. The story does takes a while to get going but once it does it’s interesting. However the déjà-vu, cliché aspects of the plot often make it seem slow, because you’ve got a clear idea of where the story’s going – at the very least when it’s regarding the hero.

I also kind of got fed up with pretending we didn’t know who from the Two Rivers crew was the “chosen one.” So by the end when we’re supposed to be surprised by the reveal I rolled my eyes a bit.

Oddly enough, I enjoyed more some of what happened to the others in the group, in particular who turned out to be a Wolfbrother. But even with them it was easy to figure out who was going to be a problem (i.e. The who took the jeweled dagger).

Overall the story is interesting if a bit cliché. If you read a lot of fantasy, or summarize the main plot points, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s also and overly detailed but it has enough charm to overlook some of that.

The only made me curious to see how the screen adaptation turns out. The trailers look good and the casting seems on point.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Eye of the World is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

A Veiled & Hallowed Eve (Soulbound VII) | Hailey Turner

Releasing: October 1, 2021
Cover Designer: AngstyG, LLC

Available now:

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Death is the last lover you will ever know.

SOA Special Agent Patrick Collins has lived a life full of lies, and it has finally caught up with him. There’s no denying his past any longer, not after giving up the truth to save himself from a murder charge. But truth alone can’t set Patrick free, and time is running out to stop the Dominion Sect from turning his father into a god.

Jonothon de Vere knows survival isn’t a guarantee, but he’s desperate to keep Patrick safe, even as hope slips through his fingers. With the future unknown, Jono will follow Patrick wherever he goes, even to Salem, where a family reunion reveals a bitter secret that was never going to stay buried.

With New York City under control of their god pack, Patrick and Jono must fall back on every alliance they’ve brokered to fill the front lines of a war coming directly to the city streets. The veil is always thinnest on Samhain, and what awaits them on the other side is the stuff of nightmares. For when it tears, all hell will break loose, and the gods will be summoned to face a reckoning the world isn’t ready for.



The stakes have never been higher, failure has never been so deadly, and the Fates have never been kind to heroes. Patrick knows that better than anyone–because everything has a price, every debt always comes due, and it’s finally time for Patrick to pay his. 

How was it?

I dreaded the final installment of the Soulbound series. As much as I wanted to read it, the idea that it’s the last one did not sit well with me. But Hailey Turner managed to get me to a place – after playing way too much with my emotions – where the possibility of not having another book or spin-off, which I still want, might be ok. It might be the denial talking.

Soulbound VII put me through a vast array of emotions from start to finish, there were many gut punches, surprises, and thrills throughout. Some of these emotional gut punches hit harder than I would have expected, this book has more surprises than the seventh book of a series that I’ve re-read several times should have. The action in this last entry is also astounding and very cinematic. The mythology and lore is here in full forces, and once again they are very well used, the avengers have assembled and they’re kicking ass. But as thrilling as the book is, there’s a healthy amount of fear that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The series as a whole is well-crafted, the details that went into it is inspiring. Not only the use of myths and lores from around the world is impressive but the growth of the characters from installment to installment is also amazing.

As for the audiobook, Garry Furlong once again does an amazing job but I couldn’t enjoy it as much, because it’s harder for me now to pretend the story hasn’t ended. For some reason there’s a finality in his performance throughout that I don’t like to hear. I want at least a spin-off, another story set in this world. At this point I’d settle for one that doesn’t even have to feature any of the characters in Soulbound. Anyway I guess now that my collection is complete, I have all the ebooks and audiobooks, and I’ll try to refrain on getting the physical copies until I can get them signed.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Soulbound VII is available on Amazon, Audible, and Kindle Unlimited.

Previous book in the series

One Of Us Is Lying | Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. 

Buy links:

How was it?

I’ve had this book, and its sequel, since they came out with the intention of reading them at some point. However I was rushed to get to it when I found out that the television adaptation was days away from premiering. I don’t know how I didn’t catch that but the fact is that the book shot to the top of my TBR. I dove in hoping that I didn’t waste my money in 2017 because I bought this book and then its sequel without having read a review, or due to a friend’s recommendation. The title and the sense that there was a crime that had been committed were the deciding factors. And I’m glad to say that it was money well spent.

The story has clear nods to The Breakfast Club (1985) and Gossip Girl but it’s a full on crime mystery novel, and as mystery novels go this one is pretty good, despite being somewhat predictable. I can’t say that I figured out who did it because I didn’t, not until it was close to be revealed. Maybe that’s due to me rushing to read it, or I’m not as smart as I think I am. However at some point, maybe almost halfway through, it became clear to me who didn’t do it. I was so sure about the innocents that if it had turned out to be any of them, I would called bullsh!t. I still had one suspect for a long time, because I saw their secret coming from a mile away, I think I figured it out when they were first introduced. I suspected them for one reason, because I expected the author to choose that character to be the vilain and I would have criticized the heck out of this book if that was the case.

So if the book is kind of predictable, what makes it worth while? The characters. They are grounded and relatable, even the one whose ramblings annoyed me to no end at the beginning because by the end that character’s growth was astounding. They’re all like that by the way, a representation of their stereotypes at first but as we go along they quickly become more fleshed out and well rounded. They became more interesting than the mystery itself. At many points I was more entertain by the effect the tragedy had on them and their lives than figuring out who was behind it.

I’m not going to say much more about this book because it’s better to go in with the least information possible but I’m open to discuss spoilers in the comments. I also can’t wait to see how the show will turn out because there are some sensitive subjects in this book that I’d like to see how they’re tackling them for the screen.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

One of Us Is Lying is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

The sequel

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

The Taking of Jake Livingston | Ryan Douglass

Published 13 July 2021

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Buy links:


How was it?

