The Paper Magician, Charlie N. Holmberg
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
One of the things about reading a debut book is that it’s a leap into the unknown, you’ve no idea of the writing style of the author. I love books about magic though, and this sounded such fun I couldn’t resist it. I’m really glad I did as it’s a fabulous, magical read.
Its classed as Teens and YA, but it’s one of those that really has enough appeal, and is written strongly enough to appeal to all ages. Its not a dumbed down language type of novel either – so many YA reads are potentially interesting to older readers but I find the language so simplistic and bland that I switch off. Not here, I was interested right from the first page.
Ceony is a great character, she’s done magical school on a scholarship and now is apprenticed to Mg Thane as a Folder, a magician that works in paper. She really wanted to work with metals, as a Smelter but there’s a huge shortage of Folders with only 12 remaining, so she accepts her fate though inside she’s still a little chagrined, paper seems so boring. Its not though, and soon she’s learning how to create animated creatures and bring story books to life. Everything is going well and then…along comes someone from Mg Thane’s past and disaster strikes. Ceony by now is halfway in love with Emory Thane, and can’t just sit back and let him die, but uses what she’s learned to try to save him.
That takes us on a magical ( literally and mentally ) journey, where we learn about some of both Ceony’s and Emory’s history though I’m sure we’ve still lots more to learn. At first, when Ceony was – how can I put it without spoilers – when she’s on a special journey, I thought it was a bit dull but then it took me on a ride though Emory’s memories, and the things she saw and learned were fascinating.
I’ve always had a secret admiration of magic and wished it was real. I recall age 4 when I asked dad for a magic wand for Christmas, entranced by the things Sooty ( a UK childrens TV prog hand puppet ) did with his. Dad said they were very expensive and he’d not be able to afford anything for everyone else – my reply was I could just magic it…didn’t get one though! There’s still a part of me that has a hankering for it to be real, and the way its created here, by use of spells alongside physical substances is so entrancing – I just fell right into the world alongside Ceony, and that’s what I really want in a story, to be taken away from the real world into an imaginary one. There are two more books to come, and I’m looking forward to where the story goes next. Its not a cliff-hanger, in fact you could read this as a standalone, but I think once into it like me you’ll want more.
Stars: Five, fabulous read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
Cold Spring, Bernadette Walsh
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I loved Bernadette’s Devlin series so was eager to read this novel, even though its not paranormal. Its a sad story, full of secrets, lots of emotion that made me a bit tearful at times – and I do like that. I want a story that can move me, characters that feel real, a puzzle I need to work out and this novel delivered all of those.
Poor Maura, we only get to see what happened to her from the past in small dribbles, little flashbacks to her fifteen year old self, and its only in the last quarter all gets revealed. What a sad story, and I really felt for her. She wasn’t able to let go of the past, seeming to drift through life, head down, not letting herself feel pleasure or get involved with anyone. She’s so scared of the press raking things up again. Even though she was just a child her family seemed to hold her to blame for everything, and still blamed her for the effects of the drama on them. It would be good to think all families support their children, but only her aunt and uncle were supportive, her parents and sisters seemed to just want her hidden away out of sight. Now the 20 year anniversary of the scandal is coming up and the press are sniffing round once again, her mum is dying and the bulk of the care falls on her, and her recent patient seems to want more from her than just being his nurse. Scott is attractive and one of those men who want their own way, and he wants Maura. They soon slide into a torrid romance, and with the press sniffing round her family are terrified she’ll bring down more scandal. They seem to care more about that than Maura’s happiness.
Its a sad novel, and shows what happens when money and prestige are involved in scandal. Deepest pockets win usually. Maura is made a scapegoat and yet she’s just a child, that doesn’t seem to matter though for those out for her blood, and some have long memories and long term plans. Its a very bittersweet novel at times, and although the clues are there I didn’t see what was in the big reveal til it happened. Once the secrets are out it moves quite fast, and we do get a HEA – I want those, I hate a romance that isn’t, where things happen and everything falls apart and stays that way. Here we get all the drama and sadness but some happy times too – that’s what I need.
Stars: Five, a great emotional read.
ARC supplied by author