Mini #BookReviews | The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart (#SciFy #Thriller) and Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli (#YA # Fantasy)

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

Comes out Tuesday, February 22, 2022

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder. Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past. Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls. None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see. On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims. January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders. There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once. But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own. At once a dazzlingly time-twisting murder mystery and a story about grief, memory, and what it means to—literally—come face-to-face with our ghosts, The Paradox Hotel is another unforgettable speculative thrill ride from acclaimed author Rob Hart.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love the title – The Paradox Hotel – because it brings up so many possibilities for the setting. And the premise is very intriguing, catching my interest very quickly. Reading it, though, began immersive and compelling and then became a bit confusing with all the back and forth in the timeline, foreign concepts I had to wrap my head around, and a preponderance of characters.

The story is told through January Cole’s eyes. I did not find her particularly likable, but I did empathize with her situation. She suffers from Unstuck, a disease brought on by the radiation required for time travel. She has trouble discerning between reality and future possibilities that look as real to her as if they were happening here and now. The reader shares in her confusion, which, while that creates an immersive atmosphere, also unbalanced me, much like January is unbalanced.

This futuristic story has plenty of sexual diversity, which adds so much to this time travel tale. I did love the mystery with all its twists and turns; the thrills, like the dinosaurs running loose, made the pages flip faster and faster; and the ending, which was just perfect.

Overall, I found The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart to be a complex premise and a compelling, immersive story but a bit too impacted by Unstuck for me to five-star enjoy it.

Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli

Comes out Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Can love survive the dark? No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions. When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching. Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar. With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice. Haunting and romantic, Kristen Ciccarelli’s Edgewood is an exciting novel from a bold, unforgettable voice in fantasy.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli is a wondrous and magical urban fantasy that took my breath away with its vivid imagery, creative new creatures, and fascinating magical system. The story comes to life, particularly from the halfway point on, and the imagery explodes with sensory descriptions and depth that quickly pulled me in. Now, if you wonder why that doesn’t happen until the halfway point, all I can say is that there is a reason with a shocking twist that is jaw-dropping and illuminating in all of the best ways.

The twists are many, and they kept me glued to the page as I only guessed one before it happened. I also enjoyed that the town lore about the Woods proved true and that it is inescapable by the families who live in Edgewood no matter how far they travel. The characters are all interesting, and the backstories are fascinating, notably Hawthorn Fell, the tithe collector for the Wood King. His romance with the main character, Emeline Lark – an enemies-to-lovers story- is touching and shows the transformative power of love in new and unexpected ways.

Ultimately Edgewood is a journey of self-discovery for Emeline Lark. She has moved away from Edgewood to achieve her musical dreams but finds that she has to learn about herself and where she comes from to understand what she values most before ever reaching her heart desires.

Lastly, I loved the magical creatures, from the fiery horses to the terrible dragon, Claw, who shows the dangerous side of magic but with a bit of wonder that kept me in awe. If you love imaginative stories, then Edgewood will keep you enthralled with its breathtaking beauty and jaw-dropping twists.

31 Replies to “Mini #BookReviews | The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart (#SciFy #Thriller) and Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli (#YA # Fantasy)”

    1. I love the cover of Edgewood so much that I started to order a signed copy – that is until I noticed they were charging a shipping fee that was equal to the cost of the book. I refuse to pay $25 for shipping a book when it’s in this country. Crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great reviews! The Edgewood looks and sounds stunning. I was worried it’d be a bit too creepy for me (something about this cover gives me ghostly gothic vibes and I’m a total weenie) but your review has me wanting to pick it up anyway! 😂

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    1. It is a bit creepy but I never felt scared, so I’m not sure if it would scare you. I don’t think so but I’m not positive. Maybe try a sample of it if you get interested enough.


  2. I’ve been hearing that The Paradox Hotel is rather confusing to read. I ‘m going to pass on that on, but Edgewood has me intrigued. I love the idea of all the creatures and folklore woven into it. Your review has definitely tempted me!

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    1. It did remind me of your use of folklore, though I think (though I’m not sure) that the author created the folklore for her setting. It still reads as genuine. I could see where you would enjoy this one. It’s YA but the characters are out in the world adulting not in high school, so it’s an older YA – true young adult.

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      1. I’ve created folklore a time or two myself, so kudos to the author. And I like that the characters are a bit older. I can see myself really liking this one!

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  3. Terrific reviews, Tessa. I like the premise of The Paradox Hotel, but I like the story of Edgewood too.

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    1. I think you would like Edgewood. It has a great romance to it. Technically it’s YA but there are no characters in high school. Everyone is out adulting.

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  4. We’re of the same opinion on Paradox – definitely a little confusing. Edgewood sounds like something right up my alley, but I wouldn’t have expected that looking at the cover. May have to check this out on NG.

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    1. I’m glad it’s not just me regarding The Paradox Hotel. I wasn’t sure. But Edgewood is definitely the kind of story you would like – it has a dragon – just saying 😉

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  5. Both of these sound good to me, Tessa. I like the idea of Unstuck in Paradox Hotel though I can see how it might create confusion. It seems like a book that requires concentration – I have to be in the mood for that. And Edgewood sounds wonderful and engaging since I love creative world-building. Thanks for the reviews and recommendations!

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  6. Wonderful review for Edgewood Tessa. I have that one coming up shortly and I am getting antsy now. It sounds beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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