The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart
Comes out Tuesday, February 22, 2022
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
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.