Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy Book Birthday, Book of Peril by Melissa McShane!

The Last Oracle, Book Two
by Melissa McShane
Curiosity Quills Press
Paranormal, Fantasy

As the custodian of the oracular bookstore Abernathy’s, Helena has faced any number of challenges in learning her new role. But when the store begins giving out false prophecies, Helena comes up against her greatest challenge yet: how can she fix Abernathy’s when she doesn’t truly know how it works?

Armed only with a few special talents and her desire to protect her magical charge, and with the assistance of her best friend Viv, her reluctant assistant Judy, and the enigmatic and handsome Malcolm Campbell, Helena must navigate the treacherous depths of the magical world, where secret enemies lurk behind illusions capable of fooling even the most powerful of magical entities. Helena is the only one who can see past those illusions, but will her abilities prove strong enough to save the oracle?

Note: Although this is classified as an adult read, the main character comes across young enough for the upper end of the Young Adult audience to connect with. Except for several violence scenes (which don't run into the category of over gory or surpass the average YA level by any means), there isn't anything inappropriate for the YA audience.


Magic, mystery and a bit of chaos mix to make an entertaining read, which hooks until the very last page.

Helena has established her place as the custodian of the book store. She still has some things to figure out, but she's getting there. Or so she thought. More and more often, the oracle is leading her to the wrong books—something that should never happen. And it's getting worse. If Helena doesn't figure out what's going on and how to solve the problem, not only will her position become obsolete but the entire magical world could fall askew.

I read the first book in this series and highly recommend starting with it before hitting Book of Peril, since the background information is essential to understand what is going on in this book. 

I loved this one as much as the first. Helena has grown a little more self-assured, and she's just as likable as before. Her concern for others as well as her desire to protect the oracle makes her simply wonderful. Not everything always works out...she is a bit stumbly...but it makes her that much more endearing.

While the plot in this one at times seems to ring a familiarity with the first book, it does take unexpected turns and ends up with a fresh and surprising turn. Her run-ins with magic come at a different level and some angles hit at a more personal level for Helena, giving the reader a better insight into her and her past. There's a wonderful play of magic against normality, which allows the entire fantasy aspect to settle in easily.

I love the book store feel to this series—one can almost smell the dust on older books and feel the spines beneath the fingers. Wrapping it all up into a magical bubble with a hard to solve mystery, a very likable main character and a dash of romance which barely hits with a breeze along the side creates an easy to read book, which draws into the pages. It's a light read yet still holds tension, and simply allows the reader to escape into another world.

I can't wait to see what Helena goes up against next.

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