The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic is a difficult book for me to review. I was drawn to the title and premise, but ultimately found the first to be misleading and the second to be far more exciting in blurb format than in reality.
To begin with the good, Emily Croy Barker has developed a world of magic that is filled with promise. The magicians – chiefly Aruendiel – are an interesting lot and I’d have loved to have delved deeper into their characters. Unfortunately, there was a lot of missed opportunity in The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic. Our guide throughout the story is Nora, the titular “thinking woman” who really doesn’t use her brain as much as she ought to. Nora is from our world and I believe she’s supposed to be the character we all identify with, but she seems to lack common sense or the ability see anything from a viewpoint other than her own (Annoyed that people in this magical, medieval-type world aren’t as progressive or “enlightened” as you? *Sigh*). I didn’t mind this in the beginning of the book, when she was enchanted by the story’s villain, but I expected Nora to grow as a character in the ten months or so she was Aruendiel’s world. That she was so easily fooled by the villain near the end of the story pained me to no end. Aside from learning a few spells and parlor tricks, Nora really didn’t seem to learn much on her journey.
I could forgive Nora’s flaws if The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic were at least interesting. Sadly, we spend most of the book’s nearly 600 pages following Nora as she does her chores and follows Aruendiel about. There seems to be no real point to much of this, and the book could have been halved without losing anything. Near the end things do pick up, but much to my dismay, the book ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. Not an interesting cliffhanger, mind you, simply one that made me double-check my book because I thought I was missing pages. None of the major plot points are resolved, and since we spend so much time watching paint dry (figuratively speaking) I felt extremely cheated as a reader.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic isn’t an entirely bad story, but it is one that suffers from a frustratingly obtuse heroine and a lack of any real direction....more
King Gaspar is determined to rid the people of his kingdom of their superstitious beliefs. To this end, Gaspar decides to throw an extravagant ball that lasts three days leading up to the end of October to take his subjects’ minds off of ghosts and onto seeing Crown Prince Neville married.
Amidst the opulence of the nighttime affairs, Sylvain, the king’s younger son, meets the mysterious Roslyn. Roslyn is everything Sylvain desires – strong, handsome, and somewhat otherworldly. As Sylvain begins to fall for his newfound love, it becomes apparent that things are not at all right in his father’s kingdom. When Sylvain discovers the truth, will he be the one to pay the price for his father’s actions?
I must begin by saying that Opulence at Midnight is quite unlike anything I have read in a very long time. It’s both lovely and haunting, and while the story didn’t leave me with a smile on my face, I was nonetheless left fully satisfied and have not been able to put the tale out of my mind since. I’m afraid not much can be said about Opulence at Midnight without giving away the entire story. I found the book to be intriguing, taking twists and turns that were hinted at, but nonetheless I wasn’t sure it would take. Renee Manley is an author I have not read before but who I am definitely going to be on the lookout for from now on. For a change of pace that is sure to engage, I can recommend no better than Opulence at Midnight. It’s sensual, evocative, and I was completely enthralled from beginning to end....more
After centuries of having a countless number of women in his bed, Poseidon yearns for the one thing he has never had: real love. With the help of Aphrodite herself, Poseidon finds himself in Cancun where he meets the woman of his dreams. The problem is, Mila’s a mortal with a secret. One that could end their time together before love has a chance to bloom.
I never tire of reading a new spin on the Greek gods of old. Susan Hanniford Crowley starts Poseidon’s Catch off with a bang, giving the gods of legend all flashy personalities. Unfortunately, everything about Poseidon’s Catch was flash-in-the-pan. The story was crammed with multiple plot threads that were rushed, giving Poseidon’s Catch a choppy feel. I never felt that I truly got to know Mila or Poseidon, which was a pity because they both had potential. Poseidon’s Catch is a story that would benefit from being at least double, if not triple its length. It’s erratic and lacks emotional impact because of this. The pity of it is, there’s potential within the madness that is never capitalized on. Ultimately, Poseidon’s Catch simply wasn’t the story for me....more