THE COURT OF MIRACLES by Kester Grant

A diverse fantasy reimagining of Les Misérables and The Jungle Book.

In the dark days following a failed French Revolution, in the violent jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, young cat-burglar Eponine (Nina) Thenardier goes head to head with merciless royalty, and the lords of the city’s criminal underworld to save the life of her adopted sister Cosette (Ettie).

Her vow will take her from the city’s dark underbelly, through a dawning revolution, to the very heart of the glittering court of Louis XVII, where she must make an impossible choice between guild, blood, betrayal and war.


Title : The Court of Miracles
Author : Kester Grant
Series : The Court of Miracles #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 464
Genre : Historical Retelling
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Release Date : June 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Damn but it feels good to have read a book that was 5 star from beginning to end. THE COURT OF MIRACLES was a page-turner and a half and I am truly sad it is over. I’ve heard all the rumours of Les Miserables and Jungle Book in the same breath as this release and in my opinion, it sits well with these ideas in the background. The execution of this kind of retelling was superb in every way.

Eponine (Nina) but mostly referred to as ‘Black Cat’ was a young novice of the Parisian underworld. She was equipped with the kind of foolish courage you see in someone young but that nerve and intuition moulded her into a thief admired by seasoned Masters of the Court. This was a world that was easy to understand despite the complexities that were apparent, I never once felt lost in the world building. This court of different ‘tribes’ of the city’s underworld had so many great characters to cheer for. I adored the ghosts, the thieves, the assassins and the people of the pen.

I’m the Black Cat of the Thieves Guild and these are the things I have done.

Life was tough for Nina, but she staunchly fought for her two sisters, she was loyal and sneaky and unrelenting; I adored her. I also enjoyed the humble ignorance she had for those three young men that admired from a distance (this is not a romance, by the way). Her little sister was annoying and fun, her big sister was tragic. What I admired most about Nina was that she brought the different guilds together in a way they never had before; she sparked loyalty in the senior people because of her courage and ingenuity.

The best thing about this book was the not knowing where-the-heck the plot was headed, what would happen around any turn and the pacing alongside the excitement. It was a tale told over years and so also, there was no rushing. Kester Grant is a name to watch and an author to anticipate more from.

THE COURT OF MIRACLES was a stand out read for me this year (so far). I have that itching desire to pick it up again, maybe I’ll wait for my precious hardcover to arrive.

Thank you to Harper Voyager for the early review copy.

THE VINE WITCH by Luanne G Smith

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley. 


Title : The Vine Witch
Author : Luanne G. Smith
Series : Vine Witch #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 263
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Publisher : 47 North
Release Date : October 1, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

THE VINE WITCH was a case of a really strong start and an exciting story that didn’t quite keep hold of that promise all the way through. This was a historical fantasy, set in the wineries of France with a rich history of witches working with the vines and elements to produce good wine. I absolutely loved this idea and the main character Elena was so interesting. Elena remained a strong characterisation throughout, she carried the show.

The story started with a curse, a toad and transformation. Elena’s return to her home was sad and interesting and the two key characters of Grand-Mere and Jean-Paul added to the intrigue. The wider village characters were rich and made me reminiscent of Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

Where my love for the book waned a little was when the story direction changed in the second half. This may be more about my expectations than anything else, but I wanted more time in the winery, how Elena worked, how she and Jean-Paul worked together. I didn’t expect what I got and I longed for more story development in other directions.

The romance that developed was so low-level and unfulfilled in terms of character connection to one another. This story line needed a fuller commitment on the page because I wanted this couple together and I believed in their grudging work relationship, so much that their romantic connection could have been great.

Overall, this was a good read that didn’t quite fulfill what I wanted but it was unique and quick. The second book follows a side character from this story and I believe more of Elena, so I may read on in the series.