When bookshops are something more

The Book of Secrets Book Cover The Book of Secrets
The Last Oracle
Melissa McShane
urban fantasy, contemporary
Curiosity Quills Press
(18 Feb. 2018)

Helena Davies just wants a job that will get her out of her parents’ basement. Abernathy’s Bookstore is disorganized, out of the way, and smells funny, but it pays well and promises to at least be interesting. She has no idea how interesting her life will become. By the end of the first day, Helena has a dead boss in the basement, an unexpected promotion, and the news that she is now a part of an endless war against creatures from another reality.

As Abernathy’s newest custodian, Helena is responsible for its secrets, including the most important one: Abernathy’s isn’t just a bookstore. It’s the world’s only living oracle, producing prophecies to help fight the war against alien invaders bent on draining this world of its magic. Helena’s job is to find books to answer questions put to the oracle by the Wardens, fighters in the Long War. It seems simple enough, but Helena’s new job is anything but.

She has allies: her best friend Viv, from whom she has no secrets; Harry and Harriet Keller, elderly magi skilled at uncovering secrets; and the enigmatic Malcolm Campbell, warrior magus and one of the few who have faith in Helena’s abilities. But not everyone is thrilled that an outsider now has charge of one of the world’s most powerful magical entities. Helena must defend herself against the antagonism of Judy Rasmussen, who’d expected to be the next custodian of Abernathy’s, and her father William, powerful leader of the Wardens and someone with an agenda of his own.

Without training, without any knowledge of the magical world, and facing the hostility of those who’d wanted someone else to be Abernathy’s custodian, Helena must navigate the treacherous waters of her new world and find a place for herself within it. But there’s still a murderer on the loose, someone who intended to control Abernathy’s by killing its custodian—and Helena might be next on his list.

At first I thought that this was going to be another magical library bookshop where magic happens – eg people fall in love because they meet there – but no, this really is a bookshop that holds secrets and answers within its books. It is in fact an Oracle – like the Delphi Oracle only you ask the bookshop the question you want answered, and it sells you a book! Just for you as it has your name on it and your price that you must pay. The answer is in the book…

And who runs the bookshop and takes the money? – well a rather nerdy and very un-magical girl.

This is the first book in a new series and i look forward to reading the others. I liked the concept and the fact that books are the answer to all questions – well I’m sure they really are as a book fanatic!

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Billionaires for sale?

Billionaire Investor Book Cover Billionaire Investor
Small Town Billionaire Romance #1-5
Alexa Davis
contemporary fiction, romance, humour

Justin is a self-made man, with millions to his name. But he also has a needy brother tagging along, spending his money almost as fast as he can make it, without any desire to pull his own weight. This leaves Justin with two choices: cut his brother loose or find a new investment.

In truth, he knows the right choice is to make his brother stand on his own, but the guilt is too much. So he starts seeking out new investments, which leads him to Annie and her combination café and bookstore.

Unfortunately, her store isn’t the right investment for him, but Annie herself is irresistible. And her daughter is just too lovely, making him start to see a new future for himself. But between his business and his brother, can he really find room in his life for Annie and her daughter?

A series of 5 books of which I only read the first as too bored to read further.

I kept saying ‘you can’t franchise the idea of a bookshop that sells coffee and cakes, and behaves as a community centre’ – and finally the heroine agreed. I really can’t even consider why anyone, even the author thought this was a good idea for an investor – so as the characters are clearly very far from business minded I decided, as they say on the Apprentice ‘You’re fired’ to the books.

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