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A RESTLESS TRUTH by Freya Marske

Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She’d hoped for plenty of it when she agreed to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy. She even volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner. But Maud didn’t expect the old lady to turn up dead on the very first day of the voyage.

Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham. Violet is everything Maud has been trained to distrust, yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress and a magnet for scandal.

Surrounded by open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must learn to drop the masks they’ve learned to wear. Only then might they work together to locate a magical object worth killing for – and unmask a murderer. All without becoming dead in the water themselves.


Title : A Restless Truth
Author : Freya Marske
Narrator : Aysha Kala
Series : The Last Binding #2
Format : Audio
Duration : 288
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : November 10, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
Agatha Christie vibes with magic
Whodunnit
Maud meets her match

A Restless Truth served an immediate feel of an Agatha Christie voyage across the Atlantic complete with whodunnit. The additional queer coupling with the magic we knew from A Marvellous Light made this immediately interesting.

Maud’s meeting with Violet had her considering a queer relationship when she hadn’t had any kind of awakening before. The was a rather hilarious storyline containing some ‘corn’ography that hastened Maud’s self awareness. Violet was a tough shell to crack and it took me a quite a long time in the book to warm to her, but I did eventually.

The grander plot carried on the storyline from book one and so I felt some similarities in that. I didn’t love the creep in terms of the dead in this book but I do think it fit with the era and Christie-feel of the piece. The story had some slow parts but overall, it was enjoyable.

I’m not sure where I see the story going now. Two couples forging forward? A new set of characters? I’m unsure, but I’ll be reading on.

The narration was excellent and the accents were spot on.

Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the review copy.


TEN THOUSAND STITCHES by Olivia Atwater

Regency housemaid Euphemia Reeves has acquired a faerie godfather. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he’s doing.

Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.

Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is. For Effie’s greatest obstacle might well prove to be Lord Blackthorn’s overwhelmingly good intentions.

From the author of HALF A SOUL comes a whimsical fantasy romance with a Cinderella twist. Pick up TEN THOUSAND STITCHES, and dive into another enchanting faerie tale set in Olivia Atwater’s charming, magical version of Regency England! 


Title : Ten Thousand Stitches
Author : Olivia Atwater
Series : Regency Faerie Tales #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 288
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Publisher : Orbit Books
Release Date : July 21, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Cinderella based retelling
All the ire
When you get what you want but you didn’t really want it

Ten Thousand Stitches continued the feel of this series by keeping the story light, fun but with real things to say about life and inequalities in those times. While it was told in the same two worlds as Half A Soul, those characters from the first book didn’t feature and I missed them.

This story gave a feeling of Cinderella flipped around whilst being its own story in its own right. Effie was a maid in a large country house, she was treated poorly by her employers and she had a lot of stored anger. There was a serendipitous meeting with Lord Blackthorn, a fae who was trying to learn more about humans. He seemed weirdly simplistic at first but there was more under the surface. That said, Effie was such a deep and interesting character that Blackthorn was a faded character in comparison.

There was lightness and wit to this tale of servitude and stitching which I’m beginning to know and appreciate this author for. I felt a little unsatisfied by how Blackthorn’s characterisation ended, I wanted a bit more humanity which is probably not fair to ask of a fae. I’m definitely invested in this series and I look forward to the queer story that’s coming in book three.

3.75 stars rounded up.

Thank you to Orbit Books for three eARC through netgalley.

HALF A SOUL by Olivia Atwater

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

Bridgerton meets Howl’s Moving Castle in this enchanting historical fantasy, where the only thing more meddlesome than faeries is a marriage-minded mother.


Title : Half A Soul
Author : Olivia Atwater
Series : Regency Faerie Tales #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Publisher : Orbit Books
Release Date : June 30, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
If historical romance met The Cruel Prince…
Light and fun

I knew almost immediately on starting this book that I was going to thoroughly enjoy it. It was engaging, light and fun but with depth to the characterisation and story. The characters felt fresh and three dimensional and I loved the MCs.

Dora had half a soul and as such, I saw parallels between how her character was written and some people’s experience of neurodiversity. She was was loveable just as she was and although some of the people around didn’t appreciate her lack of emotionality, she leapt off the page to me. The Lord Sorcier was such a grump sliced with oddity and integrity…I loved him too.

This story had every regency London feel even though there was an alter-location in Faerie. The ton, the sensibilities and proprieties brought that essential vibe of those times. It was interesting for sure to see this intersect with an acceptance of magic and fae existence.

The plot was totally engaging and the development of Elias and Dora’s friendship was just lovely. I was here for every moment. I’m so glad this is a series and I can’t wait to read more.

Thank you Orbit Books for the early review copy.