Never Say Never…

never never

5 out of 5 Stars

James Hook knows that he’s not a Lost Boy. He has a Mother and Father who love him… most of the time. With his Father constantly off to sea, and his Mother awaiting the arrival of a new child which seems to be taking up all of her attention James decides that maybe he’ll take this boy Peter Pan up on his offer to go to Neverland where you never grow up… but, just for a visit. James has never worried about growing up. In fact, even at only thirteen, he’s looked forward to it.

“To have a wife and children and to explore the world and conquer the sea.”

But he wouldn’t mind, at least for a little while, seeing the fairies there that Peter says are real, even if he is too old for them.

“Well, of course I’ve read about them in stories, but those are only for children.”

“And aren’t you one?” said Peter, looking around, distractable, touching all the leaves and twigs in his reach. 

“A what?” asked James.

“A children,” replied Peter, looking back at him.

James raised an eyebrow. Pan certainly was no Eton man. Somehow, that mattered less than it should’ve, as James found himself opening his mouth to say that of course he wasn’t “children” . Then an image of him several hours ago, blushing apple-red and struggling not to cry, flashed in his mind. He pursed his lips. Then, glumly: “I suppose I am a child.”

The only issue is, no one “visits” Neverland. Once you arrive it is your home and you are one of Peter’s Lost Boys and you will “play” by his rules.

“Number one, you’re not allowed to know things that I don’t know.”

“Number Two, you’re not allowed to be taller than me.”

“And lastly, and most importantly, absolutely no growing up.”

The problem is that James sees too much, and when he finds that Peter wants him on the island because he is “a Dreamer”, one who dreams up part of the Island he feels a kinship with the Pirates and grow up he shall.

“With his hat, his jacket, his boots, today he was really and truly a pirate. No one who saw him could deny it. And not just a pirate- a captain. He smiled a little wistfully, then wiped the smile from his face before he opened the doors to the deck, wishing to appear menacing. In a band full of pirates, that was no easy task.” 

But, when the newly founded Captain Hook begins to realise that Peter, no matter what parts were dreamt up by other boys, owns the Island. And it loves and will protect him. There’s only one thing left to do.

“Peter, yet again you provoke me,” he said , voice barely audible over the fierce wind.

“What are you going to do about it, old man?”

James thought for a minute, seriously contemplating his answer. Then he turned his face up to the boy and gave him the most honest reply he could. “Kill you, Peter. I will kill you.”

This book is the best twist on Peter Pan I have read so far (and I’ve read a few!) It is the perfect mix of dark and reality. It does get a little violent with the killing, but in more of an understandable way, and I LOVE the way that the parts of Neverland are contributions of the boys and the way that Neverland interacts with Peter.

Never never was also a good mix of James as a child and James as an adult and his transition into Captain Hook was a VERY good explanation of why he becomes who he is. (It’s almost like the “Wicked” of the Peter Pan world) James Hook has his home taken from him, his parents taken from him and Love taken from him, all by the Pan and you can almost hate Peter by the end of it.

I HIGHLY recommend this book! Even if you’re not a fan of fairy tale twists or even if you love Peter Pan and you don’t know how you would feel about him not being such a nice guy who just wants to play and never grow up, GIVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE!

If you’d like to learn more about the Author Brianna R. Shrum feel free to reach out to her on Twitter @briannashrum  to check into her upcoming release “The Art of French Kissing” Releasing June 5th 2018!

Never Never is Best Served With

A Josee

So…. I have no idea if this is how the cocktail is spelled. This is another of the cocktails that I learned in Cuba and had one of the bartenders at the Velentin Pearla Blanca nice enough to show me how to make it! By the way I made the napkin rose in the picture! The waiter there showed us how to make them!

20180212_214507

Ingredients

  • 1oz Gin
  • 1oz White Rum
  • 2oz Orange Juice
  • Top with Pre Fab Margarita Mix

Directions

  1. Put in glass in order of list top to bottom
  2. Stir
  3. CHEERS!!

I know, I know… Not too inspired. But, MAN IS IT GOOD!!

 

 

 

The Wendy, A Peter Pan Twist

the wendy.jpg

4 out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank Trash Dogs Media for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“If women ever sail the sea,

They’ll scrub the decks for men like me!

They’ll marry none but Davy Jones,

And for their children, only bones!”

