Book Review

Book Review: Bricking It (Wayfair Witches #2) by A.A. Albright

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Length: 220 pages
Author: A.A. Albright
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 9th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All her life, Wanda thought that things would be better once she received her magical powers. Turns out, not so much.

The Minister for Magical Law is insisting that Wanda go back to school before she can become a working member of the Wayfair coven. Oh, and she’s also insisting that Wanda perform no magic at all until she’s passed all of her tests.

But Wanda’s coven needs her now more than ever. Witches are going missing, and skeletons are turning up in closets and changing rooms all over Ireland. Will Wanda stick to the Minister’s rules, or will she risk it all to help the people she loves?

I’M ENJOYING THESE.

Who knew? I’m usually not a witch (or paranormal) fan. But these? I’m really liking them! I found Bricking It, better than the first and once again had me downloading book three to continue these cozy mysteries.

I love Wanda’s outlook on life and her strength, and humorous self. She’s a great main character who keeps things lively and is always in the most interesting situations.

Some of the drama is, maybe, a bit ridiculous, but it works so well here. The absurdity of the Minister and other characters in Wanda’s world make me roll my eyes, then furiously read to make sure things work out in Wanda’s favor.

I’m curious how these will continue with Wanda learning more about her powers, and maybe falling in love?! I need to know.

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal cozy mysteries
  • Language: none
  • Violence: murder, physical

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Book Review

ARC Book Review & Blog Tour: Float Plan by Trish Doller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 272 pages
Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Critically acclaimed young adult author Trish Doller’s unforgettable and romantic adult debut about setting sail, starting over, and finding yourself

Since the loss of her fiance, Anna has spent the last year foundering on land, shipwrecked by her grief and inability to move on. But when a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take, she impulsively sets off in their sailboat, intending to complete the planned voyage around the Caribbean that Ben had mapped out for them.

But after a treacherous night’s sail and a brush with an ocean tanker, she decides she can’t do it alone, and hires a professional sailor to help her get to Puerto Rico. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned, and he can’t refuse her offer. Together they find a way to rebuild their lives and the possibility of new love.

Trish Doller’s unforgettable adult debut, Float Plan, reminds readers that starting over doesn’t mean forgetting: you can build a new home, right alongside the old.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

A TOUGH [& GOOD] READ.

Trigger warning, this review will be discussing suicide, grief, depression and possibly other sensitive topics. I mention it here because the basis of the book is losing a loved one who passed away from suicide.

I liked the way this book was approached. Every time Ben was brought up, the appropriate terms were used (such as passed away from suicide) which I sincerely appreciated. Anna’s grieving process was raw and out there in the open. It was heart-breaking and really had me pondering many important topics. Anna’s healing process wasn’t linear. She stumbled sometimes, took two steps forward to go one step back, but always had such a strength about her. I liked that this wasn’t linear because nobody can tell you how long is too long to grieve and process the unthinkable.

Keane was exactly what Anna needed though. He allowed her to grieve as she needed, made sure she was safe, and became a good friend first. The chemistry was kept on the low end and allowed for a progression of emotions and desire to come out as it needed to.

The trip itself made me want to get on a sailboat and sail the Caribbean myself. It was beautiful writing and really brought the islands to life. I loved all of the things Anna and Keane got to do together while sailing and visiting islands and meeting new people. It added charming side characters and more depth to the story.

I’m grateful I picked this one up (and got approval from Netgalley!) because this approached a hard subject, and also gave a sense of hopefulness in enduring.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + romance
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; innuendo, a few open-ish (mild detailed) love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (of a loved one, including method and being the first one to find them); severe grief, depression; losing a limb from a car wreck and resulting trials

AUTHOR BIO:

Trish Doller is the author of novels for teens and adults about love, life, and finding your place in the world. A former journalist and radio personality, Trish has written several YA novels, including the critically acclaimed Something Like Normal, as well as Float Plan, her adult women’s fiction debut. When she’s not writing, Trish loves sailing, traveling, and avoiding housework. She lives in southwest Florida with an opinionated herding dog and an ex-pirate.

Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @TrishDoller

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Book Review

Book Review: Kingdom of Ash and Briars (The Nissera Chronicles #1) by Hannah West

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Retelling
Length: 352 pages
Author: Hannah West
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: September 15th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut. 

TOO MANY FAIRYTALES.

Oh I gave this a try. And oh, I feel disappointed.

I think this book and I got off on the wrong foot. I was thrown into a scene knowing absolutely nothing, and nobody was telling me anything. We went from there to full on info-dumping for chapters about Bristal’s new magical powers, her duty to the world, and all of these countries kings/queens/offspring. I was very confused.

Once I caught a better grasp, things did take a turn for the better. The story settled in and I could see all of the fairy tales being woven in. I thought maybe too many were shoved into the story to help carry it along, but it was fun seeing the take on each of them.

I wish the romance had more build-up and that the story was more about Bristal. Yes, she was our main character narration, but her entire focus was on other people. I wanted more for her and wished she wasn’t so sidelined in her own tale.

There’s a lot of action and things really do start happening in the second half. Even if I was at the skimming point of reading this book, I know it might be a hit for others (which is why I was a little more lenient on my rating).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + retellings
  • Language: very little, light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: animal attacks, magic, physical altercations, swords/arrows; not overly bloody/gory

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Allison Saft
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

GREAT ATMOSPHERE.

I’m grateful I got an ARC for this one, because reading it in September with all of the fall, spooky, and Gothic vibes was the perfect combination. The atmosphere of Down Comes the Night was written beautifully.

I loved Wren as a main character. She was emotional, brave, intelligent, and devoted. I really loved her compassion for others and the fact she was emotional. It’s okay to feel things and to show those feelings and I loved knowing and seeing that in a character.

Her relationship with both Una and Hal worked amazingly in this standalone. It was somehow a love triangle, but not. Just a movement and progression of Wren’s relationships as the story grew. I thought the way it worked out with Una fit well, and appreciated that it wasn’t some blown out of proportion break-up, but an acknowledgement of where they both were in their lives. And moving with Hal felt right for the now, and he was just SO PRECIOUS. I love a brooding guy with a soft heart.

There’s a LOT of medical terminology used. More so than I’ve seen in any book I’ve read in a good long while. I do have a background in this kind of medical jargon so I didn’t mind it and kind of enjoyed this different addition to a young adult fantasy book. Wren works as a healer and whenever she explains something she’s trying to do, it’s in a more medical based format.

Our villain is a little roll your eyes worthy, but they have a flair all their own that was very creepy and fit into this entire setting well. I wish the story wasn’t confined to essentially one location, but there was enough overall to influence the narrative. Adored the ending and there’s plenty of highlight worthy quotes in here about choosing peace. Definitely a must read!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a very little detailed fade to black scene
  • Violence: bloody/gory; murder, physical altercations, poisonings, magic attacks

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