book reviews

Book Review: The Midnight Bargain

 A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family.

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling. 

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan. 

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I know I post mainly books I really love on my blog, but I feel it’s also important to post reviews for books I didn’t care for. I didn’t love this book. I felt confused by the magic and the world as a whole. 

The upside was it was a quick read. It wasn’t hard to read, just confusing. I will leave this review kind of short, but I just didn’t love this. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

book reviews

Book Review: Daughters of Jubilation

From the award-winning author of The Truth of Right Now comes a stunning, grounded fantasy in the vein of Dread Nation that follows a black teen as she finds her place among a family of women gifted with magical abilities.

In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move.

On top of all that, Evvie’s magic abilities are growing stronger by the day. Her family calls it jubilation—a gift passed down from generations of black women since the time of slavery. And as Evvie’s talents waken, something dark comes loose and threatens to resurface…

And when the demons of Evvie’s past finally shake free, she must embrace her mighty lineage, and summon the power that lies within her.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book has so many trigger warnings I can’t even start. Rape, Racial Slurs, Racism, Violence, etc. It was incredibly hard to read at times, but it was still a pretty phenomenal book. 

This is the kind of book that breaks your heart and makes you feel so hopeless. The characters were so well thought out and the mother daughter relationship felt more real than most do. It reminded me a lot of my own relationship with my mother. 

Overall, this was a powerful read but not an easy one. I cried a lot and even now I am at a loss for words on what to say about it. It was heartbreakingly great. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

book reviews

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches

In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in a Hugo award-winning author’s powerful novel of magic amid the suffragette movement.In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters — James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna — join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote — and perhaps not even to live — the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, I’ll start this off by saying I love books set in the past as well as alternate universes. This book was almost an instant win for me because of those themes but I loved the story as well! It is such a perfect story for this time of year. Witches, feminism, sisterhood, etc! I loved every moment of it. 

I found myself getting absolutely lost in this book! I would read and read, I absolutely could not put this down. It was like I just had to keep going. Each chapter pulled you deeper into the world. 

What I love about Harrow’s writing style is she makes you feel every little bit of magic on every page. She just has a way of writing that is beautiful. I loved this. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

book reviews

Book Review: The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass

Even teenage assassins have dreams.

Eli isn’t just a teenage girl — she’s a made-thing the witches created to hunt down ghosts in the human world. Trained to kill with her seven living blades, Eli is a flawless machine, a deadly assassin. But when an assignment goes wrong, Eli starts to question everything she was taught about both worlds, the Coven, and her tyrannical witch-mother.

Terrified that she’ll be unmade for her mistake, Eli seeks refuge with a group of human and witch renegades. To earn her place, she must prove herself by capturing the Heart of the Coven. With the help of two humans, one motorcycle, and a girl who smells like the sea, Eli is going to get answers — and earn her freedom.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I felt like this novel was super creative. I loved the premise and the story itself was strong. It was a very interesting take on witches and magic. The characters were strong. 

My only complaint was the story was a bit all over the place. It almost felt like the author got a little lost in the world building, but it was still quite a wonderful universe created. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I am interested in seeing where this story goes!

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

book reviews

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.


France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2020. I am a huge fan of V.E. Schwab and this book was no exception. I loved every minute of it. Schwab is just a great writer and storyteller in general. Every book she writes just draws you in and tugs at your heart. She has such a beautiful writing style that makes her books impossible to put down (even when they are super long). 

As soon as I got the notice for the ARC, I could not wait to read it. At this point in time, I have read it twice and I’ve listened to the audio book once. I will say REREAD IT AGAIN!!! You will catch so much more the second time around! 

The ending was a complete surprise, but then again so was the story. So much time and emotion went into this amazingly dark collection of moments about a forgettable girl turned into an unforgettable story. 

Can I give this a 10 out of 5?!

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

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Book Review: All Stirred Up

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. She returned to save her family’s dying legacy–but found the ghosts of her past alive and well.

