Cover Image: Inspirational Wink and the Altogether Extraordinary Notebook

Inspirational Wink and the Altogether Extraordinary Notebook

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Member Reviews

I am just not a fan of the cozy fantasy genre. I've tried SO many times but I am not the target audience for a book that doesn't go anywhere. I need escapism and just a bit of plot.

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This was a delightful cozy fantasy with lots of adventure! I loved all the characters and enjoyed the unique names. One of my favorite things about this book was the age of the FMC, I really enjoyed that she was in her 60's and in a different stage of life.

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The Chosen is usually young, the quest is a coming of age story or the Chosen is a hobbit and that's another kind of story.
In this case the Chosen is 60 years old, a farmer and never left her parents farm. That's her life till her father death and a secret is revealed and she's taks with a Quest.
It's the start of a cozy and original fantasy I thoroughly enjoyed. There's companions, a pink unicorn and an entertaining story I loved.
I couldn't help imagining a Chosen with compression stocking and arthritis but that should have a bit too muche on the Pratchett side.
Loved it, would be happy to read more adventure featuring Wink.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for giving me a free eARC of this book to read in exchange for my review!

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In a Nutshell: A cosy fantasy adventure with a sixty-year-old protagonist and a whole horde of magical creatures. A fun read when you want something sweet and salty at the same time. Loved it!

Story Synopsis:
Sixty-year-old Inspirational Wink has always lived an ordinary life with her ordinary family in the ordinary town of Whisper. She has rarely wondered what lay beyond the Three Creek Bridge at the end of the town; her soul has always been happy in its routine.
This changes after the death of her father Steadfast. Her widowed mother Belladonna, though grieving the loss of her beloved husband, hands Inspirational an important task of retrieving the Notebook of Whim, which Belladona had stashed in a secret safe place somewhere in Mirror City many years ago. Inspirational knows that she doesn’t have the choice of refusing this mission, or else her mother will keep nagging her. So she sets off, accompanied by a pink horse, a shapeshifting otter, a “fixer” elf and a hired orc. Along the way, the motley crew meets more than its fair share of adventures and dangers, but they trudge along united and focussed, because the missing notebook, unlike Inspirational Wink, is ‘altogether extraordinary.’
The story comes to us mostly in the third person perspective of Inspirational Wink.

Bookish Yays:
✨ I loved the eponymous character! Of course, considering she was fond of rational thinking and keen to stay within her comfort zone, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I found her my kindred spirit. 😄 Inspirational is truly inspirational, right from her attitude towards her family, to her approach towards dangerous situations, to her ability to keep her head even in times of panic. It is a treat to see her naiveté disappear as the story proceeds.
✨ It is amazing to see such a great representation of a senior character, especially considering the genre. At sixty, Inspirational is not a typical lead you see in a cosy fantasy. But the author makes her as realistic as possible, without making her sound like a senile geriatric with one foot in the grave. The portrayal is spot on, with Inspirational being as active and strong as her work on the farm would have made her, but feeling tired, sleepy or hungry after a day’s worth of adventure. I loved the age rep.
✨ The character names are so quirky! In what book would you find a cast with names such as Inspirational Wink, Bruise, Regret, Left Ear, Steadfast, Before and After?! The names steal the show with their wackiness.
✨ With such whimsical names, is it any surprise that the characters are also appealing? I loved Inspirational Wink’s group, right from Bruise the Orc to Fleet the mouse. They were an eclectic bunch, and their bond and their repartee was a joy to read. To put it in Bruise’s dorky style, “a bit of a charming gang, this one.”
✨ Despite the overall lightness of the writing, there are dark and dangerous scenes as well. These are mostly written at a casual level of intensity. The real danger is visible on page only during one important action sequence in the second half. This might be dissatisfying for adult fans of darker fantasies. But to cosy fantasy lovers and fantasy dabblers, this approach makes the content palatable as the gory stuff stays behind the scenes.
✨ The plot works well as an adventurous road trip to locate the titular ‘altogether extraordinary notebook’. The details of the journey are as real as a fictional tale can be, including mentions of tiredness, hygiene issues, and hunger pangs. I loved the ordinary realism of their journey. (Which is quite ironic as no character except Inspirational Wink is “ordinary”!)
✨ Most of the plot is straightforward, but the fun lies in the details. Though we know that the journey can have only a happy conclusion, the path leading to that satisfying destination isn’t always guessable. And even when it is, the characters make the ride worth it.
✨ Despite the older mc, the book works well as a coming-of-age story, with many life lessons for all. The journey to retrieve the missing book is a journey of self-awareness and growth for many of the characters.

Bookish Mixed Bags:
💫 There is a whole variety of fantastical characters in this little book. We have the usual familiars such as fairies, dragons, gnomes, orcs, trolls, dwarves, shapeshifters, witches, and so on. And we also have an equally lengthy list of characters that have sprung from the author’s imagination. While I loved most of the characters, a part of me feels like the number of distinct creatures was too high. Some of the creatures could have been repeated instead of having a new one in every new action scene.
💫 Inspirational Wink is known by her pet name, ‘Good Idea’. So for most of the book, she is called ‘Good Idea’ by her family and friends, and ‘Inspirational Wink’ in formal settings. I love her actual name, though her nickname also suited her well. I would have preferred her to be called ‘Inspirational’ throughout the book.
💫 The story is divided into four broad sections. Each section is announced in a grand way, with an image containing the section number and an indication of its content. You could say that these contain spoilers. But as I said, the story is quite predictable, so these just add to the cutesy factor.

All in all, this is a delightful adventure filled with endearing characters and loads of magic. As the story is cutesy and even cheesy at times, I wouldn’t recommend it to those looking for a dark fantasy or an intense reading experience. The vibe of the book is exactly as the cover suggests – tongue-in-cheek fun.
Definitely recommended to lovers of cosy fantasies. It would also be great to those wanting to try out the fantasy genre but are unsure of checking out more complicated fictional worlds – this might work great as an entry-level fantasy. Because of the clean approach towards danger and the age of the protagonist, this ought to click well for all age groups from teenagers to golden agers.

4 stars.

My thanks to 235 Alexander Street, the author and NetGalley for the DRC of “Inspirational Wink and the Altogether Extraordinary Notebook”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

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This was such a cute book!! I really enjoyed the deviation from the norm in all ways - the names are so unique, and I LOVED Inspirational Wink. My god, she truly IS Inspirational, in every sense of the word.

I really loved the adventure, the character dynamics and the whimsical fantasy. This book helped fill a hole in my cozy-fantasy-craving heart that I wasn't even aware I had!

I'm now an instant fan of Delaney Evers and eagerly looking forward to what brilliant ideas come from them next!

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3.5 stars rounded up

This was a fun, cozy adventure! Definitely recommended to fans of T. Kingfisher, or to anyone who wants to read a fairy-tale-like fantasy with an older protagonist.

Set in a classic fantasy world, with elves, dwarves, gnomes, dragons and a myriad of other creatures, and with a colorful cast of characters who all come together to complete a quest and do so in the least probable way possible, this felt reminiscent of a tabletop rpg campaign - and I mean this as a compliment!

However, while I had a lot of fun reading this, the story was extremely predictable, and the characters, while very likable, were never given any real depth. Still, it's a good effort, particularly for a debut author, and I'm looking forward to reading what else Evers comes up with in the future.

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Inspirational Wink has had a bland, normal life so far. She is a grown woman at age 60, who has never left her family farm. When adventure is forced upon her, she reluctantly rises to the occasion. Along the way, she finds a group of mostly preternatural creatures who are to protect her and her quest which is no easy feat. The group grows throughout the journey and become needed friends. The adventure is dangerous and entertaining. It felt like all on the mission learned about themselves and grew from it. Readers will enjoy this journey alongside the characters and might just take away a little self knowledge, like they did.

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I really enjoyed reading this book and the magic premise kept me hooked. Would recommend it for fantasty and magicial fans.

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