These are words that Wendy Darling had chanted at her all her life as she grew up dreaming of the sea and joining the Navy. When she begins to think that maybe Davy Jones will be preferable to just growing up to the women’s duty of “having babies” she finds Olaudah Equiano (or Gustavus Vassa as was his slave name) and thinks that all her prayers have been answered and that under his tutelage she will finally get what her heart desires

“What the heart desires most in all the world,” Mr. Equiano reminded her gently, “does not always come to us when we wish it. Such yearnings cannot be rushed. We must work for them. And we must continue to work for them. Even when all seems lost. So that we will be ready, should the heavens find a way to deliver us.”

But, try and train though she would, the heavens did not seem to be delivering her anywhere, even joining the Fourteenth Platoon of the Nineteenth Light Dragoons at Dover Castle to sense magic for them, she is let down. As it is a boring, tedious jobs reading dusty facts out of dusty books. Until the “unmistakable scent of magic permeated the air as he gazed down upon her, a look of cold, merciless appraisal in his ice-blue eyes.” and Wendy Darling finally comes face to face with Peter Pan.

“When confronted with the imminent possibility of one’s own death, the important thing is not to panic. That is what everyone says, and they say it because it is true. Remaining calm will always save you, which is precisely what makes it such a difficult thing to do, but panicking never will, which is why it is absolutely, positively never the best choice.”  

Peter is the leader of, what is known to Wendy, as the Everlost, which has been described to her as a creature with no soul who comes to England t steal children to drain of their blood.

“Ah ha!” he exclaimed, his face lighting up in a sudden realization. “A creature without a soul! Ergo, lost forever to heaven! Ergo, ‘the everlost’! Well, that explains it, finally, I’ve always wondered.” He smiled at Nana and rubbed her head merrily as though she were sharing his private revelation.

“But… how could you not have understood the meaning of your own name?” Wendy blinked in surprise.

“Don’t be absurd. It’s not my name. It’s your name. You made it up. Why would I call myself everlost?” He regarded her the way a child might scrutinize a particularly baffling puzzle lock from the East, as though she were an exotic treasure of unfathomable mystery. “You might lose me, to be sure, but one can never lose oneself. The very idea is ridiculous. I’m always right where I am!”

When she is the only one who can track down the Everlost and Peter’s supposed “flying ship” that may be able to take her to this Island that he seems to exist, will she choose Peter and the Adventure he can offer her? Or will she choose Captain Hook and the possible life at sea that she has dreamed of all her life?

I really enjoyed this book! I liked the focus on Wendy being a strong female influence who won’t just quietly back down into her mothering or babysitting duties. I like to see her finally, not taking care of other children, but learning to fight and the maths and the stars and dreaming of bigger things. It was a beautifully written novel and a twist on the tale that was refreshing and new.

My one complaint about the book was the character of Tinkerbell… I’m sorry, this is me being picky I’m sure. They describe her as “a palm-sized, golden dragon speaking in a symphony of delicate chimes” and that “Tinker Bell belonged to that rarest and most precious of fairy species (known as the innisfay by those who still remember such things) who can turn themselves into any sort of animal at will.”

I really like the IDEA of this… but, I’m a HUGE fan of Tinkerbell and I don’t know if I can get behind her being a Shapeshifter.. totally my own beef. But, very well described and a very cool concept all the same. That’s the thing about twists on classics. You never know what might get twisted!!

All in all a very interesting and unique take on the Pan story with a wonderful focus on Wendy that I adored and WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COVER!! I definitely recommend a read!!

Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown began “The Wendy” as an experiment trying to see if an unknown duo could attract enough of a following to defray the cost of publishing the book. The answer was “YES”

If you would like to learn more about the Duo, they are most active on Twitter @DragonAuthors and you can find any ways to get a copy of “The Wendy” for yourself at http://trashdogs.com/wendy.html

The Wendy is Best Paired With a

Santa Maria

santa maria

Another drink that I learned in Cuba that seemed fitting with the rum and fitting with HOW GORGEOUS IT IS!!

Ingredients

  • 1/5 oz Green Creme de Menthe
  • 1 oz White Rum
  • 4 oz Orange Juice
  • 4 oz Red Wine

Directions

  1. Chill a tall glass
  2. Layer slowly over the rounded side of a spoon from the top of the list (which will be at the bottom of the glass) to the bottom of the list (which will be the top of the glass)
  3. Garnish with a pineapple wedge
  4. Enjoy how pretty it looks, but be sure to stir before drinking!! (It turned a beautiful purple!)
  5. CHEERS!!

Lost Boy, A Dark Twist on Peter Pan

lost boy

3 out of 5 Stars

Peter is luring boys to come with him who don’t have mothers… or so they are told. This is the story of the boy James who was taken first to be Peters favourite.

“If you come with me we’ll go to my island. It’s a special place, only for boys like you and me. And there you can run and play and no one will ever hit you and you’ll never, never grow up.

“How can you never grow up?”

“The island is magic,” he said, and he smiled. “And I live all alone there, and I want you to come there and play with me and be my friend for always.”

and how James began to take care of the other boys when he realized that something had to be done… you can’t be a boy forever, and every baby duckling needs a mother.

“The mother duckling stood at the shore of the pond, weeping and weeping for her little lost one. Her tears were so great and so many that the waters of the pond rose and flooded around her feet and ankles, and she sank deep into the mud there until the water covered her to her knees. On and on she wept, for she knew it was all her fault for letting her little boy get lost in the first place. After a very long time her tears ran dry, but by then her legs had turned into stems and her yello hair into the petals of a flower, and so she stands there until this day, crouched over the crocodile pond, hoping forever to see the face of her little duckling again. And sometimes, if you go to the crocodile pond late at night, you can hear her voice on the wind, crying his name.”

When James begins to feel that maybe Peter isn’t the wonderful fun loving boy that everyone thinks he is… that maybe there is something dark and narcissistic about him, that is exactly what happens. James begins to grow up as he watches HIS Lost Boys around him die in Peter’s twisted games.

“When he’d smiled at me and told me we would have adventures, I thought we would be friends always, that it would just be Peter and me, like brothers. But now I saw-and it was so strange that after all this time I finally did see- that I wasn’t enough for him, had never been enough.” 

With the boys dying all around him and Peter’s uncaring attitude is there anyone that can defeat the Pan? And is there anyone who will step up and help? And when Peter’s secrets begin to come out, will there be anyone remaining to love him?

Well, I was surprised at this book. I LOVED Alice by Christina Henry, and I will admit that I’m a HUGE sucker for all that is dark and twisted…. but, this one just didn’t do it for me!! Maybe, it was just a little too much… It is definitely twisted, and although the writing was good, it was just too much graphic destruction. I don’t mind a darker twist of Peter and his attitude (stay tuned for my FAVOURITE one in a later review!) But, maybe because I read so many so fast this one just couldn’t stand up.

I did like the Lost Boys in this one, they were written well and it really made you feel for some of them and hate others (it was a very “Lord of the Flies” feeling in this book) but if you don’t handle developing feelings for characters that may not make it through the book, and may get taken from you in very graphic ways… this may not be the book for you!

Lost Boy is Best Served with 

Pina Colada

As the book involves the pirates and mentions coconuts quite a bit, I figured this would be a good match and help me ease you all into my new drinks I learned in Cuba with my later reviews!

20180212_182526

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup ice.
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple, frozen.
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice.
  • 2 ounces coconut cream.
  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum.
  • 1 ounce dark rum.
  • Pineapple slices.

Directions

  1. Put the ice, frozen pineapple, juice, coconut cream, and the white and dark rums into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frosty.
  3. Pour the drink into 2 glasses
  4. garnish the rim with pineapple slices.
  5. Cheers!!!

 

Through the Eyes of a Dungeon

dungeon born

3 out of 5 Stars

Well, first things first, this book was a VERY unique RPG LIT! I was really excited about the concept of the book as it is told, mainly, from the perspective of.. THE DUNGEON! Yes, that’s right! Cal, a dungeon core, is ‘born’ and reveals his story learning to build himself up and protect himself from the adventurers who are brave enough to explore his walls and seek his treasure.

Learning to take in Essence for use in expanding his walls, making ‘mobs’ and setting traps to lure in Adventurers to kill to receive more Essence to repeat the process and level up his dungeon for more and stronger Adventurers.

I really wanted to like this book… And in the end my rating ended up higher than I thought it would because they eventually split the narrative between Cal, the dungeon, and Dale, the adventurer adding another level and making the story a little more relatable. Unfortunately, up to that point, which was a long time coming, the story of Cal and his bonded Whisp (as in Will o’ the) Dani, is a little dry. It was almost as though Dakota took his D&D campaign manual and wrote a novel out of it… Which would be all well and good if it hadn’t been SO technical. As a huge geek and D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) player it was even a little too much for me! (or, maybe it was a little much BECAUSE of that!)

