The Untold Tale, The Accidental Turn Series: Book 1, J.M. Frey
Genre: LGBTQIA, Sci-fi and Fantasy
Sometimes a book comes along that transcends age criteria, and for me this is one. On the face of it its very much a YA type read with sex thrown in, but get into it and there’s so much more to it.
Its like there’s two stories, the top one where Pip gets pulled into Forsyth’s world, and then the underlying one where the flaws in conventional fantasy are pointed out, how Pip’s Quest can be worked out via a mock-up Excel, using formulas from classic fantasy reads. Where we see the “hero” is often just a misogynistic characters, where females are deemed as “girls” and sent off to cook and clean…and its all accepted because “its fiction”.
I have to say until I read this book much of that had escaped me, but I found myself looking back at other reads (especially those by male authors!!) and nodding my head, working out how they fit into this criteria Pip has worked out. Even Watership Down, a book I loved, had the males rabbits doing all the exiting bits, danger and rescues while the few does were there for nest building and breeding 😦 and at the time that totally escaped me…
The actual story is fabulous, full of surprises, full of mysteries and some wonderful secondary characters, from the Viceroy and his evil henchman Bootknife, to Mother Mouth, the silver Sheriff Pointe, Forsyth’s brother Kintyre Turn and his loyal knight Bevel, and of course Forsyth and Pip.
It takes a short while to work out what’s going on, and how and where Pip has sprung from, and I did find the way she was so accepting of it was hard to take – but she was living it, and unlike the reader who’s just begun the story Pip has had some weeks, possibly months, with which to accept where she is.
As well as the light and fun stuff there’s some really dark times, Pip’s experiences with Bootknife and the Viceroy, and that and the underlying themes bring this into much more than a light fantasy read.
I loved Forsyth, so intelligent, so commanding in his secret role as the King’s Shadow Hand, and yet to everyone else he’s bumbling, stuttering, good-natured, book-loving Forsyth – well, that’s how he sees himself. He doesn’t see what the locals do, the intelligent and kind man, the visionary who started schools for the children, who arranged a proper jail and protection for his people, the man who’s looked up to by the villagers and much respected. He just compares himself all the while to his swaggering, bullying, adventuring knight brother Kintyre. The man who joined his father in ridiculing Forsyth from when he was a young child, and who swanned off to go adventuring, leaving Forsyth to take up what should have been Kintyre’s role looking after Turn House, and the area and its inhabitants.
When Pip drops into his life Forsyth is instantly attracted by her mind, by her intelligence, but immediately thinks she’s meant for his brother, as the eldest its traditionally Kintyre’s Right to her. Pip had a few words to say about that 🙂 and loud and often, when she sees more sexism in action.
Its a quandary too – can she blame people for acting as they’ve been brought up? Is it right to assume this role of superiority she has, thinking she’s come from the “better” society without knowing more about this world? She shows a different way when she talks about Kintyre and they way he wades in with his sword (Foesmiter!!), rather than asking questions first and looking for another way to solve an issue. She makes us look closer and we see that what he does and gets applauded for, often leads to unfairness and more issues later.
I love the way its explained, loved the idea ( and was a little scared by it too) of what may lie beyond an authors words. I love the way she describes her world to Forsyth as having been created too, with the Bible being the book we’ve sprung from, God as the Writer.
Its a fabulous read, pure escapism, lots of dramas and some heart-breaking incidents that stop it being just some jolly Boys Own Adventures jaunt, and turn it into a gripping read that’s full of depth. It has lots of content that made me stop and think, about my reactions, about the characters reactions, and overall wondering just how on earth they were going to come out of this story without someone’s heart breaking.
Stars: Five, a fabulous escape that made me think and question what’s written and accepted so often in Fantasy, and yet wasn’t a hectoring tome but a story that let me get lost in another world. A perfect ending too.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher
Never Too Late (Appleby Series Book 1) Alyssia Leon
Genre: Romance, General Fiction (Adult)
I loved the start, where poor Molly expects her boyfriend to return home and he brings with him his new fiancée….I thought after that it would be a book full of fireworks , with the new fiancée being one of those love-to-hate ladies, and lots of b itchy interludes but…it wasn’t 😦
I did like Molly, but at times I wanted to shake her, tell her to get mad, she’s such a Nice girl, doesn’t want to upset anyone. Still, that’s the kind of person she was.
