The Hatter’s Wife by Anna B. Madrise

The Hatter's Wife

Title: The Hatter’s Wife

Author: Anna B. Madrise

Publisher: Black Quill Enterprises

Date of publication: February 1st, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore

Number of pages: 89

POV: 1st person

Series: No

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Maddie Milner is mad.

She’s mad about being left behind in the town of Topside and mad about not being mad enough to go that…that…place.

But most of all, Maddie’s mad to get her husband back – the Hatter – whose been stuck at a never-ending tea-party somewhere in the depths of Wonderland.

With time finally, on her side, Maddie is determined to find a way into that…that…place – to save her husband, and make them all pay…especially, the Queen of Hearts.

Maddie was left behind.

She hasn’t forgotten.

Now she wants revenge.

My review:

I absolutely loved The Hatter’s Wife. Written in 1st person, you are taken through Wonderland while Mad Maddie Milner searches for her husband, Tippery Milner….aka The Mad Hatter.

As a fan of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (I have read both), I appreciate how closely the author followed those stories but at the same time put her own spin on them. I liked that the Mad Hatter had a wife who missed him and was willing to do anything to get him back.

Maddie Milner was hilarious. She was very focused on getting her husband back from Wonderland and had to do some insane things to even get into Wonderland from Topside. To get there involved a yew tree, a pocket watch and a piece of chalk.

What I liked the most about Maddie is that she was unabashedly snarky and she admits, right in the beginning, that the story she is telling is being told to someone in her head. As with most Wonderland/Topside residents, she isn’t really all there….lol.

Her adventure, once she gets to Wonderland, was truly that, an adventure and of course, here I am laughing during it all. I will say this, the Queen of Hearts did get what was coming to her. I never liked her, even when I read the original books.

The end of the book was very interesting and I believe it couldn’t have been more perfect for this story. I do hope that the author takes another trip into Topside/Wonderland again!!

How many stars will I give The Hatter’s Wife: 5

Why: I loved reading this short story about Wonderland. The author did a great job of creating new characters that were based on the original characters in Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. The snarkiness of this book was fantastic too, as well as the play of words. Like I said above, I had to reread chapters because of the wordage and laughed while I was doing it.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen (16+)

Why: No sex or language. But there is violence.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

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Sprite by Anna B. Madrise

Sprite

Title: Sprite

Author: Anna B. Madrise

Publisher: Black Quill Enterprises

Date of publication: November 14th, 2016

Genre: General Fiction, Fairy Tales

Number of pages: 123

Series: No

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Wild and reckless Blaine Frost takes things too far one night when, after a Christmas party, he drunkenly wraps his sports car around an evergreen tree. With his girlfriend Noel, trapped and unconscious inside the crashed car, he swears he will do ‘anything’ to right his wrong.
His words are heard by a winter sprite, who decides to grant him a second chance by taking him on a journey through his memories in an effort to shine a light on where he has gone astray.
But Blaine is steadfast in his stubbornness causing Sprite to pull out all the stops. She gives him an ultimatum; he has seven days to unearth the virtues of compassion, charity, courage, and joy within his heart or by the final stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, Noel will belong to Sprite…forever.
When Blaine wakes up the next morning, he finds that all is as it should be or so it seems; his sports car is untouched, the excitement of the holidays is in the air, and his girlfriend Noel…is nowhere to be found. Not only is she missing, but she’s not in a single picture, and none of his family and friends can recall any memory of her. It’s only then that Blaine realizes that the night before wasn’t a dream.
Living in a parallel universe under the watchful eye of Sprite who has turned his world turned upside down, Blaine races against time to honor his word that he will do “anything” to save Noel. It’s a journey of redemption where one man must learn to warm his frosty heart and discover the true meaning of Christmas from within.

