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Book Review: The Town of Superstition, by R.G. Thomas

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Book One: The Midnight Gardener

At fifteen, Thaddeus Cane has moved thirty-two times with his father. Each time he’s displaced without explanation, Thaddeus loses any friends he’s made. The name of their latest town is Superstition, but it seems normal enough, with one exception.

Thaddeus’s bedroom window gives him a view into the beautiful gardens next door. Every night after dark, an attractive guy around Thaddeus’s age appears to tend the plants. When Thaddeus visits his neighbor, he discovers not only how deep his interest in the other man runs, but also that Teofil, the midnight gardener, isn’t human. He’s a garden gnome, a revelation that will lead to more secrets coming to light and an adventure unlike anything Thaddeus ever imagined.

Book Two: The Well of Tears

Thaddeus Cane’s life changed when he learned he is the son of a witch and a wizard, and now he’s undertaken a mission to find his mother, who was cursed not long after Thaddeus was born. He enlists the aid of his father, Nathan; his boyfriend and neighbor, Teofil Rhododendron, a garden gnome; and Teofil’s mother, brother, and sister. As they journey through a world that seems normal on the surface, they meet many magical creatures, some kind and helpful, others evil and dangerous. When Nathan suffers a life-threatening injury, Thaddeus might be forced to abandon the quest to find his mother in order to save his father.

Book Three: The Battle of Iron Gulch

Thaddeus Cane and his garden gnome boyfriend, Teofil, travel with Teofil’s mother and sister, Thaddeus’s father, and a new elf ally to Wraith Mountain, armed with the water from the Well of Tears. Thaddeus hopes to use the water to free his mother—cursed to take dragon form by the witch Isadora—and reunite her with her family. But their quest is far from over, and the party is forced to stop in the small village of Iron Gulch while they procure supplies for their trip up the mountain.

There, Thaddeus continues to gain strength in magic, and he will need it, because something is rotten beneath the idyllic facade of Iron Gulch. A new and dangerous adversary is bent on the destruction of not only Thaddeus and his friends, but everyone living in the town—unless their group can put a stop to it. The fight will be one of the hardest they’ve faced, but if they can prevail, it should prepare them to make their final stand against Isadora and put an end to her cruelty.

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Book One: The Midnight Gardener

Book – The Midnight Gardener (The Town of Superstition #1)
Author – R.G. Thomas
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 123

Cover – Lovely!
POV – 3rd person POV
Would I read it again – Yes.

Genre – Young Adult, Paranormal, LGBT, Magic

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine

I’m a big lover of young adult, supernatural stories and the minute I read the blurb for this one, I was desperate to read it. It didn’t disappoint.

Thaddeus is like any other teenager his age – a little awkward, unsure, moody and sure that he’ll be fine, because he’s older now and smarter for it. The trouble that he got into in the story was always believable, realistic and intriguing.

From page one, I wanted to know who the mysterious midnight gardener might be and what he might be. I wanted to know what creature was stalking Thaddeus from the woods and just why there was a feeling of something being different about him, though I didn’t know what.

About halfway through, I got all the answers I could want. They weren’t thrown at me, but handed over gently, a little at a time, as Thaddeus and I learned the truth at the same time. The way the magic was revealed was gentle and considering – nothing being thrown in just for the sake of making it more interesting. Everything had it’s place, it’s meaning and it’s use. While Thaddeus and I sat back and tried to put the pieces together, things began unravelling and it felt like a real journey.

Like I said above, it really felt like I was travelling through this story with Thaddeus, just as confused and unsure of what to believe as he was, when he was. When the few revelations were made, I’d already been set up to somewhat believe them (mostly due to Teofil’s confession) and it made the thought of dragons, gnomes and witches being real that much more believeable.

Personally, I fell in love with both Thaddeus and Teofil early on. They were these sweet, narky, adorable teens that were relatable, but also very much like the teens I remember from high school. Each a little bit weird, a little guarded, a little unsure and yet drawn to each other in a way they couldn’t explain. The chemistry between them was sweet and perfect, from the start. Never over stated, limited often to just a look or a blush, their romance had more of an effect on me and was more natural than some adult romances I’ve read.

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This is an exceptional young adult novel, full of intrigue and mystery, with enough of a dash of romance to keep you smiling. I can’t wait to read the next book and find out what happens next.

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Favourite Quote

“You taste like magic,”

Book Two: The Well of Tears

Book – The Well of Tears (The Town of Superstition #2)
Author – R.G. Thomas
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 127

Cover – Evocative!
POV – 3rd person POV
Would I read it again – Yes.

Genre – Young Adult, Paranormal, LGBT, Magic

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine

Just as good, if not better than book 1, The Well of Tears is an action packed adventure.

Starting immediately from the end of book 1, I loved that we didn’t miss any part of Thaddeus’ journey to find his mother. Though there was a lot of adventure – death defying moments, danger and so many more secrets revealed – I never felt as though the book dragged or gave away too much. Everything was done with the perfect amount of moderation, leaving the reader to figure out things on their own, before the big reveal.

Yes, that last sentence implies that I figured out the two biggest secrets that were mentioned in this story – one revealed before the end, the other only hinted at. However, that wouldn’t have been possible without the trail of clever little clues the author sprinkled into innocuous conversations and innocent proclamations.

Once again, Thaddeus and Teofil made excellent main characters. Though we only read the story in Thaddeus’ POV, I always felt connected to Teofil through him and the small, intimate chemistry they shared with each other.

Similarly, I grew to question everything out of Fetter’s mouth and, eventually, feel very sorry for him (not telling why!) and really liked the spark in Astrid. Diplomatic and dreamy, Astrid is very much like their mother, Miriam, while Fetter is much more blunt and has no tact. We also get a much closer view of Thaddeus’ dad, Nathan, in this book, though it’s all second-hand again. I’m with Thaddeus, that there are more secrets to reveal, but I just know it’s going to be an exciting ride discovering them.

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Right from page one, with that fabulous intro, I was hooked on the continued journey of Thaddeus and the gang, searching through the Lost Forest for his mother. I can’t wait to continue the journey in the next book.

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Favourite Quote

“Thaddeus Cane knew he was still in the United States; he knew this as a fact with his heart and his mind. But the landscape he had been traveling through the last few days seemed intent on convincing him he’d been dropped into a magical world. Which made sense, seeing as how he reached this far point by stepping through a magical doorway conjured up in the wall of his basement.”

“This strange journey he had suddenly found himself on, and the family secrets he had recently learned, seemed small in comparison to the – dare he say it? – love he had discovered with Teofil. Everything they had gone through, and everything yet to come, felt possible because of him, and Thaddeus almost couldn’t recall what his life before Teofil had been like.”

Book Three: The Battle of Iron Gulch

Book – The Battle of Iron Gulch (The Town of Superstition #3)
Author – R.G. Thomas
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 230
Cover – Perfect!
POV – 3rd person, one character POV
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Action/Adventure, Coming-of-Age

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine

Wow! This was an action packed adventure right from page one.

For anyone who might accidentally pick this up out of order, there’s a very nice, simple rundown of all the action and important events that have taken place before, but it’s not all crammed into the first page to give them a footing. It’s slowly released over time, mentioning things when relevant, in a way that doesn’t/won’t bore the reader who has read the previous books. Or, like me, likes to re-read the previous books before delving into the new offering.

As I re-read both prior books first, I was looking for key events, conversations or hints at clues that I wanted to be explained in book 3. I got answers to them all. Being a serial reader of series books, this is rare. There’s always that one thing that slips away and is forgotten about or one conversation that seems important at the time, in book 2 for example, but isn’t addressed even after book 5. This series doesn’t do that to you. Everything important is covered in just enough detail to make it right, and if there are things we haven’t been given answers to yet, they’ve been addressed in a way that promises more to come, so that we know to expect those answers in the future.

Saying that, the book picks up right where book 2 left off. But, within the first few chapters, we find our way out of the Lost Forest and back into civilization. There is a consistency in the series overall, but also in the seamless flow between books and chapters alike, that makes it so easy to flow from one novel to another, one chapter to another, without feeling like you’ve ever lose your place or don’t know what is happening. The writing skill and plot planning to manage this is exceptional and nothing short of what I’ve come to expect from R.G. Thomas.

I loved the believable and natural explanation for their delay in moving forward, as they reached Iron Gulch, that Nathan had little to no money. He has, after all, moved from town to town and job to job for fifteen years. The constant secrecy and hesitation, the inability to trust anyone no matter how innocent they seem, makes perfect sense. After all they’ve been through, there’s nothing certain in their lives anymore but each other.

Overall, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at this – this book was a fitting end to a story that had me hooked from page one of book one. If it never picks up to solve the story of Fetter, I can still be happy with a fully explored and thrilling adventure that is the Town of Superstition. But I hope and believe it will continue. And I’ll be there to read every word of it.

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Favourite Quote

“She crossed her arms and frowned. “You seem like you don’t want me around.”
“No, it’s not that,” Thaddeus said.
“Then what is it?”
Thaddeus wished he could say it was because he was part of a group of magical folk on a dangerous mission to locate his mother and hopefully change her from a dragon back into her true form before an evil witch corrupted her for malicious purposes. But that would most likely make her think he was crazy and start some rumors to that effect around town.”

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