The kingdom’s balance is shaken in this duology finale!
The kingdom’s balance is shaken in this duology finale! In the imaginary world of Avantine, Lilac is now married to King Hansen. The kingdom’s citizens blame her for the odd and scary events that take place. They believe she’s a witch with dark magic. Strange deaths shake the balance in the kingdom and when her mother’s palace is destroyed, no one and nowhere feels safe. Cal and his cohorts have to work quickly to solve the problem and help rebuild their kingdom’s safety.
Likes/dislikes: The repeated mentions of past events became tedious. The relationships fell into place too conveniently and quickly towards the ending of the book. I would have liked to have more background on Jander and the demon wreaking havoc in the kingdom because that would have made the world building stronger and the story more interesting. The unwanted marriage between Lilac and the king overshadowed everything.
Mature Content: PG-13 for implied sex, gentle kissing, urgent nondescript kiss. Language: PG for 4 swears and no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for bloody deaths by stabbing and falling; messy, bloody death of a horse. Ethnicity: The ethnicity is mixed.
In Tigang, Narra wants her mother to stay home but she insists on going to the capital to confess that she kept her marked daughter alive even when the law stated she must die. Narra is the marked daughter because of the birthmarks on her neck, which people believe makes her cursed. Her mother is imprisoned and Narra enters the competition that takes place every ten years to find a new ruler. She wants to win the competition so she can rescue her mother. Narra enters the trials with no magic, no weapons and no help. It takes all of her willpower and wits to get through it all.
Likes/dislikes: The vocabulary in the world building and introduction of characters gets confusing but it makes more sense as the story goes on. The story felt disjointed because of the competition, the past lives and the magic not necessarily blending well together. I did like Narra, the main character, and her companions, Virian and Dayen, and how they worked together and helped each other.
Mature content: PG for brief kissing Language: PG-13 for 19 swears and no f-bombs. Violence: PG for cuts on palms of hands as a gift of blood to begin a ceremony and a nondescript beheading. Ethnicity: The ethnicity is mixed with the following: olive skin, brown skin, deep russet skin, dark Tigangi skin, and dark brown skin.
Vera loves her family and her three siblings. All of a sudden she only has two siblings and her whole family feels like something is missing. This keeps happening with the people she knows and then doesn’t remember. The mystery is the best part of this book. People are being erased from memories and the only proof is a sad underlying feeling. Vera goes through many theories before the truth is found out. Then, all she has to do is put a stop to it and reverse everything. No problem! ;). Interesting and unique story about how important the people we care about are in our lives, 4 stars!
Daphne and Beatriz both receive confirmation of Sophronia’s death. Violie, Sophronia’s maid and unbeknownst spy of Empress Margareaux, helps Leopold escape to safety as she promised Sophronia she would. They meet up with Ambrose and Lord Savelle, who Beatriz freed from prison and Ambrose took on his boat to safety. At the wedding ceremony for Daphne and Bairre, an explosion occurs that kills the Empyria helping the king and now Bairre’s mother becomes the new Empyria. Beatriz and Pasquale end up in Empress Margareaux’s palace while Violie and Leopold are spying on Daphne in Bairre’s kingdom. The four work together to stop the Empress from taking over the continent and killing them all. Beatriz is convinced that their mother, Empress Margareaux, planned to kill all three of her daughters the minute she secured the kingdoms they infiltrated and now she’s trying to convince Daphne of their mother’s betrayal. The intrigue twists, turns and never stops, 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the intensity which is stronger than in the first book of this series. The intrigue never ends and it twists and turns as characters change their planned actions. The character variety is entertaining. Ethnicity: predominantly white Language: PG-13 for 10 swears, no f-bombs Mature content: PG for kissing, lgbtq side character Vilence: PG-13 for bloody stabbings, imprisonment, death by an arrow to the neck, poisoning
The Charmed List is a quirky, genre-bending book. It’s romance mixed with magic. Ellie lives in a city full of magic gatherers and spell makers. Most of them want to help others by making their lives a little happier, better. Jack’s father seems to just want to make money using the magic. Ellie and Jack used to be best friends until his mother died and he distanced himself from her and chose other friends that make fun of her. Ellie and her now best friend Lia plan a prank on Jack and he uses magic to get rid of it. He doesn’t realize that anyone is watching him. Lia doesn’t know magic exists and the magical community has strict rules about sharing magic, information or anything, with those who don’t know it’s real. When she sees Jack use a spell, she’s overwhelmed and everyone in Jack’s and Ellie’s families find out what they did. Jack and Ellie get in trouble and are sent on a work trip for their parents’ shops. They’re told they have to work out their differences and being wisely magic-aware. The first part of the trip, Ellie is frosty towards Jack. They won’t open up to each other but their siblings planted charms in the lunch they packed, so Jake and Ellie have to compromise if they’re going to eat. They start to relax around each other and actually enjoy their time together. When both families arrive at the convention, Jack’s father blows up and says cruel things about Ellie and her family. A roller coaster ride of emotions, crossing items off a bucket list and cute charm make this a fun read, 5 stars!
Clara is an Everwitch and belongs to a band of witches in Pennsylvania who keep nature from being destroyed by wildfires and erratic weather. Mr. Hart is her teacher and wants to help her master her abilities and conquer her fear of harming another after she hurt and killed her best friend Nikki and her parents. Clara changes her personality with the seasons and in summer she enjoys being in relationships but in autumn she loses all feelings for the other person. After Mr. Hart is killed by her magic, Clara wants to give up and resign herself to a life of solitude so she can’t harm anyone else. When Sang arrives to help train her, she starts to believe in herself and hopes she will be able to finally control her magic.