Her ex, Brian, was a real sleaze and it made me wonder what on earth she’d ever seen in him.
Then there’s Jake, and he was in insta-lust when he saw Molly. I got that attraction, and hers to him, very in the physical, but for me it never really felt more than that. I didn’t feel the actual romance, that they were more in love than just sensually attracted.
There’s some great secondary characters here, the current owner of Barrowdene Francine, Molly’s boss Martin and his awful wife, her Nan, a wonderful lady, and Nate the gardener cum caretaker.
Nate and I are in agreement about goats “ Barbed wire’s too good for them Satan spawns”. Dad used to keep goats, they’d eat and and everything they shouldn’t, and turn there nose up at goat food, and were like four legged Houdini’s. I was always haven’t to chase down the road after one escapee goat, trailing a stake and 12 ft chain. As for goats milk…the smell nauseates me still.
There were some oddities that spoiled the story for me, didn’t feel genuine, the speed at which Barrowdene was transformed, the way the Molly has self taught herself about old properties from magazines, and was then able to suggest and oversee all the renovations, and get more work in that field, all while holding down her job for Martin AND helping her nan look after the house. Superwoman!
On the subject of the house, how on earth did this elderly lady with a duff leg manage to keep everything looking good with only the aid of Nate for outdoors, and a couple of giggling girls for inside? A house and grounds that size would take a team of full time staff I’d have though.
Overall its a fun story, cutesy romance with a little spice but nothing really exiting, no dark dramas or secrets, just a few little things soon over. Sweet-n-light, easy read.
Stars: Three, a sweet romance, but not an emotional or exciting one for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher
Wolf in League, A.F. Henley
Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA
I jumped in to this series having only read samples of books one and two, but that gave me enough info to follow this story and get engrossed in it. At some point I’d like to read those first two books, its always a balance of time and money. 🙂 They never seem to come both at the same time!
So I met Matthew and Gavin, posing as husbands in the home next to the O’Connell family. The Committee are worried as they’ve not heard from them.
Here of course I had to read between the lines as to what part the Committee played, as that was covered in earlier reads.
Matthew is new to the whole supernatural world, a bit scared of Gavin even as he’s attracted to him, and desperate to know more about the wolves. A few weeks back he knew nothing, was a simple research doctor and now he’s had his eyes opened he’s got the research devotee’s enthusiasm for all things new, for information about how and why, and if he’s not careful its going to lead him into danger.
Gavin is trying to keep him reined in and safe, but they don’t know each other, and while Matthew comes over as full of enthusiasm for Wolves he’s not so keen on Vampires, and doesn’t trust Gavin.
Gavin reacts by being a bit sneering, mixed in with doing things deliberately to scare Matthew. Despite that they soon embark on some steamy encounters – why not, says Gavin, they both want each other, want the sex and what’s stopping them? And they are seriously hot together.
When things go a bit further,and we meet the wolves it doesn’t quite go as planned, and soon he and Gavin are in real danger, things aren’t as they’d thought, information comes out that shocks Matthew even further, and an old adversary comes forward.
Its difficult to know who to trust, to know what’s really going on, why they are really placed to contact the O’Connells, and Matthew finds there’s much more going on that he realised, with everyone seeming to hold secrets. He’s got a crash course in the supernatural along with some tough decisions to make.
I really enjoyed this, its a good mix of characters, reasons, ideas and the reality that if this could happen, then things may well play out as in this novel. That makes a good read for me, that sense of possible reality, and I think if I’d read books one and two this would be a five star read.
I maybe missed some of the more subtle issues, didn’t fully understand how deep corruption could go, which part each character played and what it could lead to.
They are definaely on my want-to-read list and I look forward to the next book.
Stars: Four, a great fun read, with a great mix of characters and suspense.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher