White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson
9/14/2021 by Katherine Tegen Books
I want y’all to know I started this before bed, fully intending on reading just a few chapters, and then stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to finish.
I literally could not put it down.
If you want a creepy mystery, this book has it all.
– A blended family with lots of tensions who is moving to this new town for REASONS.
– Their new house happens to be located right smack dab in the middle of a burnt up, run-down neighborhood that has been through some hard times. (understatement)
– The narrator is a young woman who has had a history of addiction and anxiety issues and YOU know she’s reliable, but no one else seems to believe her.
– GHOSTS (maybe)
– A menacing community leader.
– A little girl who is honestly one of the eeriest things about this book.
– So much backstory between the main protagonists and the town’s origins and downfall.
– A surprising ending that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Highly recommend this read. But do yourself a favor and do not read before bed.
Final grade- B+
Gutter Mage by J.S. Kelley
9/21/2021 by Gallery/Sage Press
I was quite intrigued when I read the blurb for this brand new series by a new to me author.
Fantasy and hardboiled noir in this fast-paced, twisting tale of magic, mystery, and a whole lot of unruly behavior.
In a kingdom where magic fuels everything from street lamps to horseless carriages, the mage guilds of Penador wield power equal to the king himself. So when Lord Edmund’s infant son is kidnapped by the ruthless Alath Guild, he turns to the one person who’s feared by even the most magically adept: Rosalind Featherstone, a.k.a. the Gutter Mage.
But as Roz delves into the circumstances behind the child’s disappearance, she uncovers an old enemy from her traumatic past and a long-brewing plot that could lead to the death of countless innocents, as well as the complete collapse of Penadorian society itself!
Going into any new fantasy series is sometimes a challenge with all the worldbuilding and character setup, but this book was so easy to follow along. There are mages who harness spirits and those spirits power any and everything you can think of. The people in this world also use symbols carved into things for a number of reasons, including protection.
The heroine, Roz, is an abrasive, flawed character who has quite a complicated background. She doesn’t consider herself a mage, but rather an arcanist. There are many reasons for this and they are all tied into that complicated background. Roz has a snarky sense of humor, she’s honest to the point of being painfully blunt, she drinks heavily, smokes whenever she finds someone with good tobacco and doesn’t mind turning to violence when the situation calls for it. I really liked her.
She gets talked into an investigation of a missing child by her best friend turned partner Lysander, a big, hulking giant of a man who is the muscle to Roz’s magic detective skills. This investigation soon turns super complex and confusing when the duo eventually realizes all is not what they were told or what it appears. Weird things are happening. Which sets them on a road trip adventure to find out what is really going on. They are eventually joined by Roz’s ex, a mage named Orlando who has his own fun powers to add to the mix.
I won’t go into plot specifics, but suffice it to say the case leads them into some shocking directions.
Gutter Mage was a fun, fast read and I really enjoyed it. Kind of a detective story meets magic-fueled fantasy. I very much look forward to diving back into this world.
Final grade- B