ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Master storyteller Alice Hoffman brings us the conclusion of the Practical Magic series in a spellbinding and enchanting final Owens novel brimming with lyric beauty and vivid characters.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

Release Date: October 5th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for the opportunity!*

* I am an affiliate with and any purchases made through the link will help independent bookstores and earn me a small commission *

Let me tell you, I am madly in love with the Owens family and this saga, so when I received the ARC for the final book in the series, I SQUEALED and almost cried. These characters hold such a tender space in my heart and it felt so good to be back with them. The Book of Magic brings us back to the present day with Franny and Jet, Gillian and Sally, and Kylie and Antonia as they try to break their family’s curse once and for all. In pure Alice Hoffman fashion, this book, once again, delivers an engaging plot while it really delves into the human condition and what it truly means to love and be loved. Her prose is stunning, as always, and is imprinted strongly on my soul. Reading this book feels like that first sip of coffee on a crisp fall day- comforting, energizing, and full of hope. My only complaint is that it is the last book in the series because I could read about the Owens family forever.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Daughter of Lies and Ruin by Jo Spurrier Review

If they didn’t want to get turned into beasts and used to fuel a ritual, they shouldn’t have attacked a witch. That’s all there is to it.

There’s something strange brewing in this tinder-dry forest – a girl with a sword and a secret, a troupe of vicious bandits vanished without a trace, beasts that don’t belong and a witch with a macabre plan.

Elodie hasn’t been learning witchcraft for long, but she knows enough to be worried, and the fact that her mentor Aleida wants to pack up and leave in short order isn’t helping to settle her nerves.

Elodie just hopes to get everyone out of this mess unharmed, but it’s looking more unlikely with every passing hour. And when the strange witch’s ire falls on her, Aleida’s wrath sparks a fire that threatens to scorch the earth itself

*I am an affiliate of and any purchases made through my links will help independent bookstores and earn me a small commission*

* I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! *

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Curse of Ash and Embers and was excited to be back in the world of the Blackbone Witches. I absolutely love our two main characters, Aleida and Elodie, and how magic works in this universe. In this book, Elodie is continuing her training as a witch when they’re attacked by bandits on the road, setting in motion a series of troubling and exciting events. Although I didn’t like the plot of this one as much as the first, it was still fun and full of action. It sort of felt like a transition book, setting up a bigger story arc for later in the series. I liked the new characters that were introduced, especially getting to see another type of witch. The ending was very cinematic and exhilarating, and while it wrapped up nicely, the story still has room to build and expand. I would definitely read on in this series and am looking forward to the next book!

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: Spells Trouble by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.

When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.

Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good.

Release Date: May 25th, 2021

* I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Wednesday Books for the opportunity! *

Spells Trouble was a solid witchy novel. I absolutely loved the way magic worked in this book, and as someone who has done a good amount of homework looking into witchcraft and its history, this book seemed very realistic and well researched in its magical theory. The concept of the five gates to different underworlds was a really cool idea, and the history behind them helped highlight the gravity of the plot. It was a fast-paced and quick read, but I wish it would have gone a little deeper in detail to give it some “wow” moments. The characters and their relationships were nuanced and interesting, especially the twins, Hunter and Mercy, and their sister dynamic was layered well and fluctuated a lot as the story progressed. I also appreciated their supportive friendships with Jax and Emily, and Mercy’s conflicting, and somewhat drama-filled, relationship with her boyfriend, Kirk. The ending climax, along with the cliffhanger epilogue, was exciting and set up the next book very nicely. Overall, this book was an enjoyable read, and while it lacked a wow factor for me, I would like to continue on in the series and see what else is in store.

ARCs · Book Reviews

A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier Review

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.

Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.

When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review!*

A Curse of Ash and Embers was an absorbing YA fantasy novel and I fell in love with the world of the Blackbone witches. The story was beautifully told through the eyes of Elodie, who is hired as a servant at Black Oak Cottage, under her mysterious mistress, Aleida. Elodie was an easy character to connect to. She had a quiet strength and a loyal and empathetic heart. Her journey throughout the novel was great, and I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next book. Aleida Blackbone was a fierce witch and I loved her. She has a cold demeanor, but you can see underneath that she has warmth and a huge sense of compassion inside her. She struggles a lot with her past actions and I thought that the layers of her character were fantastic. I loved the progression of her relationship with Elodie and the strength they drew from each other. The world-building was really cool and I only wish we could have gotten more into how their magic works (which I’m thinking we might get in the next book..). There were a few twists that I saw coming, and a few that I didn’t, which was fun and exciting. I really enjoyed this quick, witchy read, and I will definitely be continuing on in the series.

