The Veiled War (The Viper and the Urchin, #8) by Celine Jeanjean – Review

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About The Veiled War by Celine Jeanjean

Adelma is out of action
The Varanguards are suspended
And Longinus is going on a blind date
Things are taking a turn for the disturbing in Damsport.

Rory and Longinus have their hands full. Adelma is in a bad way, and it will take a lot of work to bring her back to herself.

On top of which, Longinus has to prepare for a blind date. The premium matchmaking service he joined assures him that she’s his soulmate. The pressure in selecting the right outfit is, therefore, immense.

Distracted and occupied, it takes Rory and Longinus a while to realise that a number of worrying changes are slowly happening in Damsport. On top of which the Marchioness refuses to see anyone, and Lady Martha is nowhere to be found.

What is happening in the Mansion? And who or what is behind the odd changes taking place in the city?

Rory and Longinus are about to face some challenging times—and not just because Longinus is determined to make avocado shirts the next hot fashion item.

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Review of The Veiled War

The Veiled War is the penultimate book in the Viper and the Urchin series.  Penultimate is such a big word.  And fitting because The Veiled War is a big part of the story.

While Viper Longinus and Urchin Rory are the characters that hold the series together, this is really an ensemble story.  Adelma, Cruikshank, Rafe and even the kids, Pip, Alice and Tommy all have critical roles in The Veiled War.

The title refers to the subtle, underhanded way that Damsport’s enemies are attacking the country.   But the veil will be lifted in a blatant and horrible way when the children of the Rookery are rounded up for ‘education’.

I am drawn to this series because of the wonderful characters. Adelma would lend her strength to any of her friends in a heartbeat, whether she is sober or not.  Cruikshank is the conscience of the group, which has her ruefully regretting her invention of the certain weapons.  Pip, Alice and Tommy, using their street smarts, do their best to ‘educate’ the people that rounded them up.

Longinus has an unequaled sense of fashion and can make anything look fabulous. And in this story, Longinus is looking for love (in all the wrong places).

Then there is Rafe.  In The Shadow Palace, we saw a darker side of Rafe, and in this book, that less that perfect side returns.  I didn’t like Rafe in this book.  Rafe’s one redeeming quality is that he makes Rory see the best in herself.  In my eyes, Rafe has a long way to go to become a hero.

Rory has always been a heroine.  Whether it is her astute observations, her connections, or her unwavering support for her friends, Rory is the shining light in these stories.  I loved the scene where she takes Rafe to task and then, later, does the same to someone else on behalf of Rafe.

There is definitely a cliffhanger ending in The Veiled War.  The final book in the series, The Rising Rooks, is due to be released in early January.  I have no doubt I will be as eager to read that book as I will be sad to see the series end.

Thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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Radical (Clandestine Magic, #2) by Colleen Cowley – Review

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About Radical by Colleen Cowley

Women have no ability to cast spells. That’s what wizards have said for generations—and it’s a lie.

In this second book of the Clandestine Magic trilogy, Beatrix Harper wants to expose the lie to protect her sister’s life. Her desperate plan: Train tens of thousands of women in secret, then shock the nation with a display of their magic. She thinks it will work—if only she can keep the details from her town’s wizard, Peter Blackwell.

But that’s nearly impossible thanks to their unwanted magical connection. Peter, meanwhile, fears that his own desperate goal—to counter the terrible weapon he should never have invented—is doomed to fail.

Their plans are about to collide. Disastrously.

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Review of Radical

Radical is the continuation of the story that began in Subversive.  In a world governed by male magicians, Beatrix wants to help her sister Lydia in her campaign for women’s rights.  In order to do this, Beatrix and her friend Ella attempt to do something no one ever thought would be possible.  Train women do to do magic.

Beatrix’s actions must be under the radar.  Lydia cannot know.  And, more importantly, Peter Blackwell, the town wizard cannot know.  The first is a challenge.  The second is nearly impossible.  Beatrix and Peter are magically connected.

In the meantime, Lydia is being spied up, the town is trying to get the wizard married, Beatrix and Peter struggle with their connection, and nobody can trust anybody.  Oh yes, there is another wizard that loves Beatrix and will do anything to get her.

While I am really enjoying this alternate history adventure, I felt book 2 dragged just a little.  The relationship between Peter and Beatrix seemed to go nowhere.  Lydia’s progress on advancing her cause stalled.  Add the fact that Beatrix was always worried about something, and I found that I just didn’t enjoy this one as much as book 1.  I will say that I was happy with the events that happened at the end of the book, so if you have started the series and enjoyed book 1, Radical is definitely worth reading.  Book 3, Revolutionary, was recently released, so binging the series is now in order.

Many thanks to the author provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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Shadows of the Heart (The Fae Files, #2) by Cecilia Dominic – Review

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About Shadows of the Heart by Cecilia Dominic

She has one “simple” task to complete to earn her way back home. Too bad the monster she needs to capture is hunting her, too.

Nobody said Fae life was easy…

Reine has one minor loose end to tie up before she’ll be allowed to return to Faerie — an invisible soul-eating creature is on the loose at a major fantasy convention, and the hotel manager doesn’t believe in the paranormal.

As if living in a horror movie isn’t bad enough, Reine’s brother Rhys and the gargoyle she’s becoming too attracted to have some sort of history between them.

Instead of a “loose end,” Reine is dealing with the unraveling of her life. Can she embrace a side of herself she’s afraid to acknowledge and defeat the soul-eater in time to meet the conditions of her bargain to return to Faerie? Or will her life – as well as those of the convention-goers – be sacrificed for greed, ambition, and a good performance review?

Or worst of all, will love tempt her to stay on Earth?

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Review of Shadows of the Heart

Shadows of the Heart is a continuation of the story of Reine’s journey to get back to her home.  Even though the Fae has lived in the human world for several centuries, she considers the Fae world to be her home.  Her mother has given her a quest.  Complete the quest and you can return home.

Does anybody have a problem with this?  We all know the Fae are not known for their forthrightness.  We are into book 2 and still, there is no homecoming in sight.

As of the end of the first book, The Shadow Project, Reine seemed not to embrace the Fae persona, perhaps due to the influence of her life among humans.  However, in Shadows of the Heart, Reine takes up her Fae personality a little more, thinking it will help her get what she wants.  Reine waffles between her Fae and human-like personalities.  She will need to figure out which is a more potent weapon against her adversary, the soul-eater.

This book also continues the romance between Reine and the gargoyle Lawrence.  Lawrence’s viewpoint has been added to the saga, with alternating perspective changes between chapters.  I appreciated getting a different viewpoint.  Having said that, I’m not feeling that Reine and Lawrence are meant for each other.  There is such a lack of trust.  I hope, eventually, I will be proved wrong.

Reine’s Fae brother is also a big player in this story.  Pick two words out of that last sentence.  “Fae” and “player”.  Rhys is a thorn in Reine’s side in more ways than one.   You can’t pick family.  By the end of the story, I still don’t know what to make of him.  I just hope Rhys does not break Reine’s heart.

Shadows of the Heart relies heavily on the reader having read The Shadow Project.  Attempts to bring the reader up to date lack details and therefore seem disjointed.  However, knowing everything that happened in book 1 is not critical to understanding events in book 2, so it is okay to jump into the series with Shadows of the Heart.  The third book, The Shadowed Path is anticipated in early 2021 and I will be ready to see how Reine’s mission progresses.

Thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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