Review: Oracle of Philadelphia

17304890★★★★☆

Oracle of Philadelphia is the first book in Elizabeth Corrigan’s ongoing Earthbound Angels series. In this first installment, we are introduced to the owner of an unassuming Philadelphia diner who just happens to be a centuries-old Oracle. Carrie has borne witness to power struggles between Heaven and Hell for millennia, but she is drawn back in to their conflict in an attempt to save a man who has sold his soul to protect his sister’s life.

As someone who is mostly unfamiliar with mainstream Christian lore, I was pleased with  how the intricacies of the Earthbound Angels  world were revealed without feeling burdensome. Characters and their histories are revealed as the story weaves through time, shifting between present Philadelphia and scenes in Ancient Egypt or Paris in the midst of the industrial revolution. This look at their shared histories enhances what was  one of the greatest strength of this book: the bonds between characters. In such a large cast of angels and demons each has a distinct voice, goal, and purpose within the story. They exist independently, not as mere obstacles or aides for the protagonist. This extends to one of the most notable of Carrie’s companions, the fallen angel Bedlam. The duo’s rapport lends story humor and hope when in bleak times.

Though this is the first book in the Earthbound Angels series, it also serves well as a standalone story. I tend to stay away from series because the endings are often unsatisfying, leaving too many unanswered questions or relying on the next book to wrap up loose ends. Instead, Oracle of Philadelphia strikes the perfect balance. It is satisfying as a standalone read, but leaves ample room to expand on the questions left hanging in the books that follow. Whether you’re seeking a quick, well-developed urban fantasy novel or a new series to dive in to, I highly recommend checking this out.

Continue reading “Review: Oracle of Philadelphia”

Advance Review: Waves

40744544★★★★☆

Waves is a brief and poignant story of the world-shattering loss of a child and a young couple’s life in the aftermath. Chabbet weaves their tale of recovery, based on her own experiences.

It’s hard to say that I enjoyed this story in the typical sense. My heart ached at every page during their journey of learning to cope with the reality of losing their son as I was touched by Carole Maurel’s gorgeous illustrations. My only qualm with Waves is that it left me wanting more.

 

Continue reading “Advance Review: Waves”

Review: The Dreamers

★★★★☆34409176

Let me just say it outright: I loved this book. I was pining for weeks before it was gifted to me for Valentine’s Day and I was thrilled to finally begin. I haven’t read Karen Thompson Walker’s first book, The Age of Miracles but it has jumped far up my TBR after this.

In The Dreamers Walker transports you to the cozy town of Santa Lora, California where a mysterious illness descends has descended upon the local college. Told for the perspectives of a several of residents of Santa Lora, The Dreamers is an intimate portrait of a town in crisis.

This is not a fast-paced thriller, but something to bask in. There is a certain magic to the world Walker creates and the delicate way the lives of each character overlaps and intertwines. Even though this book succeeds in giving a full overview of Santa Lora in the midst of an epidemic, I felt like I had enough time to connect with each character and I cared deeply for all of them. No point of view felt unnecessary of wedged in, every life contributed to the story effortlessly. This book is simply mesmerizing. Continue reading “Review: The Dreamers”

Review: Short Stories by Steven Penny

This post post features reviews of both of Steven Penny‘s recent short stories, End of the Line followed by Eleventh Night.

★★★33795159

Meet Maeve O’Grady, just eight years old but already well acquainted with the harsher realities of life. Her workaholic mother and womanizing father fight incessantly despite their separation, but Maeve still loves them both equally. After another switching off between her parents, Maeve rides the train home with her mother. As she dozes, Maeve encounters a mysterious figure with more knowledge than he could possibly have.

End of the Line is a fast-paced story that shows the reality of a child living between two homes with parents that have only their child in common. My heart ached for Maeve, who was deprived of the ability to experience the world as the child she was. Instead, she spends her days performing a balancing act, trying to mediate the problems of the adults who were supposed to care for her above all else. The situation reaches a crescendo as Maeve is left to reflect alone as her mother sleeps on the train. Revelations come pouring out and the world turns on its side in a sinister twist that hits like a blow to the gut. End of the Line was published in January 2017.

Find this book on Amazon.

39863838★★★★☆

In the midst of the Troubles, our narrator meets the beautiful Sadie Murphy at a dance. Though they have only a fleeting moment together, her memory persists until they meet again, on opposite sides of a town divided. Decades later he recounts the memory of the woman he thought he’d marry over drinks at the local pub.

This story is very brief, but also quite touching. In the midst of conflict that was pervasive Northern Ireland, a love blooms between two people of heritages on either side of the Troubles. Despite knowing they were doomed, it’s hard not to get enthralled as their relationship blooms from acquaintances to lovers over a year. Eleventh Night was published April 16, 2018.

Find this book on Amazon.

I received my copies of End of the Line and Eleventh Night from Steven Penny in exchange for honest reviews.

Review: The Scarecrow and the Princess

★★★★☆The Scarecrow and the Princess

In Maggie Archer’s delightful tale, we follow the egotistical Prince Harvey. He has a lush life as the only child of the King and Queen of Avaria, a idyllic, plentiful land. Harvey is the archetypal prince: handsome, talented, charming, born to rule. He is highly thought of by the ladies and he knows it. The story picks up as Harvey’s ego brings ruin upon him. After humiliating the daughter of a powerful witch at the royal ball, Harvey is transformed into a scarecrow and cast out of his kingdom to an orchard in a land he has never seen before.

Lucky for Harvey, a princess frequents this particular orchard. As she relaxes in the beautiful countryside, she finds herself confiding her problems in her friend, the scarecrow.

Archer’s writing carries the story along swiftly and beautifully, and The Scarecrow and the Princess is free from many of the cliches that I’ve always felt tend to bog down children’s fairy tales. These characters and their reactions to Harvey’s predicament feel genuine. There is no magical kiss and a princess immediately whisked away, no children being married or parents that use their kids as political pawns. I loved the dynamic between the families of each kingdom and the rapport between Harvey and the princess. I recommend this highly to and as a gift for any middle-grade lovers of fantasy and fairy tales. Continue reading “Review: The Scarecrow and the Princess”