Mages & Mechanisms by Devin Harnois

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Mages & Mechanisms was written by Devin Harnois. This is a m/m romance novel set in a steampunk fantasy world. I picked up this book on Kindle Unlimited after seeing a few recommendations for it on Facebook.

Leander is a gifted craftsman, but business has not been very prosperous lately. He decides to hire a mage to bring his mechanical creations to life, and as soon as Jak arrives at the shop, it’s clear that there’s no one better suited for the job. Jak is quite different from anyone Leander has ever met before, and their odd partnership yields spectacular results. Their creations catch the eye of a wealthy aristocrat who offers a large lifechanging amount of money to build a mechanical dragon. They work so well together, but this would be their most ambitious project to date. And as if that weren’t challenging enough, Leander and Jak are finding it increasingly difficult to deny the attraction building between them. Read more

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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster is a middle grade historical fiction novel by Jonathan Auxier. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed some of Auxier’s other books, and I thought it would be a good fit for my three girls who are in the fourth and sixth grades.

Nan Sparrow works as a chimney sweep in Victorian London. It’s a miserable existence, with no end in sight, but that changes when she meets Charlie, a gentle creature who befriends her. Nan has never really had a friend, and she is fiercely protective of Charlie. She understands that he would never hurt anyone, but is there a place in the harsh world for a monster? Read more

Rule by Ellen Goodlett

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Rule is the first book in a planned young adult fantast duology by Ellen Goodlett. I enjoy YA, but I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy. However, when the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book popped up on Netgalley, my interest was piqued.

Rule has all the hallmarks of books from the genre: lush fantasy world, chosen ones, political intrigue, and magic. The TL;DR here is that the sudden death (read: murder) of the heir apparent has made king realize his own impending mortality and the need to secure the future of his line. He has three of his illegitimate children tracked down and brought to the palace. Three girls are around the same age, but they come from vastly different parts of the kingdom. He must have been completing some sort of scorecard or something, extra points for different zones. Anyway, the girls aren’t quite sure what to make of their new circumstances, and they are each harboring a Big Secret- and it appears as though someone else knows about their secrets too. Can they trust each other? Is the fate of the kingdom at stake? Read more

Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Necropolis is the fourth book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. I know I say this in every W&G review, but it’s hard to describe the series. There’s action and adventure, magic and mystery, and m/m romance. All of this is set against a Victorian American background.

This book takes Whyborne and Griffin to Egypt to help their friend Christine, who they believe is in grave danger (pardon the pun). As they assist her at the excavation site, it’s clear that there’s something otherworldly afoot. Once again, Whyborne and Griffin must intercede, lest the threat wreak havoc upon humanity. Read more

Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Stormhaven is the third book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. It’s hard to condense the series into a few descriptors; the books are action/adventure/mystery with some m/m romance, all in an alternate Victorian American setting. I was excited about reading this book because I devoured the first two, and I needed to know what was going to happen next.

Whyborne and Griffin have returned to Widdershins after their ordeal in Threshold, and they are hoping to return to a sense of normalcy after the chaos of the first two books, but alas, this is not meant to be. Whyborne’s coworker Allan is found on the street covered in blood, claiming not to remember anything. Allan is accused of murdering his uncle, but Whyborne harbors suspicions and does not think Allan would be capable of such a heinous crime.

Whyborne and Griffin’s investigation takes them to the Stormhaven Asylum where Allan is being held. Something is definitely “off”; after two previous experiences in dealing with the paranormal, our dynamic duo can sense the hallmarks of anything otherworldly. But is this threat too big for them to handle? Read more

Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Threshold is the second book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. I read this book almost as soon as I finished reading Widdershins, the first book in the series. If I could condense this series into a brief description, I would call it an action adventure supernatural mystery with m/m romance and elements of magic, all set in Victorian-era America.

Whyborne and Griffin have survived the events at the end of Widdershins, and just when they think that their lives are returning to normal, Whyborne’s father summons them to the family manse. There’s something odd happening at one of the family mines, and Mr. Whyborne wants Griffin to investigate. So, along with their friend Dr. Christine Putnam, out delightful duo hop on a train and head south to the town of Threshold. Read more

Widdershins (Whyborne&Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Widdershins is the first book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. I’d heard quite a bit of buzz about this series in one of my reading groups. I took the plunge, and I have absolutely no regrets about this decision.

Percival Endicott Whyborne spends his days working in a museum as a comparative philologist, and he is perfectly content with his solitary life. When private detective Griffin Flaherty believes that an ancient book may be the key to his case, Whyborne offers to help with translation. Before he knows it, the shy and withdrawn Whyborne is thrown into the middle of something that defies explanation. Something truly terrifying is afoot, and Whyborne and Griffin must team up if they are going to defeat the evil that has been unleashed. As Whyborne spends more time with Griffin, he finds it more and more difficult to suppress his feelings. He thinks it impossible that Griffin could ever return those feelings. But after seeing some of the things that he has seen, Whyborne should know that anything is possible. Read more

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a young adult novel written by Kelly Jones. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because it is set in the Regency era, one of my absolute favorite historical periods.

Annis Whitworth is a young woman whose life is thrown into upheaval by her father’s death. She did not know her father very well because he was often traveling, and his sudden death prompts many questions about his occupation. This event also seems to serve as the catalyst for Annis learning that she can sew “glamours” that transform garments and the person wearing them. Read more

The Dollmaker of Krakow

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The Dollmaker of Krakow is a middle grade novel written by R.M. Romero. My three girls are in the middle grade range, and so I always end up reading the children’s fiction I receive with them because their feedback is invaluable.

Karolina lived quite happily in the Land of the Dolls until the rats invaded. Her peaceful existence was shattered as the rats began a reign of terror. When things are looking their bleakest, Karolina awakens in a toy shop in the city of Krakow. She meets Mr. Brzezick, the Dollmaker who brought her to life. At first, the Dollmaker is shocked that Karolina can speak to him, but he quickly accepts the magic for what it is. Read more

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Crooked Sixpence is the first book in Jennifer Bell’s The Uncommoners series of middle grade books.

Ivy and her brother Seb are the only other ones in the house when their beloved Granma Sylvie is rushed to the hospital; their parents travel for work, and it is up to them to answer questions are ensure that she is taken care of. As if that were not daunting enough for two children, little do they realize that the hospitalization serves as the catalyst for a series of mysterious events. Read more