My review:

On the way home from his parents annual Christmas party, Blaine Frost wraps his Porsche 911 Carrera around an evergreen tree on the way home from his parents annual Christmas party. As he awakens, he was knocked unconscious, his first thoughts were about how this was Noel, his girlfriend’s fault. Forget that he was driving drunk and speeding, it was her fault because she got sick at the party and wanted to go home. He quickly forgets that when he sees Noel wedged in the front seat, barely alive. His focus, then, became on getting her out of the car. As he remembers the first time he met her and keeps belching up martini’s from the party, he tells her that he would do anything to have her smile at him again and that he would do anything to make it right.

As soon as he said that, he hears a young girl’s voice ask him if he would do anything. Thinking that he is hallucinating, he sees a white, bright, small girl with wings who calls herself Sprite sitting on the top of the Porsche. After exchanging some words with Sprite, he tries to get Noel out of the car. Instead, as he starts to pass out, she blows sparkly powder at him and says this rhyme:

Tick-tock, tick-tock goes the clock. The bells chime on. They never stop. Tick-tock! Tick-tock!”

Sprite then takes Blaine on a visit of 3 memories/situations that had recently happened and showed what a jerk he was. From telling the homeless man who is panhandling to try to raise money to feed/clothe his sick child to visiting the children’s ward of the local hospital where his mother routinely volunteered and where Blaine refused to set foot in to his job, where his employees were complaining about missing anniversaries and children’s musicals because Blaine would have not been kind about granting them time off to a memory of Blaine thinking that he gave Noel the perfect gift and it ended up not being what she wanted.

Sprite gives Blaine seven days, starting on December 18th, to learn the virtues of compassion, joy, charity, and courage. If he hasn’t learned those virtues in the seven days that she has given him, then Noel will belong to her. With that, she blows the powder in his face and sends him back in time.

When Blaine wakes up, he is in his office. Feeling poorly, and noticing that his assistant has no recollection of Noel, he decides to go home early. He makes the decision to send the office home for the holidays…which is out of character for him. As he calls his best friend to see if he had any clue what happened the night before, he notices that the picture he usually has of Noel and himself from a trip to the Grand Cayman’s has been replaced with a picture of himself holding a drink. Even more baffling was his best friend telling him that he doesn’t have a girlfriend.

He heads to her apartment and is told by the woman who owns the building that no one named Noel lives there. After freaking out on the woman, he heads to the park to collect his thoughts and Sprite makes an appearance. That is when he remembers everything…..

Will Blaine complete his challenges in time? Will he get Noel back in his arms or will Sprite have her forever.

Want to know? Read the book!!

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This was a fantastic and imaginative rewrite of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. I really liked that instead of having the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, the author reworked it so that Blaine had to learn the virtues of compassion, joy, charity, and courage. It was different and it definitely kept my interest.

I loved how Blaine’s character progressed in the book. He went from being this self-centered, mean and, dare I say it, immature man to a giving, mature man who went out of his way to help others. Granted, he was changing to get Noel back but still, it was wonderful to read. I teared up when he was the hospital, granted it was with T and Cabbott and was helping on the 4th floor. When he was telling the little girl a story and cheering her up had to have been one of the best scenes in the book. It was a definitely a tear-jerker.

I really liked Sprite. The mental image I had of her was this small girl with white, white hair, huge wings, a great laugh and a big bag of invisible snow. Her showing up at the hospital and riding the cart made me laugh. Also, her rhymes were pretty cool.

The end of the book was what I expected in one way but I totally didn’t expect everything that happened. Talk about what a difference in people!!!

How many stars will I give Sprite: 4

Why: Like I said above, this is a wonderful, imaginative retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. For a short story/novella, it packed a lot of punch. The characters were fleshed out and the storylines kept your attention on the story.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Language and mild violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Wrath of the King (Tales of Dovewood: Book 2) by Anna B. Madrise

Wrath of the King (Tales of Dovewood #2)

Title: Wrath of the King

Author: Anna B. Madrise

Publisher: Black Quill Enterprises

Date of publication: July 11th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Children’s Fiction

Number of pages: 264

Series: Tales of Dovewood

The Hobgoblin Queen – Book 1 (review here)

