Book Review

Book Review: The Serpent’s Curse (The Last Magician #3) by Lisa Maxwell

Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)
Audience: Historical Fiction + Magical Realism
Length: 768 pages
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: April 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Evade the serpent.

Heed the curse.

Rewrite the present.

Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.

But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.

Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.

Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.

Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…


I liked this a lot more than book two.

The pacing felt more consistent throughout 800 pages rather than a drag out situation of me trying to pick the book up to continue reading. The first half was definitely slower, with at least a much quicker paced back half. I was hoping for more action overall (it somehow lacked in this area??). There were plenty of new developments for the story at least.

Namely that there was finally a time change!! I’ve been stuck on the fact that the two sets of characters have only been separated by two years so I was excited to have a bigger gap with more opportunity to explore new areas and new/old characters alike. I still have so many questions, and it’s enough for me to want to continue the series.

I loved that some romantic development occurred after 2000 pages of waiting. Good heavens. THEN HARTE HAD TO OPEN HIS MOUTH. He’s my favorite character, easy. That boy has some groveling to do and may have blown the next book wide open. I am really curious to see where the (last??) book goes!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction + Magical Realism
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, explosions, weapons violence, incapacitating illness, kidnapping, physical violence, alcoholism, child abuse, racism, xenophobia, suicide ideation

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Enchanted Hacienda by J.C. Cervantes

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Magical Realism + Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: J.C. Cervantes
Publisher: Park Row
Release Date: May 16th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


When there’s magic all around you, the possibilities are endless…

When Harlow Estrada is abruptly fired from her dream job and her boyfriend proves to be a jerk, her world turns upside down. She flees New York City to the one place she can always call home—the enchanted Hacienda Estrada.

The Estrada family farm in Mexico houses an abundance of charmed flowers cultivated by Harlow’s mother, sisters, aunt, and cousins. By harnessing the magic in these flowers, they can heal hearts, erase memories, interpret dreams—but not Harlow. So when her mother and aunt give her a special task involving the family’s magic, she panics. How can she rise to the occasion when she is magicless? But maybe it’s not magic she’s missing, but belief in herself. When she finally embraces her unique gifts and opens her heart to a handsome stranger, she discovers she’s far more powerful than she imagined.

With unforeseen twists, romance, and a heavy sprinkle of magic, The Enchanted Hacienda is a captivating coming-of-age debut exploring identity, unconditional family love, and uncovering the magic within us all.

Thank you to Park Row for an ARC.


I liked this a lot more than I could have hoped when I took a chance on reading it. It very much has Encanto vibes but make it all about flowers and adult. I thought the magical realism aspects were woven in beautifully. I loooved all of the flower discussion and gardening and learning about the uniqueness of each bloom. That itself was really charming.

This was much more romance than I was expecting (yay!). I loved Ben and his entire demeanor and sense of self. He was sweet and I thought he and Harlow had some great chemistry. It’s fast paced without feeling like insta-love and I’m so glad there was an happy ending for them.

Lots of emotions and pulling at the heart strings as Harlow had to take a long hard look at what her life was like before she came back home and the newness of things that occurred over the book. Did she always handle it in the best way? No, but I liked that and appreciated the stumbling that it took to get to where she landed. The road isn’t easy, but hopefully worth it.

I was caught up in the the bit of mystery that was added and how the third act was going to be resolved. I LOVED the whole family, sisters, cousins, aunts, etc. Strong and tight family bonds are some of my favorite things in books and this had a great group. It’s a magical, good read and one to check out!

Overall audience notes:

  • Magical Realism + Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two almost open scenes, + 1 very brief/vague open
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a loved one with memory loss (side character)
Book Review

Book Review: An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance + Magical Realism
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily X.R. Pan
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Release Date: April 12th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.

Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.

As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love… but time is running out, and fate will have its way.

Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology in this magical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After


I mostly felt like this book was trying to hard. There’s a lot of different angles for the story and the mythology + Shakespeare vibes were a lot to undertake in a short read. I think the focus one way or another would have been more effective.

The romance between Hunter and Luna was sweet. It was a gentle take on first love and choosing that love. They had an undeniable connection that clearly played out by the end of the book.

The mystery aspects were what kept me reading most. Every time a certain POV chapter popped up I was curious how the story was going to continue. There’s a nice and slow unveiling of facts and backgrounds that lead to the reason Hunter and his family are in hiding. I thought that there would be too many points-of-view (there’s 5+ if I remember correctly) but it did enhance the story and give necessary background information to understanding everything that was happening.

Magical realism isn’t my favorite. I know there’s always a book out there to make me think otherwise, this wasn’t it unfortunately. I do think the audio was narrated really well and would recommend that avenue for trying this book out.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: fade to black; closed door
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun violence, domestic abuse

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Book Review

Book Review: Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong

Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: YA Magical Realism + Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Chloe Gong
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.


I loved this book so much y’all!!!!!! It was one of my biggest releases for the year and it did not disappoint in the slightest.

All of the characters were amazing. The main leads Rosalind and Orion had me hooked on them because MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE. I loved the build they have and the way they are slowly moving from unsuspecting partners to a close bond. They, along with the other relationships that are starting (not saying because spoilers) are fantastic. I am here for it all.

The plot is captivating and I never wanted to stop listening to the audiobook. There was great pacing and the flow of writing is stellar. I was definitely shouting at my steering wheel listening to some of these scenes. Shocked doesn’t even begin to cover it. I loved all of the twists and betrayals. Never quite knowing who’s side someone is on. It reads like an incredible spy thriller and I cannot wait for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction + Magical Realism
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, blood depiction, medical experimentation mentioned, murder, physical violence, weapons violence

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