“Well, we start with an upgrade! Here are a few basics first though. There are many different levels of Essence cultivation. Starting with the lowest, we have G, F, E, D, C, B, A, S, SS, SSS, Heavenly, and Godly. Each rank has ten levels within it, the lowest being zero and the highest at nine. When I got here, you were at G-zero, which is basic life with only the instinct to eat.” She chuckled at that, I had progressed far in intelligence since then. “After making the deal with me you moved to G-rank one, which opens the way for more complex actions and thought. You have enough power already to move to G-rank two, which lets you begin to grow your power and use your own influence intentionally.”

<Correct me if I’m wrong, but the enchantment like this is temporary because it was cast on the sword, but looks like tightly woven Essence, not something else like Mana, and it is always active. Permanent enchantments are formed by cutting Inscriptions like on that pendant, then putting your own Essence into the Inscriptions right? That allows you to turn it on or off at will.> She was keeping up with me so far, I could tell. “Sounds correct so far. Just so you know, cutting those in is called ‘inscribing’ and when done properly, it is called a ‘Rune’.” She took a quick second to boost my knowledge. I acknowledged her input, and continued. <Well, I am wondering if I can use the Beast Cores to power enchantments. Since they can store Essence it should be possible to draw the energy from them, and not yourself right?> Dani went quiet for a moment, “Well, in theory. It is possible to use specially refined Beast Cores as Mana accumulators, but the cost is usually so high for even a normal Core that no one – that I have heard of anyway – has tried it for just Essence.”

The first half of the book was too much like being stuck in the tutorial of an RPG. I felt a little talked down to.. I understand trying to explain things to readers who may not understand these things… But, there’s a limit to what should be explained as someone who knew NOTHING about this probably wouldn’t be reading the book to begin with, and if they are, then they’re probably not stupid and can figure these things out through the story itself.

Now, in saying this, it really did become an enjoyable story! I may have been a little hard on it! The characters, when the adventuring team was finally introduced, were very likable (especially the ‘old’ mage Hans) as was the story. It just took a little longer than necessary to get out of that tutorial!

Dungeon Born is Best Served With

Dungeon Punch

dungeon

I found this drink at recipe http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink3292.html#ixzz56JzNrnKe I don’t know why it’s called dungeon punch (maybe after a few it makes you feel like you’ve been punched in the “dungeon”?) Lol! In any case, the name was so fitting and the drink sounded delicious… so, I didn’t really care! (Plus I got to buy kool-aid for the first time in…. well, probably ever!

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 5 oz Kool-Aid®
  • 3 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 cherries

Directions

  1. Mix fruit punch flavored kool-aid with schnapps, vodka, and orange juice.
  2. Once stirred, garnish with cherries.
  3. CHEERS!!

Welcome to Toonopolis.. Leave Reality at the Door

toonopolis

4.5 out of 5 Stars

It’s Saturday morning (well, it is HERE at least!) so, what better to do with a Saturday morning than watch some Cartoons!! …or read about them anyways!

Some of you may remember my review from a little while ago for “Demonic Wildlife” which was a horror anthology. Well, one of my favourite stories was written by Jeremy Rodden and he expands on the wonderful world he created in this novel.

This is a book for all ages!! It almost reminded me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where, as a child they were silly and fun, and as an adult you looked back and thought “how did I not notice all of these references and double entendres??” You may not get all of the jokes and pop culture references at certain ages, but it’s an amazing story anyways!

Jacob Grenk is the only one who can be used for an experiment by “The Agency” and sent into Toonopolis to “do their bidding”. Only one catch, when Jacob enters Toonopolis he has lost his memory and has no idea who he is, or why he is there.

Taking on the name “Gemini” the only thing he can remember, he sets off with his “trusty” guide, Jimbob the Talking Eggplant, to find his memories and to get home.

I started this novel immediately getting feelings of “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, “Wizard of Oz”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Cool World”. Funny enough, I quickly realised that I was getting those vibes for a reason!