Book Reviews

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin Review

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

I was pretty excited to finally read the sequel to Serpent & Dove, and I might have liked this one even better than the first. The chemistry between Reid and Lou that I loved from book one was still burning strong and hot, and we got to see them work through their personal traumas and miscommunications to create an even deeper level of connection. The supporting characters were used in a very purposeful manner and were all multifaceted, complicated characters which added such depth to their relationships- Ansel and CoCo were my favorite. This world and system of magic is so well crafted and cool. Seeing into the Dames Rouges camp and learning more about them was really interesting and I hope we’ll get to explore that even more in the next book. The plot had a lot of fast paced action and took many turns, covering a large variety of different, exciting events, while the ending left me gutted and shocked. When I realized that there was going to be another book though, I was super happy and cannot wait to see where this story will take us.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Literary Witches

Happy almost Samhain everyone! ❤ There are few things I enjoy reading about as much as witches. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, is a Halloween Freebie, so I thought, I’d feature ten of my Favorite Literary Witches.

The Owens Women: Franny, Jett, Sally, Gillian, Maria, & Faith from the Practical Magic Series by Alice Hoffman

This whole series is so stunning and magical, and these women are flawed, strong, complicated, and beautiful. I love them so much.

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I mean, obviously.

Manon Blackbeak from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Manon is probably one of my favorite characters of all time. She is another complicated witch with so many nuances and such a fantastic arc.

Elloren Gardner from The Black Witch Chronicles by Laurie Forest

This might be controversial, as a lot of people do not like Elloren, but I really like and relate to her (even though in the most recent book she was making me mad).

Rachel and Miri from the Magic in Manhattan series by Sarah Mylnowski

My original favorite witches. They’re so entirely relatable and loveable.

Diana Bishop from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Diana helped me rediscover my love of witch fiction as an adult and I love the way magic works in this world.

Gemma Doyle from The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray

THIS SERIES. I was so enraptured by Gemma’s world, and wanted to be a part of it so badly.

Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella from Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

While Mirabella is my favorite of the three, I love their differences and the role each of them has to play.

Agatha Wellbelove from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I don’t know why I am so obsessed with Agatha. She doesn’t even want to be a witch, but for some reason she is my favorite character… maybe because I want to play her as an actress.

Freya Beauchamp from Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Freya was my spirit animal when I read this. I wanted to be her.

Who are your favorite literary witches? Let me know in the comments! ❤

Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

cover184166-mediumSynopsis: An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.

Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.

Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?

Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers explores growing up and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl. It subverts the trope of competitive mean girls and instead portrays a mercilessly supportive clique of diverse and vivid characters. It is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult, and the first of a three-book series.

*Release Date: September 15th, 2020*

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Thanks to Erewhon Books for the opportunity!*

Badass teenage coven!? Count me in.  I was so excited about this book and thankfully was not disappointed!  The Scapegracers is a fun, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable read.  It has a dark and spooky vibe, which I lived for, and reminded me a little of The Craft.  The atmosphere was fully immersive and made me forget where I was in real life while reading, which is one of my favorite feelings in the world.  The characters in this book were fascinating, and I’m honestly not sure if I actually liked any of them, but it worked.  Our narrator, Sideways, had a snarky voice and she put on such a tough exterior to cover up her insecurity in navigating her emotions and new friendships.  Her new friends, Jing, Daisy, and Yates, were a different version of a typical popular highschool clique which was a cool choice.  While Yates was a sweet and loving friend, Jing and Daisy were a little terrifying.  I did have a little trouble visualizing what they all looked like, but their personalities were extremely vivid and strong.  Their banter was hilarious and sarcastic and felt like a real friendship.  I wish the development between the trio of girls and Sideways would have been a little stronger because it felt a little zero to sixty, and I would have enjoyed really seeing them bond and be vulnerable together to become the kind of friends that they became by the end.  I loved the diversity in the cast and there is a ton of good LGBTQ+ rep.  The magic system in this world is a little muddy, but the specifics that were there were fantastic.  I would have liked to see the coven really discover how the magic works instead of just guessing and letting things happen.  The idea of their “specters”, or a type of magic soul, was so cool, as well as the idea of the Book Devils in their spellbooks.  They mentioned other covens and there seems to be a big magical history in this world that we have only tapped the surface of, that I am excited and hopeful to learn more about.  I was fully engaged in the plot the whole time and the ending twist was great.  It made me really pumped to continue with the rest of the trilogy.  This book is a good read for anyone who likes witches with a spookier edge, and since the release date was pushed back to September, it will be a perfect fall read.


Book Reviews

ARC Review: Dark Secret by Danielle Rose

cover179707-mediumThere’s no wrath like that of a witch scorned.

Seventeen-year-old spirit witch Ava López is the self-appointed guardian of the witches and humans of Darkhaven, an idyllic village nestled between the forest and the sea. Her watch: vicious and bloodthirsty vampires.

