Book Reviews

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

I will guiltily admit that the cover and title consisted of about 80% of what attracted me to this book. It’s a lovely cover that nicely represents important elements of the story. As I read, I also appreciated how the title came up in conversation – it was fitting and effective.

Then allow me to go on and say that I really enjoyed the concept for this book – the idea of the Wildwood, the journey through it, and the truth behind the crown. Unfortunately, I was rather confused by the world-building. I got a medieval vibe, yet there was talk of muskets and trains (I think). It is, of course, a made-up world, but I wasn’t sure how to imagine things.

While the growth in Cerys and Fox was evident, I found I couldn’t connect well with them as characters. I felt that Fox did not mature the way I hope he would.

This was not a clean read. There was strong language which I think was uncalled for. I don’t think it provided any useful purpose to the story.

With that all said, perhaps you would enjoy this book, so read a few more reviews and make a desicion for yourself. 🙂

Book Reviews

Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe

This was an exciting retelling of the Tempest. When I first started it, I wasn’t quite sure if I would enjoy it, but at about 30% I was dragged in. I think one of the things that struck me the most was that the plot spans over the course of a day. It was amazing how much could happen and how much the characters could change in so short a time. 

The secrets and different personalities of the Prosper family definitely kept things interesting. I almost want to say that they were beautifully flawed (some being less beautiful than others). Overall, I think they were well written. Cohoe gave them a fantastical magical sort of aura while still showing their bad sides. The main character, Mae, began as a naive and innocent protagonist but did mature as the story moved along. While I did value this growth, I found the way she allowed others to walk all over was rather annoying. Also, at times she seemed a bit bland and it was difficult to connect with her. 

I wish there was more depth into the 1920’s styles and mannerisms, but I did enjoy the way the Prosper’s house was described.      

Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Reviews

Natural Born by Morgan Perryman

I loved the concept for this book! It was really refreshing to read a YA novel with such a close connection to nature. As I read, I found myself deeply wishing that there really was Quid out there who could heal the land. And Quid’s relationship with the natural environment was fascinating as well. She loved nature, but there was a lot of fear involved as well. She didn’t know how to control this ability or even exactly what it was. She was acutely aware of the fact that she was different and of course, she needed to wrestle through that.

Overall, I wish there was more depth. For example, I was really intrigued by Vernie’s past! And I think it had a lot of potential to be a compelling element. I think, though, the work-up towards the revealing of Vernie’s history wasn’t quite intense enough. I read it and thought, “Oh, okay. That’s interesting, but it didn’t impact me the way I wish it had.” This was similar to the revealing of Quid’s origins. It should have been a huge moment, but to me, it didn’t quite hit the mark.

This was a clean read. There is an aspect of romance which seemed to happen quickly and felt a bit cliché, but it was really sweet.

I’m looking forward to the next step in Quid’s journey!

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”

This has got to be one of the biggest books I’ve ever read. It was mammoth size! (Over 200,000 words) So where to begin… 

“Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.”

I was thrilled to join Harry, Ron, and Hermione once again. I’ve been reading a bit about what makes the Harry Potter series so compelling and a lot of people name the characters as a key component. I have to say that I agree with them. The golden trio was, as always, absolutely charming. From Ron’s reaction at discovering that he was a prefect, to Hermione’s Christmas gift of homework planners, to Harry’s dedication to the DA, I was spellbound. And I know you will all agree when I say that Umbridge was absolutely horrible. Rowling did a really good job of portraying this and making me want to just reach inside the story and ring of Umbridge’s neck. I have to admit, though, that this one was a hard one to read in terms of Harry’s ever-shifting moods. He was angry a lot of the time and now I know why, but it was a little frustrating to read. I really wanted to tell him to just calm down and take a chill pill.  We’ll see what he’s like in the next book. 

“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”

The plot of the Order of the Phoenix was interesting as well in that I felt it didn’t have a crystal clear end goal. With the others, usually there was something that the characters were working towards throughout the entire book (i.e the finding the Philosopher’s stone, discovering the location of the chamber of secrets, surviving the Triwizard tournament). Rowling still made it work, though, and did an excellent job of keeping things rolling and engaging the attention of her readers. Lastly, I was very much intrigued by Snape’s memory. Up till now, Harry has thought of his father as a great and noble hero, but in this book, he discovered that his father wasn’t all that. I think especially in this book we see Harry step away from the naivety of a child. 

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I’m looking forward to book 6. Although things are becoming sooo intense, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle it…..

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K Rowling

Goblet Of Fire GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

This was another great read from J.K Rowling. Everything became a little bit darker and more intense. Again, we had the privilege of travelling with Harry, Ron, and Hermione through another year at Hogwarts. I will confess, that I watched the movie before listening to the audiobook. I really can’t say if I regret it or not, but I think maybe if I had listened to the book first, I would have been immensely disappointed by the movie. But who knows, I might have still liked it. 

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

Anyway, the extra details in the book and of course, the complexity of the characters were so fun to read about. Hermione’s tirade about elf freedom gave her character a whole new depth. I think it showed that she’s starting to grow up and look more at the world around her. This was also shown through her relationship with Krum. Which brings me to a whole other thing. The boys and girls of Harry’s year started to notice each other. His dilemma of having to ask a girl to the ball was quite amusing. Also, I’m really starting to get a sense of the chemistry between Ron and Hermione which is interesting to see. Oh, and I must say, I really liked the addition of Bill (the “cool” brother) and I’m excited to read more about him in the next book.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

The Triwizard tournament brought many more exciting thrills and dangerous experiences that had me sitting at the edge of my seat. Sometimes I got really frustrated with Harry and wanted to just grab his shoulders and shake him and tell him to hurry up and figure out the next task. Seriously, he needed to get his priorities straight. I can’t finish without mentioning the ending. It was actually quite scary! Rowling does a fabulous job of painting Voldemort as a terrible, frightening, and evil villain. When he came out of that cauldron…… I wanted to hightail it out of there. I’ve already started reading the Order of the Phoenix so far and I’m absolutely loving it. Fred and George are a hoot and Dolores Umbridge is a complete toad. 

Stay tuned for my next review and a little (or big…) writing update. 
Ta ta for now. 

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Book Reviews

My Top 10 Reads of 2020

I know this is a little late, but here it is: my favorite books of 2020. Because I am so indecisive, they are in no particular order and I cheated a little by counting a series as one book.

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

An absolutely charming and enthralling read! I was blown away by every splendid detail. This was a story about love, abuse, literature, friendship, and faith. 

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Lost Shadow (The Neverwood Chronicles #3) by Chanda Hahn

What a crazy, intense, exciting read! I’ve been in love with series since book #1 and in this last book, all the pieces come together to create this insane conclusion. Reading this book made me want to start all over again at book #1 so I can take this journey again. 

Harry Potter Volumes 1 - 3 Box Set: J. K. Rowling: Amazon.com: Books

The Harry Potter Series #1-3 by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Witch of Edgehill Series # 3 & 4 by Melissa Erin Jackson

Pawsitively Secretive ; Pawsitively Swindled

If you haven’t read the Witch of Edgehill this series and enjoy cozy mysteries, I absolutely recommend that you do!

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Spellbreaker (Spellbreaker Duology #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

This was the first book I’ve read by Charlie Holmberg and I must say, I was absolutely charmed.

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows; The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

I found myself being swept away by these stories. 

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This was a lovely and unique adventure! Harrow has a beautiful writing voice that is quite charming. I think it was my favourite part of the book. I found myself lost in a forest of colourful descriptions and creative similes. It was quite enjoyable to read! 

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

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Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

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Jackaby by William Ritter

So there you have it! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Reviews

Spellbreaker (Spellbreaker Duology #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

This was the first book I’ve read by Charlie Holmberg and I must say, I was absolutely charmed. The first few chapters were a bit of a rough start not because of the writing or the story, but because I picked it up near the end of my semester when deadlines were crashing in around me. Once things settled down and I could simply sit and read, I was transported to a unique and exciting magical place. We are given a Victorian England where magic is commonplace and most of those with magic are part of an organized system. The protagonist, Elsie Camden, is unregistered and works in secret for an insurgent group. Through one of her missions, she is discovered by Bacchus Kelsey who promises to keep her secret if she helps him break some spells.


Their relationship was a slow burn and was very sweet. They went from disliking each other to being friends to having feelings for each other. I also loved Elsie’s relationship with Ogden and Emmeline. Although they were not related they created a beautiful family atmosphere.

The writing was very nice. It was not extremely flowery, but it had some nice flourishes to it. Holmberg also moved things along nicely. She spent time where time was needed but didn’t dwell on things either.

Lastly, I loved that the ending surprised me! I was not expecting Elsie’s secret employers to be who they were and I was not expecting them to be so devious either. I had thought that there would be some great reveal of how the Cowls were right and the others were misusing their power, but I was so wrong!

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This was a clean read – there was no profanity or explicit scenes.
I am excited to read the sequel to Spellbreaker which will be coming out on March 9, 2021.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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my writing

Veralisa’s Song from my WIP

Happy Thursday everyone!

I have been quite diligently plugging away at the sequel to Beautiful Beast and I can now proudly say that I am 62,000 words in! It feels like the end is finally in sight. While writing this, I found I was in need of a song and not just any song. It had to be Veralisa’s song.

So this is what I came up with. What do you think? Is there anything you would change?

Ashes of cities
Lost to the wind
Blood of my people
Cruelly shed
Snow white and pure
Cover the land
Keep her strong
Keep her long

Here are a few pictures from my Pinterest board to go along with it.

That’s all I can tell you for now, but stay tuned for the big title and cover reveal!

Ta ta for now.

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Book Reviews

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

In this sequel to the Orphan Queen, Wilhelmina and Tobiah must fight against all odds to stop the wraith from destroying both of their kingdoms. 

“No matter the masks we wear, we always end up together.”

The character development for Wilhelmina was fantastic. She had to learn what it meant to be queen not only in name but also in action. She was forced to make some decisions that were not at all easy and that her haunted afterward. Despite this, she persevered and always strove to do what was best for her people. Tobiah went through many of these struggles too, as well as grappling between duty and desire. Plus, he had some pretty big secrets he was hiding. The first time I read this a few years ago, I remember being quite shocked. Chrysalis was an interesting addition to this story, but I felt that he was terribly mistreated. Yes, he was made of wraith and he often acted without considering the consequences, but I thought that Wilhelmina could have been a little nicer to him. It felt like she either ignored him or yelled at him. 

“Sometimes we hate others for the things we hate in ourselves”

I loved that Meadows finally took us to Aecor. After all the hype around this country, it was great to be there; I just wish there was more time spent exploring it and getting to know the culture.  

I also found that the first ½ of the book was rather slow. It felt like they spent a lot of time talking about the problems and not doing too much to fix them. Despite this, I did still enjoy the book overall and would love to read some more by Jodi Meadows.  

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content. 

“Reasons we should get married:
Because I love you.
We both look good in black boots.
I spent some time without you, and I didn’t like it.
You make me happy.
I make you laugh.
I like the way you fight.
You see through my masks.
I really love you.
You love me, too. (Though you’ve mostly said this while yelling, so perhaps I should have double-checked.)
Army of tiny vigilantes. (I have name ideas.)
Various political reasons that make sense but don’t fit with the theme of this list.
I’m holding your handwriting hostage. You can have it back when you say yes.”

Until next time!

Animals Waving Bye 14 | Animals, Cute animals, Baby sea otters
Book Reviews

Belvedor and the Four Corners by Ashleigh Bello

Blurb

The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and Throne of Glass in this action-packed Epic Fantasy Adventure series.

On a quest for freedom from a tyrant king, follow Arianna Belvedor as she unearths the enchantment buried beneath her dark world and learns how to wield magic alongside her swords. She will either win or die; whichever her fate, freedom is certain.


Arianna Belvedor has only ever dreamed of winning her freedom from the Four Corners—a cold and cruel city where all the children of the world are kept, each with an opportunity to earn their citizenship upon their eighteenth year. Just months away from her ultimate battle, she is certain that her notable skills as a warrior-slave (having been trained by Master Solomon Bell, a formidable mentor in Warrior’s District) will give her an edge during the annual Free Falls Festivals: Free for the slaves who earn their citizenship. Falls for the ones who die.

Alas, Arianna’s talent with a sword cannot outmaneuver the burning curiosities of her heart, leading her to reveal a shocking yet spectacular secret about King Devlindor and his long-standing reign as High King of Olleb-Yelfra.

The world as she knows it is a lie, its true spellbinding history exploited and suppressed under centuries of deceitful acts.

Her world turned upside down with new, unfathomable knowledge, Arianna must make a choice that could change her life forever—ignore the truth and continue following the path laid out for her since birth or break free from her chains and carve her own… if she can survive.

Immerse yourself in this addictive fantasy world as Arianna is thrust on a thrilling journey to uncover magic and more than earn her rights to freedom.

Belvedor and the Four Corners is a recipient of the 2017 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.

Review

This book has a lot of potential! I found that the world was unique and interesting, it had some suspenseful action scenes, and the friendship between Arianna and Lessa was sweet. Unfortunately, though, this was not a book for me. Some points of the storyline were a little awkward like how four slaves from different districts just happened to meet as they escaped. There was also a lot of dialogue. I know that some people really enjoy this, but I prefer a balance between dialogue and colourful prose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.