Author: Justin Bowers

Justin is a purveyor of fine code, a collector of many many things, and a sympathetic reader. Aside from here, you can find his inane rantings on Twitter at @aquaphase or on Goodreads. Justin can be reached here.

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

This book was provided to me by NetGalley in return for a fair review

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This book was an absolute wonder; a tale of women who tried, and women who dared. Women who took the rules and norms of an uncertain time in their hands and used the ways, the words, and definitely the will to attempt change an untenable situation.

Basically put, the Eastwood sisters are moderately fledgling witches who each set out, individually, from their horror of a home to find a better life in the city of New Salem. Each has their own motivation, and none figured their sisterhood would figure into their bigger pictures.

What pulls them back together is a promise for renewed magic and a strong danger with powers and wiles vastly unknown to any of them.

You have the stalwart Agnes, who finds herself working in a small factory, the studious Bella who satiates her craving for knowledge at a library, and the youngest, and wildest of the three, James Juniper, who embodies the piss and vinegar required to help pull everyone together to right the wrongs pushed on them by a male-dominated society.

In the unfolding of this amazing tale, Ms. Harrow presents an incredibly multi-faceted approach at the history of women and the ways of their folk, their mothers, their mothers’ mothers and the subtle wending of witchy ways.

Set in the backdrop of a rising suffragist movement. Very quickly, the Eastwood sisters, June most of all, pulls together a group of high-spirited compatriots to try to sort out the troubling storm brewing in New Salem and the apparent rise of one Gideon Hill.

What unfolds is a very heartwarming tale of determination and sacrifice; a grand story of rediscovering lost histories and unearthing the untapped potential in those who have seemingly lost everything.

This is definitely a book I will be revisiting. The characters are all rich, diverse and very relatable. The twists are all incredibly well-formed and exhilarating as well as heart-breaking. For every gain of self-realization, there also comes the heartbreak of the reality of choices.

I would not have changed anything at all.

Order your copy here.

Book Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4)


I went on a binge of this series and thought I would review the entire story arc here in the “final” book (though I should probably have done this in the first book).

With an incredibly envy-inducing talent for worldbuilding, Ms. Aveyard perfectly sets the scene for these novels (and novellas!). This series, and War Storm in particular, has an amazing foundation of landscapes, history, cultures and conflict that draw the reader in and masterfully set the stage for the tale that is about to unfurl.

At it’s core, the Red Queen series is a story of class conflict, control, and societal woes. One wonderful thing about these books, and Ms. Aveyard in particular, was that there was no pandering to the reader for the pitiable plight of any of the characters or situations. Each happenstance or situation seemed to be designed to help strengthen resolve or establish a disparity.

With War Storm we are dropped right into what we are told is the final wrap-up of this saga. Conflict still ravages the lands, and even more divides are starting to show. There is almost more behind the scenes conniving as there is open war and conflict. I often found myself checking how much of the book I had left when I would run into yet another new dire situation that seemed impossible to resolve by the end of this finale.

If you have made it through Red Queen, Glass Sword, and King’s Cage you will definitely not be disappointed by War Storm. Does it wrap everything up in a nice little bow? Absolutely not. Does it satisfy the reader enough to leave these Kingdoms behind? Again, no. You will, though, burn through this page-turner and feel satisfied that there is plenty of world left for Ms. Aveyard to approach again if she chooses.

I definitely hope she does.

Book Review: This Eternity of Masks and Shadows

** NetGalley provided me an ARC of this book for an honest review **

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Oh what an incredibly fun jaunt of a book!

This is the tale of world in which the gods of old — of all pantheons and traditions — walk among mortals with their full array of divine powers. Some lead normal lives, some fight hidden fights, and some seek to use these strengths for personal gain.

Cairn Delacroix is a relatively normal teenager whose mother happens to be Sedna: the Inuit goddess of the sea and marine animals. Sedna’s sudden death by apparent suicide leads Cairn and a growing cadre of friends and foes through a tumultuous spiral of power, half-truths, self-discovery, and intrigue.

I’m a total sucker for mythology and extraordinary powers stories, and this one hit all the right buttons. Karsten Knight masterfully weaves together the right dashes of grief, noir, the fallibility of the human (and superhuman) condition, and the struggles of modern life in this tale of justice and redemption. While there were a few storylines that I would have liked to have seen drawn out and expounded upon, I was, nonetheless, very pleased by the rollercoaster the story presented.

I would very much like to see more written in this world. The possibilities seem almost endless.

Order your copy here.

It’s all about quality

It’s back to school time, so my social feeds are packed with folks looking for and offering vinyl monogramming for lunchboxes, cars, tumblers, etc.. I’ve done a couple of monogramming projects, but I don’t really advertise for anything other than fandom-related things, so I just don’t jump into that realm that often. With the easy availability of the Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines, a lot more people are able to enter the creative space than ever have.

There is one major thing that separates most casual vinyl crafters from the others: vinyl quality.

Words about words (Part 1)

Many of you know that I’m a huge fan of reading. I’ve almost always got three books going at any given time and I keep an iPod of audiobooks in my car for any time that I’m in the car alone. If you are on Goodreads, saddle up and say hi. Without it, my TBR list would be a horrible mess and I would probably be years behind on releases.

Soo, here’s where I inundate you with what I’ve thought is really awesome lately (and by “lately,” I mean the last five years).

Slacking off already?!?!

Yep, there is nothing quite like launching a new content channel and then slagging off for almost two weeks. I’d like to say I had a good excuse, but really I was slacking off with the Mrs. down in Southeast Georgia.