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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

From the author of Sing Me Forgotten comes a lush new fantasy novel with an art-based magic system, romance, and murder… Myra has a gift many would kidnap, blackmail, and worse to control: she’s a portrait artist whose paintings alter people’s bodies. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone. But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor's dead son. Once she arrives at the legendary stone mansion, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. A killer stalks these halls--one disturbingly obsessed with portrait magic. Desperate to get out of the manor as quickly as possible, Myra turns to the governor’s older son for help completing the painting before the secret she spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.…

A Forgery of Roses

by Jessica S. Olson

Overall Book Review:

What happens when you mix art, magic, murder, and romance?  You get the recently released novel entitled A Forgery of Roses by Jessica Olson.

I was first attracted to this book not due to the storyline, but due to the cover art.  The beautiful deep red rose looking slightly burnt and not perfect instantly made me wonder just exactly where this story would go.  But upon starting to read, I was even more captivated.  The novel at first seems a straightforward story about a girl with a special ability to take paintings and change the real world through touching and changing her paintings.  The interesting piece to this is the duality of the gift.  Not only does the person require the ability to manipulate the magic, but they also require an artistic ability to render the world very accurately through their paintings.  This duality was an interesting take on magic that I hadn’t seen before.

The setting is relatively non-descript.  In fact, I don’t recall a year ever being provided.  But the carriages and methods of conveyance, the references to clocktowers, and the general description of dresses, balls and clothing make one feel like it is early to mid-century.  The characters are limited in scope and easy to follow which really works for this book as there is great depth provided to the main characters that allows one to feel closer and more ingrained in the story.

I never saw the ending coming and to me that is the best kind of mystery book.  While I would classify this book as more fantasy-magic in genre, the mystery of it all really kept the pages turning.  And wowsers, the ending came completely out of left field for me.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a sequel as the ending perfectly teed one up and if it is anything close to this one, it will be well worth the read.

Review based on an electronic copy provided by the Publisher.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  16 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names.

Violence/Gore:  References to disappearances and murders; small non-descript wound on dog’s leg; report of death from a fall; multiple verbal threats; smashed skull on a corpse; pool of blood on ground and on wound of deceased; graphic and gruesome paintings of dead and mutilated bodies; fall on ice with minimal injuries; woman grabbed by face and shoved down stairs; injuries from jumping from carriage; woman is tackled and cut with a knife in arm; woman smashes furnishings in an apartment; report of miscarriage; multiple page violent fight with blood, graphic blood from knife wounds and imprisonment of a woman with arm and feet bound;

Sex and Nudity:  Walking arm in arm; hands on small of back and waist; two instances of hand holding; two kisses;

Mature Themes: 

Death, suicidal thoughts, murder, forgery.

Drug and Alcohol Usage: 


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.