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Mishker

100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

Currently reading

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy)
Sally Christie
Dying Embers
Betty Adams
Vengeance of the Gods
Obinna Anagwu

Orphan Train

Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline

Molly Ayer is seventeen and has been kicked around the foster system in Maine for a good part of her life.  With her current family, she doesn't quite fit in; her foster mom isn't too sure of Molly and is convinced that she is a bad kid.  When Molly is caught stealing a copy of Jane Eyre from the library, she either has to do time in juvie or 50 hours of  community service.  Luckily, Molly's boyfriend hooks her up with 91 year-old Vivian, whom his mother works for.  Vivian needs her attic cleaned out from an entire lifetime of memories.  Molly agrees to the project and quickly finds out the she and Vivian share many experiences.  As boxes are unpacked, Vivian's memory unfolds and she shares her experiences as a rider on a orphan train, her troubled placements and how they have shaped her life. 



I love stories that parallel two time periods, so this book immediately appealed to me. I was also very interested in finding out about the orphan trains, a piece of American history that I didn't know much about.  With many dual time stories, I am drawn into one story much more than the other; however, I was very much drawn into Molly's story in the present as well as Vivian's in 1929-1943. More than anything, Orphan Train reminds us that family is more than blood and while the past may help shape us, it does not define us.  The history of the orphan train was intriguing to me, especially how the children seemed to be used more as a free employee to midwest families rather than a child.  I'm sure this was not the case with all, but it seemed to happen to plenty.  Vivian's story was surprising, moving, heartbreaking and showed the tremendous amount of strength and character that she needed to survive from being an immigrant to an orphan to an unwanted child.  Molly's story parallels some of Vivian's, although Molly did not have nearly as rough a time as a child floating through the foster care system as Vivian did at any point in her life.  Molly, however did tend to make everything more dramatic as teenagers tend to do and I would not say that Molly having to deal with her foster mom not respecting her choice to be a vegetarian was at all comparable to Vivian not having food or having to make squirrel stew to survive through the Depression.  I would say that some of the characters in the present needed a little more depth to them, I really wanted to know what foster mom Dina deal was. I also really wanted to know what happened to everyone after the ending.  While most things were happily resolved, I felt that there Molly and Vivian might have had more to say.  

 

This book was received for free from Harper Collins through TLC book tours. 

The Finish: The Progress of A Murder Uncovered

The Finish: The Progress of a Murder Uncovered (Venus Squared Book 1) - Angela Elliott

Kitty Ives has fallen on hard times; from a respectable family to a whore in London’s Convent Garden in 1769. Due to Kitty’s breeding and education, she is well sought out and has climbed the ranks within her house. One particular night, her company is sought by a man who has given the name of Sir William Westman. In the morning, Kitty wakes up to her client dead beside her. With no suspect but herself, Kitty begins a detective mission to clear her name and keep her place in the house that will take her from London’s underbelly to its aristocracy to see how it is all connected to the poor man who was unfortunate enough to be murdered in her bed.


This is a historical murder mystery set in 18th century London with an educated prostitute for a sleuth. At the beginning I was taken in by the mystery of who could have killed the man in Kitty’s bed while she was there sleeping. Kitty’s detective skills began in earnest as she tried to keep her place in the house. The setting was also done well and I enjoyed being taken to different places within Convent Garden and seeing how things worked at the time. The book is written as Kitty’s memoir in telling the strange tale and its outcome. However, the writing seemed to be a little too detailed, I think that Kitty’s inner monologue got in the way at points and muddled some of the clues and plot points to the point that I forgot what was really going on. Also, while I was truly interested in the mystery at first, it seemed to devolve for me with a few too many twists and turns and Kitty believing one minute that William Westman himself is the murderer and then having sex with him the next. Of course, being a book with a prostitute as the main character, there are several sex scenes, which is fine with me, but might bother some. The conclusion of the whole mess brought a little more excitement back and re-sparked my interest a bit. Overall, for me this one was just ok.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Illusions of Magic

Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago - J.B. Rivard

Nick Zetner is "The Amazing Mr. Z," a magician in 1933 Chicago; however with the depression and prohibition, not many venues are booking a magic act.  So, when Nick's brother-in-law offers him a different kind a job, Nick takes his chances and agrees to find and return stolen merchandise to a wealthy client. A bank has been broken into and all of the contents of the safety deposit boxes stolen, Nick will be paid a generous sum if he can return a specific envelope with scandalous pictures.  When Nick is hot on the trail of the photos, he finds that he may be in over his head in the world of thieves and gangsters especially when he discovers that his long-lost love, Iris may be mixed up in the whole mess. 