Wrath of the King – Book 2

Black Magic Rising – Book 3 (expected publication year: 2018)

Curse of the Book Mage – Book 4 (expected publication year: 2019)

Standalone: No

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

The Hobgoblin Queen finds that time is stacked against her to master her newly acquired magic all while preparing for the impending war with New Taleggia. In a final plea to bring the Trow home to Boggleann she strikes a deal with those malevolent shadows hoping that her bargain does not cost her the very souls that she is trying to protect. King Vezzen, the supreme authority over all of New Taleggia and the town of Bettelburghal is bitter that his rule extends no further. Trapped on the island of Dovewood he is obsessed with claiming the rest of its land and tapping into the untold magical treasures that await him deep in the mountains of Boggleann; home of the goblin-demons which he plans to destroy. With a single Simulacrum ring in his possession and the knowledge of how to use it, King Vezzen decides the time has come to smite his enemies once and for all. Will Dovewood survive the wrath of the king or will a new era of evil overtake her?

My review:

Wrath of the King starts off shortly after Mundane falls through the pool into Boggleann, the Hobgoblins hidden city.  She is taking a tour of her new kingdom, revealing in the beauty of the Hobgoblin craftsmanship. As she walks, she is being watched by her new subjects, the Hobgoblins.

She sends out Scrape and Scratch to find Fickle. Fickle was one of the first Hobgoblins that she met and had helped her in her quest to get the gems to complete the Simulacrum necklace that she now wears. Fickle was captured at the end of The Hobgoblin Queen by the evil King Vezzen and is being held a prisoner in the dungeons under the castle. Unknown to Queen Umadenn (Mundane’s new name), his ring, which allows him to shapeshift, was cut off his finger and is in the hands of Lorcan, Javen’s brother and the Book Mage to King Vezzen, who is experimenting on it to see exactly what it does.

Back in the village of Whistlestoppe, life is going on as usual, except for one thing: the Kitchen Witches are aware of the Hobgoblins and are keeping them a secret from King Vezzen. Two of the Hobgoblins, Guile and Grouse, have stayed in Whistlestoppe and they help out around the village. But that peace will not hold because King Vezzen has turned his attention to the village and vows to eradicate the Kitchen Witches in his mad obsession for power.

Queen Umadenn has learned to shapeshift (thank to her necklace) and she decides to go and visit the Trow, Hobgoblins who have been transformed into evil beings by anger. While visiting them, she promised that they could have King Vezzen if they agree to help her during the battle that Queen Umadenn knows will be coming. They agree and that is when she sees Fickle, who is half transformed. She goes to take him and the Trow try to attack her. She transformed into a spirit being, which fills the cave with light and frightens the Trow.

King Vezzen prepares for battle and the Hobgoblins and Queen Umadeen find help from unexpected sources. There are amazing battles and deaths before the book goes into its amazing climax.

Will King Vezzen win and get into Boggleann? Will Queen Umadeen be able to defeat him? What about the Kitchen Witches and Whistlestoppe? What will happen to them?

***********************************

Normally when you get into a second book in a series, there is a lull and it falls a little flat. Not this book. It kept up with the speed and the momentum from the first book. It sucked me in and I love books like that. What I also liked that while this book was darker, it was still appropriate for tweens on up. Like I said in my earlier post, I would have my 11-year-old read it.

Queen Umadeen’s resolve to defeat King Vezzen was incredible. For her to go to the Trow and demand that they help her was a true sign of her inner strength. And to go to battle with him after what happened and not try to kill him right away, instead of waiting for the Trow, was another sign too.

I also liked that her friends accepted her for what she was. She thought, with the changes to her appearance, that her friends in Whistlestoppe would not like/accept her. Which made me want to cry.

I also got a little weepy eyed over the Fickle storyline. That poor Hobgoblin :(.

I was happy that I was proven wrong about Javen. He ended up being Queen Umadeen’s biggest supporter. He helped Whistlestoppe in a big way that they can never forget.