“Where am I?” was the question that jumped out of the boy’s mouth. He didn’t even have time to wonder how the mirror could hear him since it had no discernible ears. “How should I know?” the mirror retorted. “I’m just an antique looking glass.” The young man suddenly had an idea inspired by a story from his childhood about a young girl who, like himself, found herself in a strange land full of bewilderment. It was with this thought in mind that he decided to run headfirst into the mirror. A loud thud and his rump landing on the grass were all he earned for his bright idea. “Ow!” shouted the mirror. “What in the world did you do that for?”“I guess I can’t travel through you, huh?” The boy rubbed his head. He rose to his feet gingerly.”

“The rainbow-colored walkway was made of oddly shaped rectangular rocks with rounded edges. Or so he thought. He knelt down for a closer inspection and found the pathway to be made of a plethora of PEZ candies. “Follow the Rainbow-PEZ Road,”said a cheery voice behind him.”

These kinds of silly throw-backs and pop culture references are riddled throughout the book and made me laugh all the time!! (Sometimes, these sorts of things make me wonder on the shelf life of books as, there may be a day that people don’t understand the references anymore..but, it won’t be while I’m still around!)

There are video game references,

“Well, we don’t have any other leads. Maybe if we pick one of these quests, we’ll get lucky.” Jimbob held out a piece of paper. “I like the first one.” Gemini turned to face Jimbob and snatched the paper out of his hand, saying, “Let me see that sheet.” He read aloud the first quest on the list “Questgiver: Bramaid Hanna. Reward: Ten silver. Quest: Slay five giant rats in the cellar of the Suckling Pig.”

“Enough talking,” cried Leothas. “It is your turn.” Gemini smiled. “So, what you’re saying is that you can’t attack me again until I attack you? Some magical force is making this fight turn-based? What happens if I just don’t attack you back?” Leothas looked stunned. He retreated from his attacking stance into a thoughtful one. He had one hand on his hip and rubbed his chin with the other. “I don’t know. I was always taught to take turns attacking. I don’t know any other way to fight.”“Yeah, good luck with that.” With a smirk, Gemini dropped his wooden sword into the dirt and walked up the road.”
References to certain franchises
“Toonopolis is constantly changing. The more well-known those other worlds are, the more rigid they become, like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Or they become mixed up with so many different minds involved that they don’t even make sense anymore, like the Marvel Universe.”
To movie quotes (By the way… I’m pretty sure I’m in love with Jeremy Rodden for this quote thrown in from one of my favourite movies!!)
“Jack waved at Gemini. “By kids! Have fun storming the castle.”
Gemini had to travel through all of the different Toon realms from Supercity to Animetown to Camenot and picks up some wonderfully hilarious companions on the way
Miss Fire from Supercity
“Let’s see if we can fight fire with fire,” the superheroine said and hurled balls of fire at the wraith drake. The fireballs landed several yards away from Phantasm. “I guess Miss Fire’s not a misnomer,” said Jimbob. Miss Fire whirled on the eggplant with fire literally in her eyes. “Sorry, my mistake. I misspoke. I was misadvised by my brain.”
Wan Wan from Animetown
“Yuki cleared his throat. “I want to help.”Gemini looked sideways at the albino, who clearly was not a fighter. “Take Wan-Wan with you.”The mechanical Akita barked in agreement. “He is more than just a pet. He can help you.”“Yeah, he can fetch us the newspaper and pee oil onto our enemies,”Jimbob asserted. Yuki smiled and whispered something into Wan-Wan’s ear. A panel on the robot dog’s side opened and a missile launcher appeared and pointed toward Jimbob. “Ooh,”Jimbob said, retreating backwards.”
And Hawk from Camenot
“What’s his problem?” asked Angel in an uncaring tone. “We seek to destroy the shadow sorcerer, but we have no more leads, m’lady,” said Hawk. “Ooh, m’lady? A gentleman, eh? Whatcha doing later, Sir Knight?” Angel asked with a wink. “Serving my lord, Sir Goodypants, and assisting Sir Gemini in his quest to defeat the shadowy menace,” Hawk answered. Angel looked disappointed. “A paladin, huh? No use barking up that tree.”
And of course, who can forget Jimbob the talking Eggplant..
“He just sucks it up. Cows, crops, people. He sucked it all up.” Jimbob made a little whimper. Gemini thought at first that he was scared. After a glance at his purple companion, he realized he was trying to hold his tongue. “Just get it out,” Gemini said. Jimbob shook his head. “Come on, just say it.”“The shadowy figure sucks!” blurted Jimbob. “Feel better?” Jimbob nodded his head,”
I also love the tongue in cheek humor throughout the story because, being a Cartoon universe, nothing is ever as it seems!
“Gemini pointed to the sign. “Wouldn’t trolls be out of place here? I mean, they’re not really gothic or creepy. They seem like they’d fit better in Adventure Realm or Camenot.”
“Unless . . .”Jimbob began.
“You’re all probably fat, and I could beat you all up!”cried a voice from under the bridge. “Crap,”said Jimbob.
“What is it?”asked Miss Fire.
“An Internet troll.”
A small creature leapt from under the bridge onto the pathway at the base of it.
Gemini saw a teenager about his own age wearing a T-shirt decorated with a frowning yellow face. He had greasy black hair, fingernails that were painted black, looked as though he might have been crying.
“You’re all ugly and stupid,”said the troll. Gemini stared at it.
“Are you the grumpy old troll that lives under the bridge?”The troll’s eyes lit up at Gemini’s reaction.
“No, Dora, I live with your mom.”
This is a fabulous story that will have you laughing out loud CONSTANTLY! I love the world that Jeremy Rodden has built, I love his characters and I CAN’T WAIT to read the next instalment in the series!! I highly recommend this book to any lovers of Comedy, Cartoons, Video Games, Movies, Pop Culture, etc… SO PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS!!
If you’d like to check out more about Jeremy Rodden and his works please seek him out at:

Toonopolis is Best Served With

Saturday Morning Cartoon Cocktail

 

I found this fabulously nostalgic recipe over at http://www.onthebar.com/drinks/saturday-morning-cartoons and it was just PERFECT!!  Described as a “big kid’s White Russian”

saturday morning cartoons

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Rum
  • .75oz Cognac
  • .25oz Simple Syrup
  • 1oz Lucky Charms infused milk (I’m sure that you could make this with any breakfast cereal though!)
  • Marshmallow Root Bitters (I myself couldn’t track this one down… but, it was still great without!)

Directions

  1. The night before you are going to make this, put lucky charms in some milk and leave it overnight. Strain the cereal out and you have your infused milk!
  2. Mix all ingredients
  3. Garnish with Lucky Charms
  4. CHEERS!!

The Girl With the Rose Eye, and the Power to Change the World

catling's bane

4 out of 5 Stars

“Don’t trust anyone. We’re all influencers one way or another, aren’t we? Make up your own mind Catling, and mind yourself.”

What if, in a world of political unrest, you had no choice to obey? What if there were people who could control your very emotion to their bidding, who could use this “influence” even on the King himself to the point where the people don’t know who’s running the show.. and they possibly don’t care.

This is the world that Catling lives in. Society is broken into classes, with the poorest at the bottom tier and the rich at the top. The land is no longer shared, the land that was once free has been taken to own.

“In all three settlements, Ellegeans have extended their territory, built new walls, severed migration routes, cut forests, and damned rivers. The Farlanders have no rights within the settlements, and formal protests have made no difference. Our relationships are in shambles.”

The descriptions of the Civil unrest in this novel may strike close to home with our own situations, both in our present and our past, and was beautifully unfolded during the story.

“The mark on her eye looks like a rose. A little piece missing on a petal, but a rose, don’t you think?”

She discovers that, when looking through her “birth-marked” eye, she can see the work of the influencers and cut those strings to shield people from being blinded by their surroundings.

“The horror of the three bodies flooded her heart. She sank to the ground by the pigling’s fence and rested her head on her knees, breathing back a desire to retch. “Are you feeling sick from the sweets?” Whitt asked. “No.” She peered up and pointed across the market. “It’s that.” The look on his face told her nothing, his feelings pilfered, his smile hollow. She shifted her shield, cutting him free of the influencers’ touch. Whitt staggered backward, gasping. His gaze darted across the market in confusion before he stumbled behind the wagon and fell to his knees. Choking sobs blended with the hanging-day din.”

This, she learns quickly, is both a blessing and a curse. As she must hide who she is and keep out of the hands of those who wish to use her, or kill her so she can’t use her power.

“What you felt isn’t real, remember that. You can’t trust them, Catling; you can’t trust your feelings. Never forget that.”

This book was so fantastic! The characters were amazing. I’d like to give special notice to Tiler, the foul-mouthed Enforcer, who has a “Mouth full of butt nuggets, heart of gold” and I absolutely LOVED!

