Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven

*taps microphone* Is this thing on?

Hey guys, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on and even posted a review. But here I am! I promise, I didn’t die or anything. Just life kind of got super busy in a good way.

Anyways, I’d been seeing recommendations and reviews floating around about Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven. Things like “Adults who grew up on Harry Potter will love this!” Well, you know me. I absolutely adore Harry Potter, and pretty much any book with magic is going to pique my interest. So I bought it, and while it took me a while to read it (my own fault), it’s worth it!

97F0E024-3574-4043-98C5-9E8B13E1B01FHarley Merlin is an Empath and an orphan and working for a casino. But this night, her world gets turned upside down as she deals with a gargoyle attack and the introduction of one Wade Crowley. In the same night, she finds out she’s a magical with some interesting powers. But before she can even begin to get acquainted with this new person she’s become, she finds herself in the middle of an investigation. One involving the gargoyles, the coven, and her family that she’d lost long ago.

Bella Forrest does a wondrous job of creating characters both full of snarkiness, sarcasm, and just enough insecurity to be relatable. Forrest established a world all her own, and while I can see some similarities between Harley Merlin’s magical realm and Harry Potter’s, there’s not enough there to feel like it’s a copycat story. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Forrest’s magical works!

If you’re looking for something a little fantastical with a strong female lead and touches of humor throughout, I highly recommend picking this one up and getting enraptured with it as much as I have.

Review: Three Dark Crowns

A47B1A61-FCE9-4353-B78F-7ECBD9009857Three sisters. Three queens. One crown.

Life for Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella is anything but normal. They are gifted girls, each with a special power. Katharine has the gift of poison, able to withstand ingesting any poison she comes in contact with as well as mixing intricate potions to dispatch her enemies. Arsinoe is a naturalist, a gift that allows her to make plants bloom and call animals to her. Mirabella is an elemental with the ability to control the weather as well as the elements. But only one of them can take the throne.

In a novel filled with rituals and long-standing traditions, Kendare Blake weaves a dark tale of magic, romance, and evil. The three sisters are unique characters on their own. However, I felt a bit inundated with the other characters (i.e., the priestesses, the council, etc.). It became intricate and at times hard to follow. There were also places where I questioned why the characters would make that decision. Nothing leading up to it seemed to make sense and nothing after made sense either. As if it was spur of the moment and simply to move the story along.

Blake of course left Three Dark Crowns with a cliffhanger, and one I definitely wasn’t expecting. With a significant twist in the story (saved for the last page), Blake left me wanting more and curious to see how the triplets would continue in a world that seems set against them killing one another. All in all, a decent read but probably one I wouldn’t pick up again. However, that could all change with the sequel to this one, One Dark Throne.

Review: The Phantom Tree

Alison Bannister has spent the past ten years looking for her son, and in the middle of a Wiltshire antiques shop, she comes across a portrait that could be the key to finding him. The portrait is of a woman known as Mary Seymour. Alison knows this because they grew up together.

32618152The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick is a unique tale of time-travel and historical fiction. Alison has lost her son and in the process has found a way into the future. The only problem is, she can’t get back. So now she must rely on her frenemy Mary to leave clues for her to find her lost child.

I’m a sucker for historical fiction and The Phantom Tree is right up my alley. I loved the mixture of past and present so elegantly presented. However, I did get the sense that the two women’s stories were a bit disjointed, only overlapping in convenient areas. I thoroughly enjoyed the time period as it’s one of my favorites. The story is well-told and intriguing but I wish there had been more about Mary’s story as she’s such an important character. The ending also fell a bit flat for me. I felt as if Cornick just wanted the book to be over and gave readers an ending that might satisfy them.

All in all, it’s a wonderful story and one I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re looking for a historical fiction with a touch of the present, I definitely recommend picking up The Phantom Tree.

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: Songlines

It’s hard enough being a teenage girl trying to make it through high school. But when you find out that you’re a Guardian of the Garden of Eden…well, things get much harder.

Songlines-Full-Res-Bookcover-whiteLainie Gracewood has lived her whole life in Nalong and has dreamed of leaving the farmland she knows for big adventures in the city. But when she suddenly starts getting visions, things get complicated. Harry, a farmhand, breaks the news to Lainie that she is in fact a Cherubim that has been appointed to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden. However, with the threat of miners looming on the horizon, Lainie doesn’t have the easiest job.