The end of the book was a little sad but explained a lot about certain things. Strike that, a lot sad. It ended on a cliffhanger…grrr. Since I am invested in this series, I am going to have to read the next book when it comes out.

How many stars will I give Wrath of the King? 4

Why: I thought that this was a great 2nd book in this series. There was no lag and the author kept up the pace from the first book. I did enjoy learning about the Trow and I also enjoyed reading Queen Umadeen’s experiences in shapeshifting.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Tween

Why: Mild violence. No language or sexual situations

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

The Hobgoblin Queen (Tales of Dovewood: Book 1) by Anna B. Madrise

The Hobgoblin Queen (Tales of Dovewood #1)

Title: The Hobgoblin Queen

Author: Anna B. Madrise

Publisher: Black Quill Enterprises

Date of publication: August 19th, 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Children’s Fiction

Number of pages: 282

POV: 3rd person

Series: Tales of Dovewood

The Hobgoblin Queen – Book 1

Wrath of the King – Book 2

Black Magic Rising – Book 3 (expected publication year: 2018)

Curse of the Book Mage – Book 4 (expected publication year: 2019)

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Mundane Bergamot is just a simple Kitchen Witch from Whistlestoppe Village who thinks that there is more to life than gardening and cooking up spells with her Aunt Dovie. While traveling to Bettelburghal she meets Javen, a mysterious Book Mage from Nettlespire, who gifts to her a most unusual magic book which triggers a visit from two very extraordinary adventurers. She learns from her new-found friends that they need her help to save them and their kind from a terrible fate. Through Javen’s gift, clues begin to reveal themselves that sets them on their quest. But the evil King Vezzen of New Taleggia has plans of his own for the elusive creatures that inhabit the mountains beyond Dovewood Forest. Where previous kings have failed, King Vezzen is determined to succeed and impatient for a new war that could elevate his name above all others. Now Mundane must see if she has what it takes to out-smart the wicked king, save her friends from the brink of extinction, and quite possibly lift the curse that binds them all to Dovewood Island.

My review:

The Hobgoblin Queen starts off in the village of Whistlestoppe. Whistlestoppe is a village of Kitchen Witches and the village is getting ready to celebrate Yule. They celebrated with a feast and with a bonfire in which they burn a large timber bird and call out to the four corners (North, South, East, and West). After the bird is totally consumed by flames, the party begins.

At this party, Mundane Bergamot is sitting with her best friend, Absidee Valerian, and Absidee’s baby sister, Lottie. They are taking in the Yule feast and talking about crushes (mainly Absidee’s crush, Brason Vervain) and Mundane’s upcoming trip to the town of Bettelburghal to help her aunt’s friends sell their wares.

Mundane feels that there is something missing from her life and she can’t figure out what. While she loves Whistlestoppe, she is restless, wants to travel and gets her chance when Henley and Gittel Lovage goes to Bettelburghal. She would never move away from home. Her Aunt Dovie, who has raised her since she was 8, lives there plus all of her friends. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father, well he died in a horrible accident at sea when Mundane was 8. Everything she knows and loves is in Whistlestoppe and she could never leave for good.

The next day, she is getting ready to travel with the Lovages when Aunt Dovie gives her a beautiful green cloak for Yule. After saying goodbye to Aunt Dovie and traveling a little while, the Lovages decide to take a break and then take a different path to Bettelburghal. The path that they are going to take takes them to The Crossway (where all the roads to all the different areas meet), where Javen the Book Mage lives. Javen is one of the few survivors of a war in the Book Mages ranks that happened at Nettlespire (where they lived). That war almost wiped them out.  Mundane is excited because she is finally going finally meet a Book Mage.

By the time they reach The Crossway, it is night and Javen is waiting for them. As Mundane is admiring Javen’s books, he gifts her with a book. A blue, leather-bound book with the letter B on the cover. She doesn’t get to read right away. She fell asleep the first night, traveled through a snowstorm and then was helping the Lovages unload their cart.