Ava is a novice in the eyes of her coven. If she expects to protect them and the secrecy of their powers, she must gain better control of her own. When a full moon ritual goes awry, control may be lost forever, and Ava is exiled from her coven. Forced to seek refuge among the beings she had always sworn herself to hunt, she vows revenge on those who have upended her life.

But the more time Ava spends away from her coven, the more she discovers a startling truth: the witches haven’t been honest with her. Ava’s quest to strip the truth from everything she’s ever known begins with the toughest realization of all—coming to terms with who she has become.

*I received this book in return for an honest review.  Thanks to Waterhouse Press for the opportunity!*

Release Date: February 18th, 2020

There is nothing that draws me to a book more than it being a story about witches.  I absolutely love them in all shapes and forms.  Unfortunately, this one missed the mark for me.  Dark Secret is a very short book, coming in at 184 pages, and while the length of a book doesn’t determine the strength of the story, this one felt rushed and underdeveloped.  I really liked where the plot went, but every event moved so fast and we didn’t get enough time to invest in the characters.  They were all very surface level and I wished I would have had more to connect with and care about them.  I liked the main character, Ava, in the beginning, but she became so wishy-washy as the story progressed and it didn’t make sense.  I understood the complexity of the situation that was trying to be portrayed, but the way it was written didn’t accomplish the emotional depth and confusion in a way that felt real.  I did love the way witches and their magic were portrayed in this world, and I really wish we could have gone deeper into the coven and Ava’s place within it.  Her journey was a tough one, and while we only see the beginning of her arc in this book, there could have been a stronger emotional change for her.  In the end, this book had a fun and quick plot, but lacked the character and emotional depth that makes a book feel complete.

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Book Reviews

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin Review

40024139Summary: Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

As most of you know I love any and everything witchy and I have been wanting to read this book for so long.  Witches, witch hunters, and forbidden love?  That absolutely GORGEOUS cover!? Sign me up!  Luckily I was not disappointed.  Lou is a fantastic character.  She is gritty, fierce, and swears like a sailor.  I loved her tenacity despite everything life had thrown at her and through all of her self preservation, she still cared about others.  Reid was the complete opposite of Lou with his uptight, straight-laced personality, and they balanced each other well.  Watching them slowly break down each other’s walls was lovely and built their chemistry in a great way.  I really rooted for them in their conflicted world- which was nicely developed.  We got a great sense of its history, especially dealing with magic and the constant war between the witches and the Chasseurs.  The way the witches’ magic worked was really interesting and made a lot of sense with the give and take of the power.  The plot had a few slower moments, but overall it was really engaging and relationship-driven.  There were a few thrilling twists and the ending was exciting and set us up perfectly for a sequel.  I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m really looking forward to seeing where the series goes.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: Something Wicked by Nicole M. Rubino

48190470Summary: A breakup and a car accident are no way to start your seventeenth birthday.

For Theo Montgomery, that is exactly how it began. Her bad luck turns worse when she returns home from a school dance to find her house on fire–with her parents still inside.

Following their deaths, Theo is sent to live with her estranged aunt in Salem, Massachusetts. If a new home and a new school aren’t enough to deal with, Theo discovers her aunt has a secret: she is a witch. And so is Theo.

Theo must learn keep her magic in check, lest the Town’s notorious witch hunters discover that magic has returned to the world after more than three hundred years. But how can she navigate a new school, new magical powers and avoid the witch hunters, when she finds herself enjoying the company of one?

Trystan de Lancre is a dangerous witch hunter, but that doesn’t keep Theo from wanting to discover more about him. Harboring secrets of his own, Trystan isn’t the only perilous force in Salem. Something has returned to the village; something that the witches believed to have been dead and buried long ago.

Salem’s dark past rises to haunt Theo and the present-day witches, unraveling a shocking revelation: the real cause of the Salem Witch Trials.

This book was awesome.  I loved every second of reading it and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.  Was the writing amazing? No, but it was so much fun and I really liked the characters, the story, and the vibe.  The plot was really entertaining and even though it was predictable at times, the twists were still totally satisfying.  The romance between Theo and Trystan was quick, but never felt rushed and I thought their chemistry was good and built up nicely.  I loved Theo’s Aunt Elizabeth and I can’t wait to learn more about her (I have a feeling something big is coming).  My one main concern about the book was the system of magic.  It was a bit muddy and since it is such a major component of the plot, I wish the boundaries and rules for it would have been clearer and stronger.  Because of that, I can’t give the book 5 stars, but I’m going to give it a strong 4 and I even had a slight book hangover after this one.  I cannot wait to see how the story continues!  If you like witches, I definitely recommend.

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