Book Reviews

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

I better start off by saying that the cover of this book is gorgeous, and the title is absolutely compelling! These components may or may not have been a part of why I requested this book in the first place…
I really love the concept of this book. The mystery surrounding the poisonous plants, the intrigue of the botany department, a woman trying to make her way in the academic world in the 1920s. I think the latter point was my favourite and was what made me the most excited about this book.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting through this one, though. The plot moved along a bit too slowly for my taste. The main characters were likeable; Saffron had her moments and overall was smart and determined. She and Alexander also developed a really sweet relationship. However, the writing was heavy and lacked the excitement to keep me engaged all the way through.

Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Reviews

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This was a rather spontaneous purchase from our local bookstore, but I really wanted a paperback to read instead of an e-book which my currently-read shelf mostly consists of right now. So I went with this one and I must say, I quite enjoyed it. 

This book was entertaining and fast-paced and “everything” was important. Details I hardly noticed came back later and played a crucial role. Avery was a fun character to tag along with- she was smart and observant. Well, that is when it came to the puzzles. When it came to the Hawthorne boys…that was a different story. Her interactions with the boys were probably my least favourite aspects of this book. They felt forced because they often circulated around their appearances and I didn’t feel an emotional connection between Avery and the boys. 

The Hawthorne Legacy : Barnes, Jennifer Lynn: Amazon.ca: Books

With that said, I think I will read the second book and see where things go. I like the puzzle aspect of this book as well as the mysterious mansion setting. And I think the characters do have potential – with more depth, I think I could like them. 

P.S. Perhaps part of what influenced my purchase was the gorgeous covers. 😉

Book Reviews

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”

This was such a fun read! It had just the right balance of magic, fun, and quirkiness. It was an original fairytale that inspired me and left me smiling.

“Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.”


I love Sophie, the main character. She was a determined, no-nonsense, young woman who even when faced with the Witch of the Waste, just kept on rolling with it. She was so hilarious! She just bossed everyone around but was still really kind to everyone. Then Howl was just a vain, temperamental, sweet, and brilliant guy. He definitely grew on me! Now, to be honest, I wasn’t sold on Sophie and Howl’s relationship, but the ending was still very sweet.

“If I give you a hint and tell you it’s a hint, it will be information.”


I really enjoyed the world and the idea of the moving castle with its different doors. The writing was also simple yet precise. It is easy to read yet still creative.
I can’t wait to read more books by Dianna Wynne Jones!

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

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”

I can’t take it anymore! Things are getting way too intense. I know how it all ends, but still, it’s just so much. 

The golden trio is growing up. It amazes me that in every book, the growth is so evident. After finishing each one, I was struck by the way Harry, Ron, and Hermione had changed. In this one, they have to overcome yet another hurdle in their relationship. What I mean is that Ron and Hermione finally get more serious, but of course, it’s not as easy as all that. I don’t think it’s ever that simple with Ron and Hermione. They always seem to take the long bumpy road rather than the straight and easy one. Which was sometimes frustrating, but I think that’s the nature of their relationship. Then there was also Harry and Ginny. Sooo cute. I really love Ginny, I think she’s a great fit for Harry. 

“Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.”

It was really great to learn about Voldemort’s origins. So far I’ve been thinking of him as a black picture – he’s just bad. But this added so much more depth to him and also showed the reasons for some of his actions, as horrible as they might be.

And Snape! I’m trying to figure him out, but I just can’t! He’s too good at what he does. 

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

One thing that annoyed me a bit was the way that Harry constantly questioned Dumbledore. I thought that Harry should trust Dumbledore a bit more considering that he is one of the greatest wizards. I constantly thought, ‘Alright, Harry, relax. Dumbledore knows what he’s doing.” Maybe, though, all these questions came out because Dumbledore was the only one who had answers. 

Well, on to the next one! Hold onto your hats, friends. This is going to be a wild ride. 

“Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.
“Yes, sir.”
“There’s no need to call me “sir” Professor.”
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying.”

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

Gellan Parker and the Black Owl by A.L. Wicks

BLURB

Gellan always was odd. He just didn’t realize how odd. It all started when he happened to be exploring along the cliffs like he usually did. Or maybe it had started long before that.With no other option, he ends up in Cremstoll at a school called Gilsthorne. Only this school is different, like him. He finds he just might fit in for the first time. Until he realizes he can’t quite do everything everyone else can . . . and maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

REVIEW

This was a really fun read. I don’t typically read children’s fiction, but I’ve been making my way through the Harry Potter series, so I thought “Why not try this one?”

I think my favourite thing about it was the setting. For some reason, I got a Nova Scotia, Newfoundland sort of vibe and I thought that was really fun. Overall, Wicks built an interesting and compelling world.

The characters were great too! I especially loved Drina. She was smart and brave, and her relationship with Gellan was really sweet.

I thought that the pacing was a bit slow, though. It felt like there was a lot of explaining at the beginning that dragged down the action. I was really excited for Gellan to arrive at Cremstoll, but it took him a while to get there.

I also found that there were a lot of details that were very close to the Harry Potter series. It was interesting how Wicks put her own twist on these details, but I did wish that she had strayed a little further away from them.

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

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. 

Image result for harry potter and the order of the phoenix gif


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

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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