She does notice the chickens at the stable and thinks that it is odd for them to be outside in a snowstorm. It was after a bath and her musing about how the seas around Dovewood were not allowing the residents to cross, that she opened the book.  And oh, boy, she was in for a surprise.

The book was full of blank pages that all of a sudden started to fill. A map of Dovewood appeared with all the cities drawn in extreme detail. Mundane is surprised to see that her treehouse is prominently featured, along with other features in other cities. On the map itself, there are X’s and arrows but no words. After taking her fill of the map, she turns the page and a riddle appears on the next page. To what, Mundane has no clue but she does know one thing…..she has a Goblin book. Goblins are creatures of myth in Dovewood and no one in recent years have seen one.

The next day, Mundane puts in a morning work but she notices that the chickens from last night are seeming to follow her. Telling Gittel that she is tired, Mundane goes to her room to nap. As she approaches her room, the same two chickens run into her room and morph into two small men. They introduce themselves as Fickle and Frazzle, hobgoblins.

After getting over her shock of seeing hobgoblins up close, Mundane shows them the magic book that Javen gave her and they show something big. She is chosen to find the gems that were scattered by two brave hobgoblins, Guile and Grouse, put them in a necklace called the Simulacrum and save the hobgoblins who were turned into Trow by their anger over being hunted by King Vezzen, the King of the Taleggians. The magic book that Javen gave Mundane was written for her and could be only for her. It is a lot for Mundane to take in and she asks until before she leaves town to make up her mind if she is going to help them or not.

While Mundane is being told all of this, King Vezzen is on an obsessive hunt to exterminate all hobgoblins and find their city. He believes that destroying the hobgoblins will lift the curse that keeps the island isolated and he also wants what he thinks are treasures that are in their mountains. He has become all consumed by his obsession….to the point where he is ignoring his son, Prince Stelvin, and his wife, Queen Sora. He also has a secret in the dungeon of his castle. A big secret that could be the undoing of the hobgoblins. He also has enlisted the help of the only other Book Mage alive. That Book Mage is Lorcan, Javen’s brother.

Mundane does make up her mind and decides to help the hobgoblins after reading a letter from her long-dead father. Her father was instrumental in making the Simulacrum and the gems that go with it.  After she arrives home, she discovers that her Aunt Dovie is part of this plot to help the hobgoblins. Dovie sheds even more light on the hobgoblin saga. They come up with a plan to send Mundane out-of-town on a supposed apprenticeship. That way, her going missing wouldn’t raise the suspicion of a mysterious spy in their midst.

With those plans set in place, Mundane is off on her grand and dangerous adventure. Meanwhile, King Vezzen is getting more bloodthirsty and more obsessed with having the greatest power over Dovewood. Will Mundane be able to gather all the gems in time? Or will King Vezzen succeed in getting what he wants?

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I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. From the names (Absidee gave me a big laugh) to the people to the adventure, it sucked me in. I couldn’t read enough of it. I also love that I can be very comfortable with my 11-year-old reading it!!

I really felt a connection with Mundane. I loved how she looked for the positive in everything….even when she falls out of towers…lol. Her commitment to the hobgoblins was impressive and touching.

I also connected to Fickle and Frazzle. They were fighting for their people’s lives and they were willing to follow Mundane on her quest and help her with it. Plus they could shapeshift into anything (mice, chickens, and cats were portrayed).

I am still on the fence about Javen. While he is coming across as a good guy in this book, I really have my doubts about how good he is and what his agenda is.

The end of the book does end in a cliffhanger and it made me crazy. I really wanted some closure on certain storylines. Guess I will have to read book 2 to find out what happens.

How many stars will I give The Hobgoblin Queen: 5

Why: This was a fantasy book that took me back to when I started reading fantasy. It has everything. An engaging storyline, well-rounded characters and an evil King who was truly very evil. I also love that I can have my 11-year-old daughter read this book because it is age appropriate.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age Range: Tween on up

Why: No sex, no language, and mild violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**