July 2021 Book Reviews

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Book Review: THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano (OwlCrate Book November 2017)

“The Glass Spare”

The Glass Spare #1

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more to explore the world and wander, like the life her mother once led, Wil dreams of freedom but as a spare heir, she doubts the king will ever give her a mission beyond their kingdom. Then tragedy strikes as she develops a power to turn whatever living thing she touches into gems. Forced to flee her kingdom, Wil must now navigate the world while trying to find a way to break her curse.

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7 Great Things about THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Midas Touch

Lauren DeStefano’s “The Glass Spare” appears to be inspired by the Greek myth of King Midas who turned everything he touched into gold. In “The Glass Spare,” the main character Wil is cursed, turning anything living into a gem upon touching it. Obviously this kills whatever she touches and sadly only takes a few seconds to be devastating. While a curse to her, many others see her as a viable asset for unlimited riches.

2. Curse

The main differences between King Midas in the Greek myth and Wil’s character in “The Glass Spare” is that King Midas wishes for his powers while Wil is cursed with it. Loom is another character who is also cursed in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Siblings

Wil and her two brothers, Owen and Gerdie, are absolutely heartwarming together. All three of them confide in one another and look out for each other in a way that I wish all siblings could. Sadly though, their other brother does not share their bond and actually appears to have a deep hatred for all of them, especially Wil. Regardless, DeStefano portrays loving sibling relationships in “The Glass Spare” that are based on trust, respect, love, gratitude, and healthy boundaries. Serious sibling goals.

4. Tragedy

Sadly, Wil’s curse causes the death of a beloved brother and it was heartbreaking. Wil struggled with blame and survivor’s guilt, both being understandable for how things went down. Interesting though is that through that event, she comes to realize that her father loves her more than she believed. He does not even attempt to kill her but rather banishes her because he does not have it in him to kill his daughter. Of course, the whole situation could have been avoided if he hadn’t ordered Wil on a dangerous mission to begin with.

5. Characters

“The Glass Spare” is rich with different characters, each with unique backgrounds, goals, and personalities. You have an exiled prince who is cursed and willing to sacrifice his life for those he loves. Then there is Zay, his wife, who is a powerful warrior, fierce mother, and loyal friend. Gerdie, Wil’s brother, who doesn’t allow his physical limitations to define him and is a genius, especially with alchemy. Even the bad characters are interesting as we try to figure out their end game for Wil.

6. Ruling

Both Loom and Wil show incredible responsibility and understanding of what it actually means to rule a kingdom. They both realize that when kingdoms go to war, it is the people that suffer the most. It’s not about the money spent from the treasury or the land or goods that may be obtained from winning, it is the people who pay the price on both sides and nothing materialistic is equivalent to a life. Loom and Wil love their kingdoms and only want what is best for the greater good. They both learned empathy through suffering and would make better rulers than their parents.

7. The Cursed Sea

The story of Wil and Loom continues and concludes in The Glass Spare book 2: “The Cursed Sea.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 6 Tender Things about TOUCH OF STEEL by Kate Cross

“Touch of Steel”

Clockwork Agents #2

by Kate Cross

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary:  Gravely injured while fighting Howard, the murderer of her beloved brother, Claire Brooks falls into the hands of the Wardens of the Realm. As an agent for the Company, she is now at the mercy of her enemies and chooses to defect in order to reach her goal. Teamed up with Warden Alastair Payne, they hunt Howard while pretending to be engaged. An irresistible attraction develops between Alastair and Claire and they must decide if they are truly allies or enemies.

6 Tender Things about TOUCH OF STEEL by Kate Cross

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Claire

A deadly agent who loves fiercely and loyally as evident in the way she hunts the murderer of her beloved brother.

2. Friendship

Kate Cross created characters that show friendship at its best! Without knowing Claire, Arden and Luke stand beside Alastair’s decision to include Claire in the Wardens because they trust and love Alastair, no further proof was needed.

3. Alastair

While Alastair has many faults, including coveting his best friend’s wife and being a stubborn ass, he is a good man. Publicly defending and proclaiming his love for Claire redeemed him in many ways.

4. The Heat

Erotic scenes between Alastair and Claire were hot and steamy.

5. Happily-Ever-After

“Touch of Steel” was quite the rollercoaster and while it turns out Claire’s brother was a huge dick, Claire at least got her happily-ever-after with Alastair as they continue fighting as Wardens of the Realm.

6. Breath of Iron

The Clockwork Agent series continues in Kate Cross’s next steampunk novel “Breath of Iron.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Homely Things about Kate Cross’s “Heart of Brass”

“Heart of Brass”

Clockwork Agents #1

by Kate Cross

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary:  After 7 years of hoping that he was still alive, Arden Grey sees her husband with her own eyes, as he tries to kill her. Luke remembers nothing of their love or anything before he was Five, an agent for the Company. Working for the Wardens, the Company’s sworn enemy, Arden must find a way to get Luke to remember her and their life or risk them having to say goodbye forever.

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7 Homely Things about Kate Cross’s “Heart of Brass”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Arden Grey

Incredibly smart, Arden is not only employed as a woman but is an inventor. This woman has no problems telling the status quo to f-off and to take matters in her own hands. Even with her husband back in her life, she does not allow him to tell her what she can or cannot do.

2. Estranged

“Heart of Brass” had the unique premise of the main hero and heroine already being married, just estranged.

3. Characters

Character development was done well and realistic that both Arden and Luke would be different after 7 years. It was a pleasure watching them fall in love and find their way back to each other again while still being who they are.

4. Marriage

Kate Cross gives an honest view of marriage, it is never perfect and entails forgiveness and a lot of compromises.

5. Steampunk

The Clockwork Agents series takes place in 1898 London with added steampunk elements creating a vibrant, interesting setting.

6. Happy Ending

“Heart of Brass” was an overall imaginative and riveting story that came to a touching, happy conclusion.

7. Touch of Steel

Thankfully Kate Cross’s steampunk Clockwork Agents series continues in “Touch of Steel.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.