Susan Napier’s family once lived on the success of the high-end restaurants founded by her late grandfather. But bad luck and worse management has brought the business to the edge of financial ruin. Now it’s up to Susan to save the last remaining restaurant: Elliot’s, the flagship in Edinburgh.

But what awaits Susan in the charming city of Auld Reekie is more than she bargained for. Chris Baker, her grandfather’s former protégé–and her ex-boyfriend–is also heading to the Scottish capital. After finding fame in New York as a chef and judge of a popular TV cooking competition, Chris is returning to his native Scotland to open his own restaurant. Although the storms have cleared after their intense and rocky breakup, Susan and Chris are re-drawn into each other’s orbit–and their simmering attraction inevitably boils over.

As Chris’s restaurant opens to great acclaim and Susan tries to haul Elliot’s back from the brink, the future brims with new promise. But darkness looms as they find themselves in the crosshairs of a gossip blogger eager for a juicy story–and willing to do anything to get it. Can Susan and Chris reclaim their lost love, or will the tangled past ruin their last hope for happiness?

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am a huge Jane Austen fan and this book is a great retelling of Persuasion. My only issue with this was the pacing. It started off super slow and really drug through the first couple chapters and continued through the first half of the book. Then it really just sped through the end of it too fast. It just felt disconnected in a way. 

I think it was a very interesting take on the Austen classic and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys Austen’s stories. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

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Book Review: Eventide

MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES

Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907

When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.

In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.

But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….

A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this so much! It has such a creepy feel to it. I loved the atmosphere of the town they lived in. Creepy small towns are something I live for! I thought the characters were super well written and the plot was just a mysterious masterpiece. I thought it was dark and creepy in the best way possible. 

It was so fun to piece everything together. It wasn’t easy to piece together, but you still were able to figure out everything before Verity and her sister did!

Overall, I found this book a great spooky read for October! I absolutely could not put it down. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

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Book Reviews: The Hollow Places

A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel from the author of the “innovative, unexpected, and absolutely chilling” (Mira Grant, Nebula Award–winning author) The Twisted Ones.

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more one fears them, the stronger they become.

With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s LabyrinthThe Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really connected with Kara’s character a little too much. I kind of love the moments where Kara would get lost in her head. It made me really resonate with her. A lot of people have had an issue with the internal dialogue, but I really enjoyed it. I am one of those people who have a lot of internal dialogue with myself, so I enjoyed it. 

Overall, this was a great horror sci-fi that I just really loved.

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

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Book Review: Hush

“Hush has all the trappings of a great fantasy: a curse, a labyrinthine castle, many secrets, and powerful magic. At the center of it all, a girl unwilling to allow her world to be twisted by lies when she knows the truth. A truly gripping read.” – Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.

From Dylan Farrow comes Hush, a powerful fantasy where one girl is determined to remake the world.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, I am a bit on the fence with how to rate this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it on the other I felt like it could have been better executed. I loved the POV. I thought Shae was a strong choice. 

What I did really love is the magic system. I loved how intriguing it was. The premise for the book was also amazing. The romantic aspects of this book felt a bit awkward. You can tell the author is going for a love triangle in later books but it still felt a bit off to me. I think it will get better as the next book comes out. 

I really hate the instalove books, but I think with better execution this could be a great series. I will definitely read book two because I need to know what happens. Overall, this was an easy and enjoyable read with a great magic system and a good premise. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

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Book Review: Over the Woodward Wall

Writing as A. Deborah Baker, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of talking trees and sarcastic owls, of dangerous mermaids and captivating queens in Over the Woodward Wall, an exceptional tale for readers who are young at heart.

If you trust her you’ll never make it home…


Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.

Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.

They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.

On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.

And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Even though this book is for younger viewers, I really enjoyed it. I do think the setup for the book could have been a little better but the fact that it is for younger readers, I can see why they did it quickly. 

The thing I love about this author is he is a true story teller. Everything is so beautifully descriptive and well written. I loved this and I thought it was whimsical (and a bit terrifying!)

I highly recommend grabbing this and reading it immediately!

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.