Songlines is a unique tale told from an Australian standpoint, not something you see these days. Carolyn Denman does a fantastic job of blending religion with fantasy in this inspiring novel of family, friendship, and responsibility. With flair for the dramatic, Denman produces a story that you won’t want to stop reading. While I felt that the beginning was a little dull (and we were suddenly thrown into the meat of the story), I couldn’t make myself put this one down. You can bet I’m eagerly awaiting the second installment of this fabulous story!

**I received a copy of this book from BookSirens for an honest review.**

Review: The Book Jumper

Imagine being able to jump into your favorite novel, being able to interact with the characters you love, and basically live the story! For Amy Lennox, that’s reality…or at least it becomes her reality.

ABEC5B42-1117-4ACA-B5BE-181C6F964474For as long as Amy can remember, it’s always been her and Alexis, her mom. Life hasn’t always been easy but it sure has been an adventure for the two of them. Until one summer. School had been hard on Amy. The friends she thought she had weren’t actually her friends and her mom was dealing with a hard breakup. So the two of them decide to spend a few weeks at Alexis’s childhood home, a little island called Stormsay.

While there, Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead insists that Amy read while she resides at Lennox House. Which isn’t much of a problem for Amy since she loves to read anyway. But Amy soon learns that her family holds a special power as book jumpers, able to interact with a story and protect the plots to keep the literary world in check. It seems like a wonderful ability, until someone starts stealing ideas from the classics. Dorothy’s cyclone disappears, the white rabbit can no longer lead Alice to Wonderland, and it’s suddenly snowing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But who is destroying the stories and why?

I was super excited to read this one. But it was a little slow going in the beginning. It wasn’t until I was about seven chapters in that the story started to pick up. While an easy read and an intriguing story, I felt that bits of it were thrown together haphazardly. However, part of that could just be the translation. Nevertheless, Mechthild Glaser has created a unique tale for all bookworms. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed about being able to talk with their favorite heroines or watch the classic stories being lived right in front of them?

There’s a lot going on in the book and it can get a bit confusing. I felt like there were too many underlying stories to the main one that at times it distracted from the awesomeness of the main storyline. Still, The Book Jumper was a good read with a surprise ending and I can’t wait to read more from this author!

Review: Ever Alice

When Alice fell through the rabbit hole, she discovered a world filled with mystery and quite a bit of nonsense. She battled jabberwockies, talked with animals, and met a queen. But what happened when she came back?

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 8.29.43 AMEver Alice picks up where Lewis Carroll left off. Alice has talked about Wonderland non-stop since her return and her parents are concerned. They’ve taken her to doctor after doctor until they have no choice but to commit her to an asylum. But Alice knows she’s not crazy. Every bit of Wonderland was as real as the padded walls around her. And when the White Rabbit shows up once again to lead her to Wonderland, she is convinced even more that what she’s seen is real. But the Rabbit hasn’t come back to invite her to tea or to walk through the gardens. This time, he’s back with a mission, one only Alice can do. He wants her to kill the Queen of Hearts.

H.J. Ramsay doesn’t skip a beat in this beautiful, nonsensical retelling of a classic. While keeping the integrity of Carroll’s characters intact, she makes it her own as well. It’s easy to get lost in the wonders of Wonderland and I’m reminded of my childhood and discovering Wonderland with Alice for the first time. Ramsay delivers more than just a new chapter in Alice’s story. She reminds us that sometimes reality isn’t all it seems and it’s ok to go back to Wonderland.

**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows

Ghosts. Gods. And plot out the wazoo.

39679076._UY844_SS844_Annaleigh has just buried another one of her sisters. It seems as if her family had been in mourning for as long as she could remember. The islands they made their home believed there was a curse on their family. And when Annaleigh begins seeing the ghosts of her dead sisters, she wonders if they may be right. But that’s not the only strange thing going on.

I want more of this book! House of Salt and Sorrows is one-in-a-million. While being incredibly interesting, it also holds quite a bit of a spook factor. There were times where I didn’t want to read it alone because it gave me the heebie-jeebies in the best way possible. Mixed with fantasy and romance, the characters are incredibly easy to fall in love with. And there was just plot twist after plot twist! It was constantly throwing me off track on what I thought would happen. I seriously can not wait for this to come out in hardback because I will be snatching it up!

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**