Likes/dislikes: I love the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, sometimes they’re inspiring and sometimes they’re eye-opening. I like the internal struggles of the main character. I also like how the community eventually works together. Mature content: PG-13 for kissing and allusion to sex with no details. Bisexual main character. Violence: PG for death from uncontrollable magic in a flash of light. Language: R for 19 swears and one f-bomb. Ethnicity: White, Asian.
Alessandra is allowed to attend social parties now that her older sister is betrothed. She’s cunning and deceptive and, unbeknownst to her father, has already dated several young men. They keep their flings with her secret because she blackmails them. If people knew she wasn’t purely innocent, she would be shunned from high society and no Royal member would want to marry her. She tells her father the truth after he lets her know it’s time for her to find someone to marry. He wants her to marry someone rich because he’s becoming poor and in danger of losing his lands. Alessandra and her father attend the Royal Ball. The Shadow King seems interested in Alessandra and makes a deal with her to be friends so he can look like he’s wed and so can she, then they’ll both be happy. Alessandra is thrilled with this proposition and she works on her plan to poison him once they’re wed. Instead of continuing with her plan, Alessandra starts to truly care for Kallias, the Shadow King. He develops feelings for her too, which surprises them both. Attempts have been taken to kill the king and he ends up unsure who he can trust and when poison is found in Alessandra’s room, everything falls apart. The selfish intentions of the main characters make this a unique story that’s refreshing because it’s out of the norm, 4 stars!
Ellerie lives on a farm in a small remote village with her family. Her father keeps bees and her mother takes great care of everyone. Ellerie’s twin, Sam, has been distant so she’s helping their father more often. Merry and Sadie are the younger siblings and now their mother is pregnant again. The crew that left for a supply run never made it far. They were killed and no one knows what happened. The village believes that huge wolves with silver eyes are to blame. Ellerie meets a young man that she describes as having a vulpine face, supposedly he’s a trapper, wandering by the creek edge as she’s washing laundry. He says his name is Price but she doesn’t think he’s telling the truth. She decides to call him Whitaker Price. Sam is accused of getting Rebecca pregnant and Sam insists she’s sleeping around with others. Rebecca’s father is accused of starting a fire in Ellerie’s family’s fields and might hang for it. Weird things keep happening to the villagers; small acts of violence that they’re blaming each other for. One night, Ellerie wakes to the farm ablaze. Their mother is caught in the fire and has to be taken to town for medical treatment. The unusual young trapper that Ellerie has gotten to know, takes Mama and Papa into town and returns to let the rest of the family know they made it safely. Whitaker, the mysterious trapper, suspiciously won’t answer any personal questions that Ellerie asks him. Ellerie finds this strange but enjoys his company and wants to spend more time with him. Mind tricks seem to be working on the citizens. The villagers spiral out of control and Ellerie does everything in her power to save her beloved town. Unique spin on the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: An absolutely perfect book! Beautiful writing, vivid imagery, strong characters and amazing world building. Great character development. Mature content: PG-13 for drinking, kissing, premarital sex mentioned but not described. Language: PG-13 for 22 swears, no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for bloody deaths by monsters, shootings between villagers, fighting.
Told in alternating timelines of 1902 and 1983 Brooklyn, each time focuses on different people. Esta and Harte move forward to 1983 where they can go to the future, get away from the enemy, and figure out how to solve the problems of the Brink and the evil Nibsy Lorcan. Viola and Jianyu are in 1902 with Nibsy. All of the main characters from the past books of this series are mentioned in different timelines. The characters eventually all end up in the same timeline together. The storyline consists of turmoil and struggles to right the wrongs of the past and give freedoms to the people who have an affinity for magic. An intelligent time travel fantasy.
Likes/dislikes: The many timelines, characters and struggles almost need a chart to keep track of. This is the fourth book of The Last Magician series and it just adds another layer to the whole concept and plot. If this series is going to be read, the books should be read together without much time between to help keep it all straight. I like the diversity of the characters and their strengths.
Mature content: PG-13 for drug use by side character, kissing Language: R for 53 swears and 1 f-bomb Violence: PG-13 for villain shooting himself, explosions that killed people. Ethnicity/other info: The ethnicity is mixed with white, Italian, Oriental and Black.
Emeline Lark lives in Montreal where she’s trying to leave her forest hometown of Edgewood in the past. She’s on the verge of becoming a singer with a recording company but as she performs she sees signs of the Edgewood Forest creeping onto the stage. Emeline sees a mysterious hooded stranger in the audience who becomes the key to her past and future, unbeknownst to her at the time. Pa, her grandfather, has dementia and when she goes home to take care of him, she’s pulled into the Edgewood Forest and her life is thrown into upheaval and danger. To free herself from the evil and corrupted Wood King, Emeline will have to dig deep and get to the bottom of the forest curse.
5 solid stars!!! Mystery, fantasy, action and romance.
Likes/dislikes: The writing pulled me into the story with incredible world building and mysterious surroundings and characters. Hawthorn is a fascinating character. The story has action, tenderness and a roller coaster of emotions. Language: R for 14 swears and 3 f-bombs Mature content: R for Sex on page 295 that doesn’t mention genitals and is described vaguely; non-detailed oral sex on page 340. The relationship between the two characters is a loving one and the sex is because of this love for each other. Violence: PG for Stabbing of the Shadowskin creatures, no blood involved; danger and Shadowskins chasing people. Ethncity: Predominantly white in Montreal and Edgewood but mixed colors of skin in the otherworldly forest of the Wood King.