“Sodding cockthistles, Gan.” Tiler rested a hand on Catling’s shoulder. “Don’t scare us to death.”

“You’re a damn shaft-slapper, Gan,” Tiler shouted while Nial and two other guards restrained him. “Let me go, you bung-loving asspipes!”

But, all of the characters were wonderfully written and made you love them… which at times could lead to pain and heartache on the part of this reader. I will tell you right now, this story was very unexpected and could get very dark and sad on the turn of a dime, so be prepared for a very crazy ride!

If I had to talk about why it only got 4 stars and not 5, I will say that it is very definitely written with a series in mind, so there is a lot of talk of the political situations, the lay out of the lands, and the history of the people’s in general. It’s a lot to take in. But, it was painted very beautifully and I know it will lead to a very detailed thrilling conclusion! I can’t wait to find out what happens with Catling, Whitt and Gannon!

I can’t say enough about this book!! 

I will stop here so I don’t bore you all to death, but just know that I had about 30 more quotes that I really wanted to squeeze in to this review. So, read the book!

I had a write up about D. Wallace Peach for you all, but I know she’s a bit of an introvert (a woman after my own heart) so, I will spare you the names of her children and dog and just say that she is a fantastic person and a fantastic writer. I you would like to know more about her and her work, please check her out at

Website/Blog: http://www.mythsofthemirror.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Myths-of-the-Mirror/187264861398982

Twitter: @dwallacepeach

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

Catling’s Bane is Best Served With

A Rose Cocktail

So, in honour of Catling’s birthmark, I had to go with a Rose Cocktail… and because of the fact that there are so many variations on this cocktail, I actually made 2 different versions of it!

The English Rose

english rose

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce cherry Brandy or Kirsch

Directions

  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass

The Rose Cocktail

rose cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Kirsch
  • 1 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 3 Dashes of Maraschino cherry syrup or strawberry syrup
  • Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Directions

  1. Same as cocktail above
  2. Garnish with Cherry
  3. Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

 

On Her Majesty’s Supernatural Secret Service

the rook

4 out of 5 Stars

“Dear You,

The body you are wearing used to be mine. The scar on the inner left thigh is there because I fell out of a tree and impaled my leg at the age of nine. The filling in the far left tooth on the top is a result of my avoiding the dentist for four years. But you probably care little about this body’s past. After all, I’m writing this letter for you to read in the future. Perhaps you are wondering why anyone would do such a thing. The answer is both simple and complicated. The simple answer is because I knew it would be necessary. 

The complicated answer could take a little more time.”

Imagine waking up, in the rain, surrounded by bodies, with no idea who you were. That is what happened to Myfawny (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas. She has no prior knowledge to her life except from letters that her past self (if it IS her past self!) has written.

“Your main concern will be to master the running and politics of the domestic Checquy forces. You’ll be meeting with and coordinating the teams of Pawns who work in the country and assigning them to various tasks. You will also oversee the management of the Rooney, working closely with Gestalt. 

Oh, that’s going to be fun, Myfawny thought. 

And you meet regularly with the other members of the Court to coordinate the Checquy’s movements. It’s all fairly self-explanatory, really. 

Oh, well thanks an awful lot, Thomas, Myfawny thought bitterly. It sounds like I’m the Defense Minister of Ghosts and Goblins, but as long as the job is ‘all fairly self-explanatory,’ I’ve no doubt it will be fine. The country might be overrun by brownies and talking trees, but what the hell-there’s always Australia! 

Worst yet, there is a betrayer in her midst at the Checquy Group where she works. A Secret Service group of “talented” individuals who come in handy in certain delicate situations.

“So, I supposed you’re wondering all about the Checquy Group. Oh, and please note that it is pronounced Sheck-Eh. French influences, I think. Or possibly warped by generations of employees mispronouncing it.” 

“The Checquy Group is composed of hundreds of individuals. Some are loke me-they possess powers beyond the normal population. The non-powered members are simply the cream of their respective occupational crops.”

Stepping into the person she was, apparently a boring stepped on pencil pusher, doesn’t seem plausible anymore,

“Myfawny grimly contemplated the content of the residences’s wardrobe. Did Thomas wear nothing but black and gray? She asked herself. I mean, there are thirty good-quality suits here, and not a single one with any personality. No skirts cut above the knee, no blouse that isn’t white. 

