Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Fantasy Adventure The Colonel And The Bee by Patrick Canning

The Colonel and the BeeThe Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

4 stars

The Colonel And The Bee is a fantasy adventure. It is set during an unnamed historical era of discovery and has some similarities to steampunk.

It opens in Switzerland, with Beatrix who is a thirteen-year-old circus acrobat. One evening she grabs a chance to run away with a mysterious man, whom she saw earlier in the audience.

Colonel Bacchus is an eccentric collector and adventurer, who travels in a hot air balloon known as an Oxford Starladder. It consists of a four storey, wicker-framed home which is suspended from an enveloped-shaped balloon. The Colonel allows Beatrix to accompany him as he searches for a mystery ginger haired man. They fly to Belgium where they discover a dead man. He has a riddle in his pocket; the clues from it send them on a hunt for a precious jewel. As they follow further signs, the trail mixes with criminals who also want the jewel. The companions criss-cross Europe, and then fly over Africa as the try to solve the riddle.

There were elements of magical realism which surrounded the hot air balloon and its basket home. I was delighted by all the detail and contents of the wicker house, in particular the nesting Manx birds, and the botanical gardens where the Colonel grew his many flowers. The story was full of many unique characters; some to love, others to loath. I thought the first half of the book was very good, but the second half dragged and I found the ending a little disappointing.

Overall, the hot air balloon was the highlight of this book, giving it a steampunk and magical fantasy feel. This became overpowered by the mystery adventure element that led to the final denouement.

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Book description

A peculiar explorer and downtrodden acrobat span the globe on a building-sized hot air balloon, in search of a precious artifact and the murderous treasure hunter who seeks it.
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Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.

What dangers await the Colonel and the acrobat?

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#Newrelease My #Bookreview of magical realism #fantasy #romance RIVER by @TheIndiaRAdams

River (A Stranger in the Woods, #2)River by India R. Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four point five stars.

River is book #2 of The Stranger In The Woods series of magical realism tales. Set in woodlands of North Carolina, book #1 introduced us to Guardian Warrior Elves, entrusted to guard humans against evil and bring balance to the universe.

In a complex love triangle, two elves fell in love with Rose, a human, who became pregnant. She could not choose between her half-blood best friend and her soulmate, but the child she carried was surrounded by a prophecy, and blood demons wanted to kidnap her for their leader.

In book #2 baby Rain has been born. Rose and her baby are now part of the Elven community and live with them deep in the woods. Guards are assigned to protect both Rose and the baby, but will it ever be enough against the evil of the one called King? This powerful entity of the underworld is able to manipulate time and slip beings into alternate universes. No one knows the lengths he will go to, to have Rose by his side.

This is an emotion filled book. Adams knows how to write characters that grasp you and tie you to their story. It is written in alternating chapters from points of view of Rose and Ryder. There are multiple layers of themes within the story: the Elvish ways, spirituality, the good versus evil and sexual relationships. But they are written in such a way that they also reflect deep human needs, emotions and teachings that have got lost into today’s speeding world of consumerism. However, the book isn’t slowed down by the emotional depth, or lost on a spiritual path. Adams uses plenty of light-hearted banter to lift the mood and show us the camaraderie of the Elves.

A good second book to a series, but I would recommend reading book #1 (Rain) first to get the most from this fantasy series.

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Book description

He wipes blood from his mouth with his bare arms. “I need you to hold still so I don’t feel the need to chase and conquer. Do you understand?”
I feel his breath on my skin. “My chances if I run?”
“None.”

I had wondered if I would be strong enough to love Ryder, my stranger from the woods. I learned that I was—still am. But now Ryder, Gunner and I have a young together, Rain, the Princess go the Guardian Warriors. And a very powerful being, King of the Shadow Clones, wants her dead. The only time I ever saw King was in the dream where forced a kiss on me, sending me into labor. Yes, I learned I was strong enough to love Ryder, but with a new stranger in the woods, will he be strong enough to love me?

About the author

India is either hiding away and writing in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, in a studio writing and recording songs for the Forever series, in yoga trying to find her Zen (that keeps escaping her), walking down an old dirt road (no joke), outdoors with her dogs and family (because to live without the sun is a crime), in a coffee shop talking books, or floating in a lake (when the weather permits). She thinks reading books is the answer to all problems (and having a glass of red wine is a fabulous second solution). She loves to chat with readers because she says they are brilliant and most passionate.

India R. Adams

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