I meant to read a couple of chapters to decide if I was starting this book or another but just a few paragraphs in I was pulled in. This book has a solid plot but it’s emotionally charged and can be quite heavy. Yes there are gruesome murders in it that makes it spooky, but it’s the way it depicts these little cuts that hurt more in the long run that I gravitated toward.

This book dives into trauma and micro agressions but does it in a clever way. Because it’s not just Jake, the black queer kid, that is the target of this kind of death by a thousand cuts, Sawyer, our now powerful and vengeful ghost, was also a target. Both in their own way are somewhat victims of circumstances. In Sawyer’s case it’s not used as an excuse for what he did but showcases what lead him to it. As for Jake the author does a great job at telling what it’s like to surfer race based micro agressions on top of being gay in an unwelcoming environment.

The story is dark and has a lot of paranormal elements in it but it depicts the bullying, violence, and abuse well. I also enjoyed how the story showcased how some parents are more concerned about how bad a child with mental health problems make them look rather than helping the child get better. It’s a hard situating to see, it’s disgusting but feels all too real. In facts, the quotes “She checked on me at  heptfill only to harass my crisis counselor about when I could leave. Threw a fit when Tom said I’d have to decide that For myself.”, or “The trouble with my mother is that she’s too busy pretending problems don’t exist to ever really fixed them.” really got to me.

All the heavy stuff aside the story is visually interesting and I could see a live action version of this. The budding romance was also nice; I could see myself checking out another story about this black queer teen who sees dead people.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Taking of Jake Livingstone is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Ashfall Legacy | Pittacus Lore

Pittacus Lore finished telling the story of the Lorien Nine. Now, he’s back to recount an all-new adventure rooted in the real mysteries surrounding Roswell, New Mexico, that will enthrall fans of Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, and Brandon Sanderson.

We have waited generations for you…

Syd Chambers knows that there’s life on other planets because he’s descended from it. His father was from a distant world called Denza, and has been missing—presumed dead—for years.

When Syd discovers a device his father left behind that shows not only that he’s alive, but where he is, Syd must set out on a mission of his own. But along the way, he discovers a deadly, unbearable secret that could destroy Denza, Earth, and the universe. 

Buy links:

How was it?

I don’t know if I’m the only one who noticed this but when this book was announced, it was marketed as a spin-off or continuation of the Lorien Legacies. I read all of the Lorien books and really enjoyed them, so I very much expected this book to be linked to the previous series by Pittacus Lore, but it’s not, not really.

By the end of part one, I felt betrayed, like I had been duped. There was no way this book is related to the Lorien Legacies and there was a shroud over this book that had some effect on my enjoyment. However, *minor spoiler/* There’s a blink and you miss it mention of Mogadorians, well more like a suggestion of them, just enough of a description for fan to make that assumption. 😒 *\minor spoiler*

Beside that the story was interesting enough for me to go through it with ease, but I wasn’t very engrossed. In other words it was good enough to keep reading but just as easy to put down. This could have been a book that I’d forget to pick back up if another book had caught my eyes at the time.

The premise is a mash-up of many intellectual properties, you can tell where the inspiration was pulled from. There’s a bit of star wars, a kind of reverse superman – with no heat vision or flight so far, and a famous mythology mixed in toward the end. The mix kind of works for me but the execution is choppy.

However there are clever bits, like in the beginning when my expectations were subverted, or the thing that makes the lost people venerable – it’s a great commentary on that particular race. The characters are almost great but for some of them I barely remembered what they were, between the half-human half-alien ones, and humans born on Denza I got my wired crossed.  As for the different species of aliens featured here they were cool and interesting looking.

Ashfall Legacy is a nice set up for a series that has some potential, the world building and the reveals makes the bulk of what’s interesting about it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Ashfall Legacy is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Foundation | Isaac Asimov

Foundation (Foundation #1) by Isaac Asimov first published 1951

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun — or fight them and be destroyed. 

Buy links:

How was it?

If you read this book, it might not be immediately apparent that it was first published in the 1950s. 70 years ago! that little fact blows my mind because except maybe for two things, one of which is the style the story is told, this book could have been written in recent years.

There are many interesting elements in this book, it’s a great story, clearly a space opera but the things that I gravitated toward are the political maneuverings, the clever back and forth between characters, and the use of religion as a tool of mass control. However the monotone way the story is written comes through the page even when you’re not using the audiobook. It’s kind of dry, like reading from a dictionary for the most parts. The characters have names and job titles but little else besides that, they are not very memorable. The most engaging aspect of the story are the themes and concepts that it’s about (Politics, religion, psychohistory, etc.). You pretty much have to read between the lines to draw something out of it.

It’s a broad, imaginative, and innovative book that must have blown people’s minds – and angered some others – in the 50s as I’m sure it still does today. Like Dune, which was published almost 15 years later, Foundation has lot of social and political commentary in it. In fact, the most obvious one is the creation and use of a religion as a mean to control people. This might anger some religious people but the dry tone of the book helps in presenting that idea as a possible powerful tool for control of the masses without really depicting religion itself as a complete fraud but kind of.

As mentioned earlier the other thing that might date this book in the 1950s – maybe it’s my prejudice of the era – but it’s a bit of a sausage fest. I only realized it when a lone female character appeared out of nowhere toward the end and she does nothing for the plot. Not saying that Asimov was misogynistic but it was startling once I realized it.

Foundation is far more interesting than the way it’s written would suggest, it’s one of these books that are worth trudging through for the ideas alone.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Foundation is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans