Tag Archives: Magic

Witchy Vol. 2 by Ariel Slamet Ries

Overview

Title: Witchy Volume 2
Author: Ariel Slamet Ries
Series: Witchy #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Graphic novels, LGBTQI, MagicWitches
Pace: Fast
Format: Graphic novel
Year: 2022

Thoughts

I freaking loved this graphic novel. I mean, I loved the first volume, so it makes total sense that I loved the second one. But I actually think that I loved this a little more. Maybe because now that most of the world building and backstory has been solidified, Ries was able to dig a bit deeper into the particulars of Nyeve.

Everything about this tale is beautiful and complex. It is a great journey all on its own, but there’s also this great sense of social commentary as well. Every moment of this made me reflect on the world that I live in, the biases and restrictions that we place on the “other”. It’s amazing how provocative and emotive the imagery throughout this is.

I do love how Nyeve marches to the beat of her own drum. Throughout all of this people are trying to twist and shape her to their own idea of rebellion and future. Trying to show her how to go against the grain, but to do so by fitting THEIR preconceived idea of how that looks. And it’s when she decides to truly be herself and ignore all the ideas of other people that she truly comes into her own.

There are lots of bits of Bananas past that are slowly coming to light throughout this graphic novel. I want to believe that he is good and going to be a great guide for Nyeve. But there’s that lingering feeling that he might be the source of some serious betrayal in the future. I just can’t wait to find out if I’m right or wrong!!!

<- Witchy Vol. 1More Ariel Slamet Ries ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Cursed Luck by Kelley Armstrong

Overview

Title: Cursed Luck
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Cursed Luck #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

There is a very good reason why I love Kelley Armstrong so much. And everything I pick up one of her books, I’m reminded again of just WHY I think she’s so amazing. Although, admittedly, some of her works are pretty dark. This is nowhere near as dark and heart rending as some of her other stories though… there is such a pithy, light, and fun tone to this whole story that left me smiling throughout.

Kennedy is a little too much like me. And I loved her. She’s impulsive, loyal and doesn’t always think things through when trying to help. Which, of course is what ends up placing her in awkward position after awkward position. That, and she’s obviously and needfully very driven to find her sisters. Mostly though, her impulsively doesn’t always necessarily lend itself to being helpful in her situation. Something I am all too familiar with…

Aidan is a great counterpoint to Kennedy. He is sweet and buttoned up, and really very cute. His rule-following nature and tendency to want to plan his way through everything sort of acts as the voice of reason to Kennedy’s insanity. Like Kennedy though, he is incredibly loyal to his sibling. I loved how both the leads in this are very loyal to their siblings. It means they get manipulated constantly by this motive… but it’s yet another reason to love them.

The surprise of motive and culprit was brilliantly done within this novel. There were some wonderful surprise reveals from the second half onwards. It had me diving into this story page after page. I love when authors are able to take a great story and make it even more phenomenal with all of their tricky little twists and turns. The fact that Armstrong was able to use this surprise to provide a totally unexpected motive… I definitely can’t wait to read High Jinx.

<- More Kelley ArmstrongGoddess of Summer Love ->

Image source: Amazon

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews

Overview

Title: Ruby Fever
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Catalina Baylor Trilogy #3, Hidden Legacy #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, Strong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2022

Thoughts

I’ve been putting off reading this for a while because I just knew that I would want to read it cover to cover. And then, one night, I decided that I would just start it and read a little bit. Because I’m an adult and I have self-control… it turns out that I’m not such a good adult, and I literally have no self-control. I stayed up way too late reading this, and seriously felt punished the next day.

Andrews always does justice with their writing, but holy cow was this a fantastic ending to the Catalina Baylor Trilogy. I mean, from the very first moment, you hit the ground running. And then you pretty much don’t until you turn that final page. Ruby Fever is wonderfully intense and completely impossible to put down. It is filled with action and so many fights that my internal badass did a happy (and totally badass) dance.

Arkan is a seriously terrifying villain, probably because he is a shadow figure for the entire trilogy. Which means I really loved how Catalina and Alessandro are able to systematically dismantle his whole team of horrible things that go bump in the night. They are a wonderful power team and Catalina’s ability to plot and scheme better than everyone else… it left me smiling from ear to ear. It might have been why I found Catalina to be far more relatable than Nevada – she’s very much in her own head and finds this to be both a strength and a weakness.

The entire Baylor clan is freaking amazing. There is honestly not a character terrifying in the family that I don’t love. I would honestly love a trilogy for each and every one of them. However, even though I’m not entirely certain that there will be any more tales. I am so stupidly hopeful that Arabella will get her own series one of these days. Especially considering her final scene in this book…

<- Emerald BlazeMore Ilona Andrews ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Bitterburn by Ann Aguirre

Overview

Title: Bitterburn
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Gothic Fairytales #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, GothicMagic, Retellings
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

Njal and Amarrah are a fantastic and gorgeous couple in this phenomenal Beauty and the Beast retelling. Aguirre manages to combine aspects of the original fairy tale, Disney version and a whole Gothic aspect that will leave you breathless. Amarrah is that perfect balance of sweet and innocent, with tough and powerful. Unlike some of the young adult stories I’ve read recently, this didn’t feel forced or contrived, but enjoyably natural.

One of my favourite aspects of this retelling was that at no point does Amarrah want Njal to change himself to suit what others might see as a perfect man. Their slow courtship is exactly the kind of romance that I enjoy reading. The two spend a lot of time getting to know one another and conversing, way before they are able to finally see each other face to face. I love that they accept each other for exactly who and what they are.

Of course, every version of Beauty and the Beast has a curse in it that has cursed the “beast”. Aguirre’s version was wonderfully complex and brilliant. I love how there was the whole backstory of Njal’s curse throughout this is slowly unreeled. Not only do you spend the whole story hoping to race to the happily ever after. But you also can’t wait to find out what the heck happened to leave Njal in such a horrible position.

Everything about this retelling was brilliant and phenomenal. The journey Aguirre took me on was absolutely amazing. I think though that my favourite thing about this was that Amarrah doesn’t end up getting that typical prince charming – she gets the Beast man she fell for. And they, along with their two goats are able to drive off into the sunset happily ever after.

<- More Ann AguirreMirror, Mirror ->

Image source: Goodreads

Winter’s Kiss by Melissa Marr

Overview
Faery Tales and Nightmares

Title: Winter’s Kiss
Author: Melissa Marr
In: Faery Tales & Nightmares (Melissa Marr)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Magic, Paranormal fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2012

Thoughts

I was expecting a little more darkness in this short story. Pretty much because in my experience, Marr tends to angle towards the darker side of the fae. Although that’s what I love about her writing, I WAS pleasantly surprised by the fact that this was a pretty light and positive tale.

I absolutely adored how what is seen as a curse at the beginning of the story, eventually gets twisted around so that it is seen as a gift. The ways that in some circumstances being a bit different can be a negative, but then, if you find the right people to surround you, your weirdness and uniqueness can be seen as a gift instead. Yet, even though the girl doesn’t quite fit in where she was from, her father still loves her unconditionally.

While reading this, I was reminded a lot of North Child. There was the bear, the north and the snow. Finding acceptance somewhere that you never thought you would and finding love in a silent, strong type. In fact, this was such a beautiful short story that all I can think of now is to dive right back into North Child for a nostalgic reread…

<- Where Nightmares WalkTransition ->

Image source: HarperCollins Publishers

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Overview

Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Gothic, Magic, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

I started trying to read this book last year at some point. And I remember liking it, but not really getting into it. Picking it up again… I’m REALLY not sure why I couldn’t get into it. I mean, this book is fantastic. I honestly couldn’t put it down. Again, not entirely sure what it was that made me put this aside last year. Because WOW.

To start off with, I loved the twist at the end of this. It was horrifying, and you thought that there might be something horrible. And then the horrible thing happens and you were just… gobsmacked. I mean, what a damn betrayal! And what a way to make me thirst for the next book in the series… like seriously, and desperately thirst for it. I just can’t even believe the power that this book holds over you, long after you turn that final page. Even now, when I’m finally getting to sit down and write a review of it… I’m still completely enthralled and gobsmacked.

I’ve read a lot of stories which are based on historical Europe, but not Slavic Europe. It did take me a little to get my head around the character names. And I am 100% certain that the way I say them in my head is completely incorrect. Which is fine, because no one else is inside my head. Partner that with the holy war that is going on… and although there was a slight sense of familiarity due to the European aspect to it, this felt like a whole new world. One that I seriously can’t wait to get back to… I mean, it is dark and twisted. And, for someone who is a little freaked out by anything with religious connotations, impossible to not want to dive straight back into.

Duncan’s world building is insane and intense. She is able to construct a world that you can’t turn away from. And although a lot is revealed in this novel, there is a lot more to the world and the conspiracies than is imparted in one novel. Which, again, is what makes me want to dive into Ruthless Gods so badly. I mean, the world building and the politics are phenomenal. And even with the betrayal that I didn’t see coming, there is a whole slew of other aspects to this storyline that need answers. Relationships that may become more and more complex…

<- More Emily A. DuncanRuthless Gods ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Overview

Title: The Silver Gryphon
Author: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon
Series: The Mage Wars #3, Valdemar #3
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Mages, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1996

Thoughts

I found this whole Valdemar trilogy a bit of a hard whack. I just didn’t feel emotionally connected with the characters like the other books. And it was even harder with this novel, because it was about the children of the main characters.

In fact, I found this book almost impossible to get through. The leads were kind of whiney and annoying. I mean, I’ve read a lot of stories which feature the children of those famous, and often they complain about the exact same things. But for some reason I found these guys SO MUCH MORE irritating.

I always find it hard to write reviews about books that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. And, like my enjoyment, they tend to be a bit shorter. Mostly because I still try to focus on what I liked. And whilst I didn’t hate this book, there’s much I can recall that I actually LIKED.

<- The White GryphonMagic’s Pawn ->

Image source: Kobo

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

Overview

Title: Witchy
Author: Ariel Slamet Ries
Series: Witchy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Graphic novels, LGBTQI, MagicWitches
Pace: Fast
Format: Graphic novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

Graphic novels are still a fairly new genre for me. Admittedly, I was a bit of a snob about reading graphic novels, I didn’t necessarily consider them “books”. Luckily, I grew out of that when I started to find some authors that I absolutely adore. And, yet again, I’ve found one that completely fits this bill. I loved the story line, the graphics and just the general experience of reading this graphic novel.

I really enjoyed the idea that hair dictates the power of a being. For me, it was a great commentary on how we judge people by their looks. And if they don’t fit into our expectations, based on how they look, then we tend to discount them. In the case of this tale, the lead is constantly trying to hide her power. That, and there’s the horrors of her own experiences with bureaucracy – powerful is good, too powerful is bad.

I can’t wait to try and sink my teeth into the next Witchy collection – I’m sure I could read it online through Ries’ website, but I love the feel of having a book in my hands. Reading by lamplight, late at night. The mood making is just beautiful. Plus, there is something far more magical about having the printed version of the images – I have a tendency to run my fingers across the beauty of the graphics that Ries has created.

I absolutely loved this graphic novel. Witchy was an entirely unexpected world that left me smiling and wanting more. But, as with all the graphic novels that I’ve been enjoying lately – there is an extra message about the state of our world. The idea that we need to stop judging others by our preconceived notions. And the reminder that sometimes power threatens others, and we need to be wary of this too.

<- More Ariel Slamet RiesWitchy Vol. 2 ->

Image source: Mel To The Any

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer

Overview

Title: The Watchmaker’s Daughter
Author: C.J. Archer
Series: Glass and Steele #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Magic, Steampunk
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2016

Thoughts

I’ve already read one C.J. Archer book, so when The Watchmaker’s Daughter perfectly filled one of my reading challenge prompts, I was excited to dive right in. And, boy, was I NOT disappointed. This was a fun, engaging whirlwind of a story that now has me completely hooked on the author. Like The Last Necromancer, The Watchmaker’s Daughter is a tale that had me on the edge of my seat – incredibly keen to see what was going to happen next. The fantastic historical fiction / steampunk world building just made me more and more excited as the storyline unfolded.

Although I am completely obsessed with historical fictions, in particular, historical romances at the moment – I do sometimes find it a little… unrealistic when the lead female is so damn headstrong. It’s a little less… enjoyably historical when the heroine is so damn modern. I mean, in the past, women who were THAT outspoken and strong… were probably burned at the stake, or worse. Which is what makes India such a lovely and refreshing lead for this genre. She wants to be what we would perceive in the modern era as strong, but she is restricted by society. So she finds and enacts her strength in a myriad of more subtle ways. Ways which make you love her all that much more because we’ve all felt restrained by our societies and unable to act exactly the way we want.

The mystery of Matthew’s watch continues right throughout this novel. And whilst parts of his history and the watch-obsession are revealed, even at the end of this novel, you realise that there are so many more things that are to be revealed and realised throughout this series. Which, of course, just makes me want to pick up The Mapmaker’s Apprentice all that much more. I love how whilst everything was tied up nicely at the conclusion of this story, there are still so many more mysteries to uncover. It is the mark of a fantastic writer that the end of the story leaves you hanging for the next book in the series, but also feeling like everything has been tied up nice and neatly.

The whole gang in this story are characters that I absolutely loved. I want to sink further and further into this series. Plus, I want to see how the hints of romance between India and Matthew blossom. They seem like kind of the perfect couple, which means that it will be fantastic to see if they do, in fact, make a good couple when push comes to shove. Plus, there is also the tantalising hints of Duke and Winnie to consider…

<- More C.J. ArcherThe Mapmaker’s Apprentice ->

Image source: Goodreads

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Overview

Title: These Rebel Waves
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Stream Raiders #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal fantasy, Pirates, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

Let me preface this review by saying that there is a surprise reveal in this that I DID NOT see coming. Not so much a twist that will shock and awe… but certainly a surprise unveiling of truth that I wasn’t expecting. It was one that suddenly made total sense and has me itching to read These Divided Shores… I just have to buy it first.

Jumping between points if view doesn’t always work so seamlessly. But Raasch is able to do it in a way that is not only enjoyable, but highlights the different voices of the three leads. In fact, she managed to have such great characterisation and relatable characters that I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. For all three of them. Not a feeling that I often have with multiple points of view.

This book had a very pirate-like feel to it. Almost Pirates of the Caribbean in some moments in fact. Add in the not so subtle splashes of botanical magic, and of course this was the kind of story that was up my alley. A dash of romance, plenty of action and violence… of course I fell for this.

The part that destroys me most about this story? The goddam ending!!! It is such a phenomenal cliff-hanger. One that I didn’t anticipate AT ALL. And it is one that I can’t stop thinking about… I really don’t relish the idea of waiting to buy the next book in this series…

<- More Sara RaaschThese Divided Shores ->

Image source: Goodreads