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Title: Calico Thunder Rides Again

Author: T. A. Hernandez

Published: 5th of Novembre 2019 – Sanita Street Publishing

Format: Digital – 200 pages

“During moments like this, he could understand his father’s passion for the magic and grandeur of the circus – how it could become so intoxicating that it turned into an obsession.” – Calico Thunder Rides Again

Hello Hello! How are you all?

I’m kicking off the week with a new review and a new #BBNYA2020 #blogtour organised by Dave from @The_WriteReads. I wasn’t sure about this book during the competition because the cover really put me off for some reason, but a lot of panellists said that they really enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a go!

Calico Thunder Rides Again came 7th place in the BBNYA competition. I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.

If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website here, or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 author sign up form here. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering.

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)!

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!), and the book blogger support group The Write Reads.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the Most Fantastic Show on Earth…

Three years ago, the Ban changed everything, outlawing certain forms of magic and bringing about the rise of powerful crime syndicates. Now, speakeasies in every city sell illegal charms and jinxes, and bootleggers traffic restricted potion ingredients across the country. But even in this changing world, the magic of the circus still acts as a wondrous escape and provides entertainment for all.​

Jake Strickland owns one such circus, inherited after an accident ended his career as a rodeo dragon rider. He also inherited the circus’ financial troubles, but since the show became his, he’s slowly managed to turn it into a profitable business once more. Or at least, that’s what he thought.

When a dangerous mobster comes to collect an old debt, Jake resorts to desperate measures to get the money before a strict deadline. With lives and livelihoods at stake, he battles the clock, his responsibilities to the circus, and a longstanding personal grudge that has festered for years. Can he pay back the mob before it’s too late?

MY REVIEW

Calico Thunder Rides Again by T. A. Hernandez is a standalone fantasy book in which we meet Jake Strickland and Grace Hawkins, who work at the Strickland’s Circus. I’m not the biggest fans of circuses so I wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy this book, but funnily enough, by the end of it, I would have liked to have seen a lot more of the circus.

This is a circus with a bit of a difference to the ones we know and have been to as children because it has unicorns, wyverns, griffins and even a dragon! But more importantly, maybe, the crew that works at the circus seem to really care for their animals and want the best for them.

Since this book is set in the circus, I was expecting to see a lot more of the circus, see more of the circus acts, more of the behind-the-scenes, and while the plot is set nearly constantly at the circus, I feel like the majority of the events in this book weren’t actually focused on the circus itself. Well, no, actually they were, but not in the way I was expecting. There were a few instances of the circus and the shows, but I was expecting and really would have liked to have a lot more actual shows and seeing them all together behind the scenes instead of just following Jake through his troubles.

I felt like the writing style and the pace were strong and they helped move the story along. The author has a knack with words, and I did really like reading about the bits that were really focused on the circus shows and the crew members because it was interesting to see. This was a book with a unique plot, and I’ve not read anything like this before.

Saying that, I was a little bit disappointed at the end because I had expected a lot more from this book. The blurb mentions a Ban that we actually only hear a tiny bit about and I think I needed some more history to this story to be immersed fully. Also, I feel like I didn’t get as much magic as I would have wanted. Finally, I found that the title kind of spoiled the end of the book and within 15% of the end, I knew what was going to happen. I was also expecting a larger focus on Calico Thunder herself, and unfortunately, I just didn’t get that.

MY THOUGHTS AND RATING

Overall, this was a really interesting, unique and nicely paced book that took the theme of the circus and turned it on its head. I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this book, I did enjoy it, but not as much as I was expecting and I feel like it was just lacking on certain points to make me enjoy it even more.

However, the author’s writing style, pace and imagination are really good and they lend a lot of magic to the book because the moments that really focus on circus life sweep you up completely. This was actually quite a fast book to read, again 200 pages isn’t a very long length for a fantasy, and in hindsight, I would have liked more focus on the circus, on Calico Thunder herself and less on Jake’s troubles. I know they are the main point of the plot, but I just wasn’t expecting it to be executed quite so narrowly focused on that.

I gave this book 3.5 stars (full ASPECTS rating below). I did enjoy this book, I just wish it had given me more of what I was expecting, but that’s just me being picky. If you like books with magic, a unique circus setting, interesting animals and characters, then this is the book for you!

Thank you to the teams over at @The_WriteReads and @BBNYA_Official for letting me read this book and letting me be part of the blog tour!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – T. A. HERNANDEZ

T. A. Hernandez is a science fiction and fantasy author and long-time fan of speculative fiction. She grew up with her nose habitually stuck in a book and her mind constantly wandering to make-believe worlds full of magic and adventure. She began writing after reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings many years ago and is now is happily engaged in an exciting and lifelong quest to tell captivating stories.

She is a clinical social worker and the proud mother of two girls. She also enjoys drawing, reading, graphic design, playing video games, riding her motorcycle, and making happy memories with her family and friends.

Author’s Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterInstagramFacebookPinterestAmazon

ASPECTS RATING

Atmosphere – 5

Start – 5.5

Pacing – 6

Ending – 6

Characters – 6.5

Theme – 6.5

Style – 7

Total = 42.5

3.5-star rating

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If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon FRAmazon USThe Book DepositoryWaterstonesBarnes and NobleBlackwell’sBetterWorldBooks

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