Unlike the cheesy Young Adult novels that revolve around a love triangle, Conspiracy of Angels starts off with a bang. The main character, Zack Westland, wakes up on the shores of Lake Erie with amnesia. As the story progresses, he discovers that he’s part of a tribe of angels and it is up to him to stop another war between the clans from starting.
Although all of this sounds very cliché, Belanger makes it work. She deftly avoids stereotypes and peppers her novel with characters that will keep you glued to the pages. For example, Zack Westland is more concerned about discovering his past and trying to decipher his psychic experiences than falling in love. There’s also a fascinating twist about how immortal angels are able to inhabit human bodies while retaining their ability for living eternally.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, November 23rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies offers a new side to Thomas Cromwell, who is often made out to be the villain in previous Tudor dramas. Most Tudors fans, especially if they are on Team Anne Boleyn, absolutely loathe Thomas Cromwell, mainly because he helped King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour’s faction to legally murder the king’s second wife. However, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies gives a new look at King Henry VIII’s infamous councilor and offers another take on the ambitious politician.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, April 6th, 2015||No Comments »|
Alix Hawley’s historical fiction novel All True Not a Lie in It recounts Daniel Boone’s life, but instead of presenting the pioneer as a macho “manly man,” her Boone is complex, sensitive, and adventurous. She recounts his life, starting from growing up in a Quaker colony, to being captured by a Native American tribe. There’s a tender love story between Boone and his wife Rebecca and a devastating plot twist that involves Boone’s children.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, April 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
In Janina Matthewson’s novel Of Things Gone Astray, her characters—and the readers—learn what is truly important in life. Thanks to a dash of magic, some of Matthewson’s characters all wake up and realize they’ve lost something, whether it is their sense of direction, their work place, or their piano keys. Meanwhile, a young boy named Jake finds himself oddly attracted to the things that people have lost, although he’s oblivious to the fact that what matters most to him is slipping away.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, March 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice or Fifty Shades, we all have our literary guilty pleasures. Mine is urban-fantasy romances, and if you need a reason to stay in this Friday night, then Patricia Briggs is a must. Dead Heat is the fourth installment of the Alpha and Omega series and fuses the awesome combination of headstrong female protagonist and a sneaky girlhood love of horses.
Unlike with Briggs’ flagship Mercy Thompson series, the main couple of Dead Heat are both werewolves, meaning the drama is often driven by subtler, more human relationship issues like with independence and deciding to have children rather than contrived misunderstandings. Dead Heat has a good balance between werewolf ripping action and police-procedural, which makes the mystery involving a child kidnapper who makes his victims into magically enthralled dolls a fast read, interspersed with fun, romantic interludes between main characters Charles and Anna.
Briggs presents an interesting world where werewolves and faeries are technically out to the public but still embroiled in very dangerous secrets, and it’s definitely worth exploring further.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Friday, March 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
Hazel Gaynor’s historical fiction novel A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers revolves around a young woman named Tilly who becomes the assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. While there, she discovers the journal of a girl named Florrie, who died from a broken heart after being separated from her sister Rosie. Touched by the girl’s story, Tilly embarks on a journey to figure out what happened to Rosie. Gaynor makes sure to alternate the chapters from Tilly and Florrie’s perspective, so that readers can share in the latter’s pain and misfortune once she’s separated from her sister. It also allows you to become engrossed in Florrie’s story alongside the main character as well.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, March 16th, 2015||No Comments »|
This might be a throwback but the idea of a gentleman thief, a man who is only permitted in aristocratic circles for his talent as a sportsman, stealing from the rich gentry in order to right the wrong of unfair wealth distribution is charmingly relevant. Apart from being a Victorian update of Robin Hood, Raffles is also part homage and part inversion of the famous Sherlock Holmes. He’s an unapologetic criminal, an anti-hero with “Bunny” Manders playing his biographer. The similarities make sense given that E.W. Hornung was Arthur Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Thursday, March 12th, 2015||No Comments »|