 

A quick historical fiction read about 1930's mayhem that brings the time period alive.  There was a great feel for the time period from jazz clubs, to bank robberies and strange guys in back offices cooking the books.  I loved the inclusion of the illustrations, they did a great job of helping me to envision the dress, atmosphere and people in the story, I wish there were more!  I was very interested in the historical backdrop where all of the events took place and was covertly influencing some of the characters- the attempted assassination of President-elect Roosevelt that ended up actually killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.  This event ended up causing a lot of strife for Nick's character.  There wasn't a lot of characterization here, but it was more about the action.  From the title, I had envisioned Nick using ingenious sleight of hand to retrieve what he needed from the robbers, while it was attempted, it was not quite what I had thought.  Overall, an exciting adventure with robbers, cops, good vs. evil and a touch of romance in 1933 Chicago. 

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Silent Children

The Silent Children - Amna K. Boheim

Max Albrecht does not have a close relationship with his mother, in fact, his mother's friend Vivienne raised him most of his childhood.  So, when Max receives a letter from his mother telling him that she is dying along with the hope that Max will help her uncover the mysteries behind a chilling picture, he is surprised.  The picture is of his mother, Annabell and a childhood friend, Oskar.  On the back, the words you knew. Max doesn't make it to his mother before her death; however, having spent an unsettling night in his childhood home in Vienna, Max decides that the picture must be looked into.  The deeper Max goes, the more disturbing secrets he uncovers and the more the house seems to rebel.


This was a really interesting blend of historical fiction, mystery, thriller and a  ghost story.  More importantly, the fantasy aspect, while chilling and intriguing, does not detract from the rest of the story, but expertly adds depth and mystique to Max's plight.  I do love a good duel time story, so this was right up my alley.  The story hops back and forth from 2004 in London and Vienna to 1938 Vienna.  The snippets in the past are quick and give just a glance at Annabell's life with  hints of clues of what is going on so we never know much more than Max.  At first, Max seems like an ungrateful son, but as he figures out his mother's past his character as well as Annabel's is explained.  Oskar was the most surprising character for me, another mystery to unravel, but I loved his gentle and easygoing demeanor.  Overall, the mystery building was well done continually throwing me in different directions and the suspense is tightly woven all the way through.  The ending threw me for a huge curveball, also.  This is not a story where everything is tied up all nicely, the chilling ending definitely places this book squarely in the thriller category.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Apocalypse All The Time

Apocalypse All the Time - David S Atkinson

Marshall lives in a world where there is a new apocalyptic event every week or so, a zombie apocalypse, a flood apocalypse, a giant lizard apocalypse, the red plague, the blue plague and so on and so on. Marshall is fed up with the ridiculousness of it all, sure the world changes, but never ends and not many people die since the Apocalypse Amelioration Agency takes care of everything so quickly. Marshall is especially fed up with how the rest of humanity seems to act when each new apocalypse is announced- fornicating in the streets, looting, running around like the world will actually end. Marshall just wants a normal day, go to work, grocery shop, take a drive. He finally finds some sense of normalcy when he meets Bonnie. Bonnie is as fed up as Marshall and has plans on just what to do about all these apocalypses.

This was a very surprising book that I ended up loving. It is written quite matter-of-factly and sarcastically at points from Marshall's point of view after everything has happened. The absurdity of everything is what really got me, even though Marshall's world is filled with horrific events on a weekly basis, there is a higher power- literally a figure in the sky- telling everyone that everything will be all right and fixing things. This reminded me of the world we live in today, horrific events might not be happening to the same group of people, but every day we hear of something new and terrible happening somewhere. I loved the way in which Marshall and Bonnie finally come to grips with the world they must live in with humor and ingenuity. I did wonder how exactly the world got the way it was, but that wasn't really the point. The ending was a surprise and definitely makes a point about the human condition in today's world.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

