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ARC Mini Reviews: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen, Showtime at the Apollo by Ted Fox & James Otis Smith, & A Mark Unwilling (The Reckoning #1) by Candace Wondrak

Happy Monday everyone!  Today I'm sharing three ARC mini reviews with you: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen (ARC received from Book Publicity Services & to be release February 2nd, 2019), Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem's Legendary Theater by Ted Fox & James Otis Smith (ARC from NetGalley and released January 8th, 2019), and A Mark Unwilling (The Reckoning #1) by Candace Wondrak (also received from NetGalley and  May 1st, 2018).  Thank you to both Book Publicity Services and NetGalley for providing these ARCs for honest reviews!  Read on to see my thoughts on these three novels:

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Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M Bergen is an awesome MG fantasy series opener. I'm so happy I agreed to try this novel because it's a real gem. I couldn't help but become attached to Thomas and the rest of the diverse cast and the author's world-building is perfect for the story. It certainly kept me turning the pages because I just couldn't wait to see what was coming. It doesn't hurt that the story takes moves at a good pace and features a great adventure and an engaging mystery. I have to admit I love just how important books and reading are to magic. My only issue is with the dialogue because at times it's a little too stilted, awkward, and dated. Overall, though, Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is a wonderful story that would be perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

I read this ARC from December 18 - 21, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

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Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem's Legendary Theater by Ted Fox is a graphic novel adaptation of the author's 1983 history of the historic Harlem theater with a few new updates. The African-American theater has a legendary musical history with the best of the best performers gracing its stage. Fox's graphic novel brings the rich musical history and cultural significance of the Apollo to life. Even though I read an unfinished copy of the ARC, I still enjoyed the history lesson the author presents. It's fantastic that he covers from the moment it was built to the present, but I definitely found myself most interested in its earlier days from the 1930s through the 1940s. Anyway, like I mentioned before, I read an unfinished ARC and quite a bit of the artwork is either not there or rough sketches (sometimes just circles where people were supposed to appear on the page). Even though it I believe I still got all of the text from the pages, I still felt a bit out of the loop since I was missing a significant portion of this history.

I read this ARC from December 22 - 23, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.


A Mark Unwilling (The Reckoning #1) by Candace Wondrak is an urban fantasy with a lot of potential. In short, before Lexa was born her parents sold her soul to the devil for money and power. She's now somewhere in the middle of the angels, demons, and the old gods during the apocalypse and when the demon (not at all like what she expected) who owns her soul comes to collect she knows it will not end well. However, her demonic Mark makes her pretty much invincible, so nothing better get in her way. Anyway, it sounded really cool and it was a quick read, but there were so many things that could have been better looking back on it. Firstly, I would have liked to have known a little more about the world Lexa lives in, particularly how all of the biblical figures and mythological characters coincide together since that's never really mentioned. Secondly, characterizations - I like Lexa's well developed sense of sarcasm, but she's absurdly reckless even if her Mark makes her immune and unfortunately the majority of the rest of the cast is too flat for my liking. Thirdly, I know I read an ARC but there were quite a few typos sprinkled throughout that took me out of the story. Finally, Candace Wondrak's A Mark Unwilling has the potential to be a great new Supernatural-esque urban fantasy novel, but although the plot is intriguing the book never quite lives up to that potential.

I read this ARC from December 22 - 23, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Do you plan on trying either of these new and upcoming releases?  What are you reading this week? As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!  Happy Holidays!


  1. Thomas Wildus sounds like fun! I've been watching Harry Potter marathons on TV all weekend so I'm in the mood for something similar😁

    1. So much fun! Ooh, an HP marathon - I should do the same. :)

  2. Ah darn! I was hoping A Mark Unwilling would have been a hit. That cover is so awesome!


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