Quick Reviews: The Circus Rose, Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: Night of Knives, The Key to Everything

The Circus Rose

Author: Betsy Cornwell

Published: June 16th, 2020

Publisher: Clarion Books

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations

Format: eBook

Source: Edelweiss+

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.

Clocking in at around 300 pages, this book is a quick read with a fast paced plot! This is a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red with several fun twists and turns along the way! Twin sisters raised in a circus, one a performer and one a behind the scenes engineer, take on religious extremists and fight to save the people they love and their circus family. Great representation of gender identities in this book and nominal use of correct pronouns for characters who do not identify as CIS. Lots of action, fun magic, and an interesting world packed into this novel! And look at that cover! This is a great Own Voices story that I highly recommend! This is a great book for readers who enjoy books by Leigh Bardugo, Mackenzi Lee, and Laini Taylor! I received a galley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Clarion Books and Edelweiss+ for this opportunity! Get your copy below and follow the author on social media!


Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: Night of Knives

Author: V. E. Schwab

Illustrator: Budi “Buddy” Setiawan

Published: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Titan Comics

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Format: eBook

Source: Edelweiss+

Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book adventure continues the story begun in The Steel Prince – perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy!

The young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, having faced the terror of the Pirate Queen, now aims to capture the respect of the combative port town of Verose – by taking the impossible challenges of the Night of Knives…and surviving, where none has survived before!

These are the hidden, secret adventures of Maxim, from long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic!

Collects Shades of Magic #5-8: Night of Knives

The continued adventures of Maxim Maresh, the stately King of Red London and father to Rhy Maresh in the A Darker Shade of Magic series. Like my review of the first volume, I wanted to comment on the intricate and versatile writing of V. E. Schwab. Translating a story from a complete series of novels to a graphic novel is no small feat. Much of the story must be conveyed in the illustrations in graphic novels and I think the collaboration here between author and illustrator really worked well! Buddy Setiawan borrows elements from the first volume to create something wholly new! I’m really glad they used more than one artist for these graphic novels, I think the story itself really works well in this way. Overall, a nice graphic novel! I received a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.


The Key to Everything

Author: Valerie Fraser Luesse

Published: June 2nd, 2020

Publisher: Revell

Number of Pages: 352 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction / Adult / Romance

Format: eBook

Source: NetGalley

After WWII and a family tragedy, Peyton Cabot seeks connection with his troubled veteran father by retracing the trip he’d taken from Savannah to Key West at the same age. The adventure forces Peyton to come to terms with his identity and decide how much he’s willing to risk for the girl he loves.

The Key to Everything is my first book by Valerie Frase Luesse. I didn’t know what to expect, but I found a touching and poignant coming of age story in an interesting time period. I’ve found that many books I read are set either before WWII or 1960 and after, not many are set in the period following the war.  I enjoyed the journey Peyton took both physically, on the road from Savannah to Key West, and emotionally, through his struggle to find his identity and come to terms with his father’s death. This book is well-written and entertaining. It is a perfect beach read or summer read!  I received a galley copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley!


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