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Book Review – Jinn & Juice by Nicole Peeler

Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Lyla nears the end of her servitude — only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human? Born in ancient Persia, Lyla turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry — by cursing Lyla to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself.

If she can remain unBound, Lyla’s curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans.

Oz needs Lyla to help him penetrate Pittsburgh’s steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Lyla, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more — it could risk her very soul…Jinn and Juice is the first in a new series by fantasy writer, Nicole Peeler, set in a world of immortal curses, powerful jinni and belly dancing

Nicole Peeler and I have always seen eye to eye. Her Jane True series is a firm favourite of Kristal and myself. Not only does she nail the Urban Fantasy genre every single time, but her characters are everything I love and more. I kid you not, this lady can do no wrong! So how excited was I for her new book, Jinn & Juice. A new world and new characters, the possibilities were endless. Are you getting the gist of how excited I was? Well my excitement was well placed. This book delivered and then some!

The story is about Lyla, cursed to be a jinni in some wicked bargain a loooong time ago, her curse will be lifted if she can keep from being bound by a Magi (pesky humans who can bind and use jinni) Of course life is NEVER this simple and Lyla ends up bound… This is where things really get interesting. Oz, the Magi who has bound her really isn’t anything like the others of his kind that Lyla has encountered. For a start he’s kind, and he’s not selfish, and he needs her help to help someone else. From here the story twists and turns and I guarantee you wont see the ending coming.

When it comes to anything Nicole Peeler I like my heroines hilarious, snarky, kick-ass and generally pretty damn awesome. Lyla ticks these boxes easily, she is one sassy lady! Every step of the way she is nothing but authentically herself. You find out very quickly that even though as a jinni she must follow her masters orders, she still has her ways to skirt certain issues. Let me tell you, you’ll never look at a cantaloupe the same again!

Which brings me to the potential recipient of the cantaloupe treatment, Oz. At first he seemed barely a cardboard cut-out compared to Lyla’s loud and rambunctious personality. But bit by bit he won me over, he may not have smacked me over the head with other worldly pizazz, but he did add the very important carefully constructed human element that the story needed. In fact, he really was the ying to Lyla’s yang. You could tell from the start that this guy was Mr nice, and there is nothing wrong with that!

As always, Nicole Peeler’s world building was on point. Everything was meticulously laid out, from the steel poisoned magic running under Pittsburgh, right through to the magical realm, Sideways. I loved Lyla’s back story and not once did I feel like I’d learnt everything about her or this world, which personally I am all for. I don’t want to be done learning new facts about this universe and these characters, everything I’ve learnt so far has me wanting to know more. I was thankful that time was taken to explain all of the detail, but not once did the story feel bogged down by it. The weird and wonderful supporting characters obviously had a lot of care and thought put into them, creepy (Trip & Trap) AND kooky (pretty much everyone else) they really topped off an already fantastic read. I have to make special mention of Yulia, I never have been so amazed and petrified simultaneously by a supernatural creature, but this wisp had me (she also had me googling all things wisp related)….

 This book is the start of what I am sure will be an awesome series.

I can’t wait.

Jinn and Juice

By Nicole Peeler

photo credit: danseuse via photopin (license)photo credit: SmokeWisps-4.free via photopin (license)

Book Review – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

ARC Received from Netgalley

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

This book was a very welcome surprise for me. I knew it was a historical YA type read. I knew that it focussed on America amidst the women’s suffrage movement and I hoped it was really going to grab my attention. And thanks to very clever writing it absolutely did!

Olivia is the daughter of a dentist father, is supposed to be the perfectly behaved young lady that society expects her to be… She is also book smart and is a progressive thinker. She strives to be a part of the movement that intends to earn women the same rights as men and is enamoured with the changing tide of what is expected of women. She is, in so many way, the epitome of a teenager… She is just the 1900 equivalent to our modern day teens. These days we strive for our children to question everything, we encourage independent thought and tell them that they can do anything. However this was not always the case and if there is one thing this book does very well it’s that it reminds us to remember just how far we’ve come and what’s at stake if we become complacent.

I am a history buff, I love a good historical read, so this book was always going to catch my interest. However this book has something more than that, a point of difference that really makes its presence known. The very mysterious hypnotist Henri Reverie manages to bestow on Olivia a very unwelcome gift. Resulting in not only her seeing things ‘the way they really are’ but seeing them with so much gruesome detail that suddenly there are fangs, yellow eyes and evilness personified at every turn. THIS detail. THIS part of the story is what pushes this book into the ‘something special pile’.

At the very basis of the story it is a fictional telling of a young females experience during the time where women were fighting for their right to vote. For their right to be heard. For their right to fight to be equals. What the author has done so cleverly is write it in a way that it’s an accessible history lesson, rich in descriptive supernatural elements. This story is a story that makes me proud to be female, proud of where we’ve come. Education and entertainment wrapped so perfectly together you don’t realize where one ends and the next begins, definitely a ‘must read’.

The Cure for Dreaming

By Cat Winters

photo credit: El Bibliomata via photopin ccphoto credit: national museum of american history via photopin cc