A Thousand Salt Kisses Later

A Thousand Salt Kisses Later (Volume 2) - Josie Demuth Four years after her intense summer romance on Starfish Island with merman Llyr, Crystal White has graduated university in London and is left jobless, homeless and boyfriend-less after her break-up with university boyfriend, Sam. With nowhere else to go, Crystal heads back to Starfish Island. Immediately, her feelings for Llyr resurface, even though she knows that their love is impossible. When an opportunity arises to meet with Llyr, Crystal jumps at the chance. However, when she goes to meet him Crystal not only finds that Llyr is engaged to Princess Kara of the Timsah Kingdom, but that she has found some magic of her own that might upset all of the mer-kingdoms. After finishing the first book, A Thousand Salt Kisses, I was really left wondering what will happen with Crystal and Llyr in A Thousand Salt Kisses Later. Well, I was not let down. First, I was very happy that this is set four years after the first book; this let Crystal mature a bit and have a relationship that was not with a merman. Also, after four years away, if Crystal and Llyr still have feelings for one another, it is definitely more than a summer romance. I also liked the elements of magic that were introduced, the title is explained, though Crystal’s magic spell is quite a surprise! I also wasn’t quite sure if I liked the way that she had to reverse it. Anyway, I’m very glad that more of the mermaid kingdoms were explored; they all seemed beautiful, as well as mermaid customs and how exactly they clothed themselves, drank, ate and danced. The conflict that was introduced with the Timsah Kingdom was interesting, a little bit a dark magic that still needs to be explored more. Also, it seems that it was resolved a little too easily for now. There was not as much focus on romance in this book, which was alright with me, and there was almost a love triangle, which hopefully is resolved as well. Overall, a nice follow up for this fantasy mermance. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Bishop's Girl

The Bishop's Girl - Rebecca Burns

During World War I, an English Bishop, Anthony Shacklock is buried near the field hospital in France where he helped to comfort soldiers.  The beloved Bishop is soon exhumed to be brought back home to England.  However, when the Bishop is dug up another body is found with him.  The bones of a young woman remain a mystery through present day.  Professor Waller has made finding out the identity of the young women his life’s work; however, he gives most of the actual research work to archivist Jess Morris who must toil away in dark libraries and go chasing leads all over England on weekends.  Doing all of Waller’s work has placed a strain on Jess’ husband and children.  Just when Jess seems to find a significant and exciting lead on her mystery woman, she begins to make some risky decisions with her personal life.

 

This was a very intriguing historical mystery.  I was thrown into the story from the very beginning when the unexpected bones were found.  First of all, I love dual-time stories and this story went back and forth between the present and 1899-1918.  I also like giving a story to those who were forgotten and nameless, even though this story is completely fictional it gives a small taste of the work that researchers do in order to solve mysteries of the past.  This story did have a bit of a slow start for me, while I do find research interesting; there was perhaps a bit too much in the beginning.  However, as the clues began to come forward and we got a look back into Shacklock’s time period, the story became better paced.  There was definitely a lot going on with Bishop Shacklock and the story of his time in Greece and in the French Hospital were very involved and intriguing. The conditions of the field hospital were particularly well done and I could imagine it very well. Jess’ story slightly mirrored what the Bishop was going through, however some of her issues paled in comparison to the Bishop and the mystery woman. When the identity of the mystery woman is revealed, I felt relief of her identity and sadness over her story.   Overall, an absorbing historical mystery and a wonderful look into historical research.

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.  

Duck Squad

Duck Squad - John Arnold

Several laboratory ducks at a university have become aware of just what their purpose is being stuck in their cages.  Thanks to some strange drugs from the laboratory Quock the duck has become smart enough to understand human language and even type, Guk the duck has become very fast and Op the duck has become very large.  With Quock’s new skill, he learns that the lab is preparing to eat all of the ducks.  He and Guk plan an escape and find refuge within a fraternity house with one of the kinder lab assistants.  Now, Quock and Guk have to find a way to rescue the rest of their friends and maybe even plan a little revenge.