The new Myfawny steps up to take charge of situations and her own new-found (to her new self) powers of controlling people’s bodies and minds. Taking on Evil Fungi, Grafters and even Dragons.

This was a great read and I can’t wait to continue the series! It took a little while for me to get into, but with thrill around every corner at whether someone will figure out that Myfawny is not herself, or who she can trust, it quickly sucked me in. It was like James Bond meets X-Men (o.k, maybe less James Bond and more Johnny English since she doesn’t QUITE know what she’s doing some of the time)

“” Charming, ” she said, and noticed Shanty looking at her strangely. “Well aside from the massive blanket of fungus covering everything. But if you look beyond that, it’s really not in bad taste.” Shanty carried on staring at her. “Oh, shut up. Do you see any signs of the Barghests?” 

“No,” Shanty said in a stage whisper. She was holding her large pistol in her hand and looking very tense. “What is wrong with you?” Myfawny whispered back. “You look like you expect someone to grab your ass.” 

“I’d be okay with that, as long as it was a personal,” whispered Shantay. “It’s when it’s the decor reaching out to cop a feel that I get nervous.””

All in all a highly recommended read for all of you sucked into the “Super Hero” fad going on in full force out there!

The Rook is Best Served With 

Mind Eraser

mind eraser

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur
  • 4 ounces soda water (or enough to top off an old fashioned glass)
  • lime wedge for garnish

Directions

  1. Fill an old fashioned glass with ice.
  2. Pour the vodka and coffee liqueur over the ice.
  3. Fill with soda water.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve with a straw

*The soda is open for interpretation. I like plain soda water, but I have seen this drink served with lemon-lime soda and ginger ale before as well. So pick whatever you think best!!

Cheers!!

An Elevator Ride Straight to Hell

elevator quest

4 out of 5 Stars

I’d like to thank Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for an Advanced Read Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think we’re in the office building anymore, Arnold!

What can I say about this book except, Wow…. just Wow.

An elevator full of people who work together in an office building plummet and find themselves? Where? Is this Hell? Some kind of Game? A part of the building we’ve never seen? They all must work together to fight and escape or die trying.

“Is this hell? Maybe, but who knows for sure? What I do know is that there is a path ahead of us. We can choose to take that path and see where it leads,” Arnold motioned towards the patch, “or we can sit here and die.” Moving back to pick up the crest on the ground before picking it up and tossing it to Jiro, who caught it and slid it into his pocket. “I, for one, refuse to die here.”

They each come across a weapon that calls out to them: the rogue, the black mage, the healer, the monk, the berserker, etc. taking on RPG (role playing game) roles like they are within a live game (with deadly consequences) and acquiring skills they didn’t know that they had. Working through the levels they must defeat the monsters and bosses they meet in this hellish place in which they find themselves.

I had a love hate relationship with this book. While it was an amazing story, it was a little confusing having about 14 characters from the beginning all doing things at once. It was a long time before you really got to know any of the characters with any real depth as well because there were just too many of them. The fight scenes seemed jumbled because there was just too much going on at once to follow everything, and there were SO MANY fight scenes that the book almost became exhausting, BUT WHAT A RIDE!

I will warn you readers now… don’t become too attached to any characters! You may have a rude awakening if you do! This story is definitely for those who can handle things like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” There are many twists and turns and it’s definitely not a “And they all lived happily ever after” sort of novel. Which, I actually loved! It is a great thrilling read, I highly recommend it. I would have given it 5 stars if it was just a little better organised and edited!

Released on Feb 6 2018 it’s something everyone should be putting on their TBR list!!

Elevator Quest is Best Served With

Health and Mana Potion Shots

health and mana potions

Ok, So maybe it’s a vodka cranberry and a hypnotiq martini… But, It definitely cures what ails me!!

Ingredients for Health Potion

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • Top with Cranberry Juice

Directions

  1. in a highball glass (or a potion bottle) pour in vodka and grand marnier (I like the Grand Marnier for a little twist!) and top with cranberry juice!

Ingredients for Mana Potion

  • 2oz Hypnotiq Liqueur
  • 2oz Vodka

Directions

  1. Fill a shaker with ice
  2. Pour in vodka and Hypnotiq
  3. shake for about 20 seconds until cold
  4. Pour into martini glass (or potion bottle)

It’s definitely Magic!! CHEERS!!