 

This is a fun book packed full of adventure suitable for middle grade readers or anyone who loves animals.  I loved the personalities of the ducks and how they solved their problems.  Teamwork and creative thinking are in the forefront for these ducks, and there are definitely great lessons worked into the story.  I also enjoyed the human and animal relationships that are formed.  The ducks are very lucky to find a friend in Stan and it was fun to see how having the quirky ducks around Stan helped him out.  There was also a good mix of lighthearted humor as the ducks get their revenge on those who would rather eat them!  Overall, an exciting and fun children’s book for any animal lovers out there.

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Bees on the Roof

BEES ON THE ROOF - Robbie Shell

Sam and his dad Nick have recently moved to New York City. Sam’s dad has taken the job of head pastry chef at a fancy restaurant, the Bella Vista in The Meadows Hotel.  With the job comes an apartment on the top floor.  Sam is lucky enough to attend the Manhattan School for Science and with the start of the winter semester, Sam and his friends Ella, Matt and Tristan must think of a theme for their seventh grade science project.  This year there is an added bonus where the winning team will go to Washington D.C., so the team has to think of something good.  With the help of a newspaper article about colony collapse disorder and the news that the Bella Vista may soon be out of business, Sam comes up with an idea that will be great for his team and hopefully help his dad- bees!  The Bee team proposes the idea to set up hives on the roof of the hotel and study the bees, with the extra honey going to the Bella Vista kitchen.  However, The Bee Team will be up against some stiff competition and will have to overcome many obstacles taking care of live bees.

 

This is a wonderful middle-grade environmental fiction novel that I know I would have enjoyed reading just as much in middle school as I did now.  With a focus on colony collapse disorder within honeybee hives, Bees on the Roof brings a current and relevant issue to middle grade readers.  With the seventh-grade science project that the team completes, kids are encouraged that they can be influential helpful within the scientific community.  There was a lot of great factual information on bees in general, the problems they are facing, Colony Collapse Disorder and how to set up and maintain a hive.  I enjoyed that common issues were brought up including cost, stings and potential hive failure.  Each of the characters- Sam, Matt, Ella and Tristan are relatable and is going through their own personal issues; the team must overcome a budding romance, cheating, family issues and medical issues while working on their project.  It was great to see each character have a different scientific interest as well whether it is engineering, computer science, math or biology and how they made all their specialties work together.  My only complaints were that the romance was a little heavy for an environmental fiction book taking place in seventh grade, it didn’t interfere too much, but if I was a seventh-grader reading this I may have felt a little behind the curve; also, I didn’t like the way the cheating scandal was handled, although it worked out fine in the end.

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Shattered Crown

The Shattered Crown - J.W. Webb Corin al Fol is a mercenary, a longswordsman with a varied past. He would like nothing more than to settle down once more in his home land, but fate intervenes and gives him a quest that will change his fate. The High King has been murdered and his ancient crown forged with magical powers, the Tekara, has been shattered and Prince Tarin, the heir, captured. Now, Corin has been hired to help Queen Ariane find the Prince and the Crown. However, it is not just humans that the group is up against. Caswallon, the King's adviser has been mastering sorcery and has enlisted the help of dark beings in order to gain power. A fast-paced, high fantasy with magical creatures, unlikely heroes, epic battles and plenty of adventure. I wish I knew that this was the second book in a series! Oh, well. When I began reading I didn't feel like I was missing any big chunks of information. Anyway, the characters grabbed me right from the start. Corin's personality is gruff yet fair, tough yet heartfelt and intelligent but wary. I also loved Ariane, a young Queen, tough and determined. Their quest took me through well-formed worlds. I especially loved the Forest of Dreams. The creative creatures and mythical people are another great aspect of the story. I enjoyed seeing what weird thing would turn up next. Overall, an exciting fantasy with many other aspects to enjoy.

Say Goodbye For Now

Say Goodbye for Now - Catherine Ryan Hyde

Dr. Lucy Armstrong lives alone and out of the way on her Texas ranch. She is a licensed doctor, which is rare in 1959, but has long since chosen not to practice in the typical manner. Instead, she takes in animals that have been injured and abandoned. Pete Solomon is a 12 year old boy with a large heart, so when he sees an abandoned, broken dog on the side of the road, he knows he has to help him. When the regular vet refuses to look at the wolf-dog, Pete finds his way to Dr. Lucy. On the long walk with a half-wild, hurt, wolf-dog, Pete runs into Justin. Justin is new in town and the two boys click. Justin is also black, which does not sit well with Pete's abusive father or some other folks in town. When the boys show up at Dr. Lucy's, she finds herself with not only one more animal to care for, but two boys as well. When Dr. Lucy meets Justin's father, Calvin, Dr. Lucy's heart melts. However, the town is not ready for a white woman to be kind to a black man and miscegenation laws are still in place. When the town turns violent against the new little family, Dr. Lucy and Peter must say goodbye to Calvin and Justin.

Catherine Ryan Hyde always delivers so much more in a story than I could ever imagine. I originally wanted to read this story because of the wolf-dog hybrid. Prince is definitely an important part of the story as the force that brought everyone together, but there is so much more offered. Elements of historical fiction, race relations, family, friendship, hope and love are all tied together in this beautiful and unexpected story. Each of the characters is very well developed and amazing in their own way. Pete stole my heart from the very beginning with his compassion and unwavering sense of right vs. wrong. I love how he never gave up on Prince and what he later found in return. Justin and Calvin were the perfect father and son pair; they showed perseverance and grace under pressure. The real transformation is of course with Dr. Lucy. From the beginning I knew her hardness was a facade, but I still enjoyed watching it melt away with the addition of Pete, Justin and Calvin to her newly formed family.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Semper Sonnet

The Semper Sonnet - Seth J. Margolis

Lee Nicholson believes she has found something that will make her academic career. As an English literature grad student at Columbia, Lee believes she has found a new sonnet written by Shakespeare. After an appearance on the evening news where Lee reads a stanza of the sonnet, everything goes downhill. Lee is now a suspect in a murder; a murder over a clue in the sonnet. Lee quickly figures out that Shakespeare hid a series of clues in the wordplay of the sonnet, clues about something big enough to kill for. Now, Lee is on the run from the law chasing the clue to Henford estate in England chasing the secrets of Queen Elizabeth I.

 

 

This is a historical secrets thriller, perfect for those who enjoyed Angels and Demons but thought it needed more of a Tudor twist. As a lover of all things Tudor, the historical aspect and mystery surrounding Elizabeth I was what got me interested and kept me hooked. The chapters alternate between diary entries written by Elizabeth’s physician beginning in 1555 and present day with Lee. The diary entries were the most interesting aspect to me; however, as Lee began to extract clues from the sonnet I was pulled in along with her and was trying to figure out the hidden meanings alongside her. Now, some suspension of disbelief was necessary on my part in order to believe that one historian suspected of murder could leave the US with a fake identity and travel freely around the world; that really isn’t the important part though. The intensity and suspense grows with each clue that is uncovered, and Lee is put in danger from more than one source. While I did guess some things along the way, I never would have guessed what the sonnet was actually hiding and the bigger prize that Lee finds at the end. Overall, a fast paced, multi-faceted historical thriller for any Tudor fan.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

This is Not A Werewolf Story

This Is Not a Werewolf Story - Sandra  Evans

Yay for booklikes being back up!  I've been waiting to post this for the 12 tasks- coming of age story :)

 

Raul is a young man who attends a boarding school on an island in the Puget Sound. Raul has been there since he was a little boy when his mother disappeared and his father had a hard time raising him alone. Raul is a bit of a loner at the school and he chooses not to talk very much. This is because Raul knows that he is different. Raul has discovered the secret of White Deer Woods and every weekend he goes out to a special place in White Deer Woods and transforms. When a new kid, Vincent, arrives at the school, Raul thinks the Woods has shared the secret with Vincent as well. As Raul finally comes into his own as a young man with Vincent’s friendship, a threat comes to White Deer Woods that affects Raul deeply and will test his friendship.

This book was extremely intriguing, right from the title. Aimed for middle-grade readers, this fantasy is written in a way that will excite and engage. There are many mysteries on the island to be solved and the writing from Raul’s point of view pulled me into the story and the island. Just what is the secret of White Deer Woods, how does it work and who else is like Raul? The extreme personalities of the students and staff on the island made the people jump off the page; Mean Jack who has taken on the personality of an old-time mobster, Mary Anne who has a calming persuasiveness, Dean Swift who cares too much and shares too much, Cook Patsy who is a protective wrestler and of course Tuffman, a sadistic PE teacher who has it out for Raul. I loved how the mystery of the island and Raul’s transformative process took place and how it is loosely modeled after a twelfth century story called Bisclavret. Overall, an interesting and different middle-grade coming of age story with elements of beauty, forgiveness, magic and mystery that is anything but a werewolf story.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Unexpected: Short Stories From Around the World

Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World - P.F. Citizen One

This one is for The Twelve Tasks- an African American author!

 

 

A short collection of brief stories and anecdotes compiled from the author's very interesting life travelling around the world as a petroleum engineer.  Each of his stories is told as though sitting down with a good friend for some coffee and hearing about their amazing adventures.  The stories, though short each have an unexpected ending that elicits strong emotion through humor, sadness and compassion.  

My favorite story is probably the very first where the author tells of his Brazillian friend who is waiting to get married.  The friend is away from home for long periods of time and has a girlfriend on the side.  The author warns the friend of his actions and come wedding day the groom is in for a big surprise.  

I also loved the last story about a Chinese boy who grew up thinking that he would amount to nothing and decided to live his adult life trying to make others happy.  However, it wasn't until after his death that he was recognized for all he did.

A nice little collection of short stories, and a very quick read.  I did notice a few editing errors, such as 'live' instead of 'life' and the repetition of a phrase, but nothing that hindered my enjoyment of the book.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Breedling and the City in the Garden

The Breedling and the City in the Garden (The Element Odysseys) - Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Two unlikely friends from two different worlds meet under dire circumstances and are now charged with saving one another from the evils of their own worlds. Breedling Bartholomew is a soulcatcher from Euxinus, a world controlled by the Fates, a world where he chose to disobey his masters and has now been imprisoned. Escaping his prison, Bartholomew lands in an orphanage in 1930's Chicago, an orphanage that is currently on fire. With the help of Charlie, Bartholomew is able to escape the burning building,but at a price. While saving Bartholomew, Charlie's cousin dies in the flames. When they finally escape the burning building, Bartholomew receives a message from Euxinus, he must use Charlie to to find the mortal who will help him complete the mission that he began centuries ago.

 

This book took me on an interesting and unexpected journey, combining urban fantasy and historical fiction. At first I really had no idea what was going on, but as the story progressed, I was drawn in by Bartholomew's quest and his and Charlie's friendship. Charlie is an absolutely amazing character, a young man who has seen large amounts of tragedy in his life and who still makes it his mission to help others since that was his mother's life lesson to him. Bartholomew's troubles on Earth, or Eden, as he calls it, brings a sense of levity, especially as we learn how the world's are colliding. In addition to the fantasy aspects, the historical elements of 1930's Chicago were vibrant for me. From the breadlines, to Grocer Pawlak, to the speakeasy and the rival Polish and Lithuanian gangs, the City in the Garden was brought alive, although I don't know how much some of these side stories moved along the plot. Also, we leave the characters on a very tenuous note, there is a sequel, so hopefully things will pick up then.

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Neverwhere

Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman Some people are born to be heroes. Richard Mayhew is not one of them. Richard would just like to get through the day. Richard is a passive participant in his life, allowing his girlfriend, now fiance, Jessica to control him. That is until one day, Richard decides to make a decision for himself and help a hurt young woman on the street, opening up his home and a series of events that will change Richard's life setting him on a path to become the most unlikely of heroes in an unlikely place with very unlikely people. Having read other Gaimen books, Neverwhere has some different qualities then what I am used to, but I definitely still enjoyed reading about the fascinating London Below and its host of captivating characters. There is a wonderful mix of urban fantasy combining the magical and mundane as well as humor an danger. Richard in a very atypical character for me to read about, he is a complete pushover, and while his journey in London below transforms him, it seems like it is mostly by accident. However, this did not stop me from being completely engulfed in his quest. I think I most enjoyed having the ability to visit the world of London Underground through the writing. Described as a place for those who have fallen through the cracks, London Below is an entire world for not only the discarded, but the forgotten, unlikely and the magical. I loved that London Below was a reflective world where the name of the tube stations in London Above actually come alive in London Below, such as Black Friars station had actual Black Friars. Above all, I loved the characters of Door and Hunter. Two fierce women navigating and protecting throughout London Below. Overall, a different kind of dark fantasy with intense world building and an interesting journey of growth.