Book Review: As You Witch by Erin R. Bedford

Title: As You Witch
Author: Erin R. Bedford
Genre: Paranormal, Reverse Harem, Witches
Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
When Max gets a magic amulet that makes nearly every desire come true, she’ll learn the truth of be careful what you wish for.
However, magical hijinks aren’t all that Max has to worry about. With her hard-working parents strained to pay her tuition, Max’s only chance to stay in Winchester Academy is to win the scholarship at the big school fair. Of course, to win, she has to beat her bully of a rival, wow the entire school, and juggle four guys vying for her attention.
Nothing a few wishes, a little magic, and a lot of luck can’t handle … she hopes!

I previously reviewed the first book in the series, Witching on a Star. That wasn’t a success by any means – I rated it 2,5 stars, and while I had high hopes for a reverse harem set in a witching academy, my hopes fell flat and the book was a bit of a dissapointment.

Still, I picked up book two, As You Witch, because I wanted to see if it would get any better. The series has a lot of potential, it just never executes it well, so I thought that maybe some of those kinks would’ve gotten fixed in book two. Alas, no such luck, and I even liked this one less than the first one.

This book was filled with unnecessary drama from the start until the end. With a million possible options to pick villains when your book is set in a witching world, the author keeps on using the mean girl as a villain. It’s dull and predictable. The dialogue is so bad that I had to roll my eyes at every other sentence. Max is immature, childish, entitled, and the guys she’s supposedly in love with are so bland and boring even I wouldn’t be able to keep them apart.

There is no conflict. There’s nothing really at stake. The relationships are too perfect – these four guys are instantly OK with all of them being with the heroine, and none of them is trying to win her for themselves. Of the four guys, only two have a hint of a personality, and the other two are basically just thrown in so this would be a reverse harem and not a love triangle. Either give them more personality or focus on the two that do have developed personalities and that a reader can root for.

Look, I know I’m one of the few who isn’t fond of this series, and it has really high overall ratings on Goodreads and Amazon. So, don’t take my word for it, this is after all just my opinion. But as far as reverse harems go, I’ve seen a lot better than this one.

Book Review: Witching on a Star by Erin R. Bedford

Title: Witching on a Star (Academy of Witches #1)
Author: Erin R. Bedford
Genre: Paranormal, Reverse Harem, Witches
Rating: 2,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

All her life Max knew she was destined for more, but when she graduated high school, she never expected to find out she was a witch.
Now Max isn’t headed to the ivy league college of her dreams but to the Witch’s Academy, where the spells are real and the classes just might kill you.
If Max hopes to survive her new destiny she’ll have to put up with mean girl cliques, way too sexy for their own good bad boys, and a popularity contest she didn’t expect to win.
Turns out, wishing comes with consequences and all magic has a price, especially at Witch Academy, but Max may find she’s more prepared than she thought to handle it all.

Last week, I was in the mood for a reverse harem romance. Reverse harem, for those who don’t know, is where one girl has several love interests…and actually ends up with several or all of them! It might be a bit of a strange concept if you’re not used to it, but the last year it’s really gained some fraction in the reading community and more and more people are picking up this genre of books (with more and more writers starting to write in this genre as well). Reverse harem is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m glad to see its success growing over the past year.

Anyway, on to this book, Witching on a Star, one of the first reverse harem books I’ve picked up in a while. We meet Max, our heroine, who never expected to find out she was a witch after she graduated high school. But lo and behold, not only does she have powers, her family is actually pretty famous in the witching community, and her grandparents are swimming in cash.

Witch Academy could be fun and exciting, but on the first day, Max already makes enemies out of the current queen bee of the school, and bumps into several guys who each have their unique, interesting personality traits. There’s the typical division: smart but somewhat shy, sexy bad guy, and then two more who don’t make that much of an appearance in this book and weren’t quite that memorable to me. In fact, personality-wise, basically the only one I could tell apart from the others was sexy bad guy. The others are so bland and indescriptive that they might as well be the same person.

So far, the book seems to have everything you’d expect in a reverse harem, right?

Well, it does, but it’s all kind of cringy. The romance is cringy. Everyone Max meets instantly falls in love with her, even willing to put morals and jealousy aside to be with her; they don’t mind if she’s dating multiple guys because she’s Max, the most special snowflake to ever walk this earth.

Max’s special-snowflake behaviour is so annoying. She goes from having no powers to being overpowered in a matter of pages, without actually needing any training. She scarcely spends any time in classes, more often than not hanging out with boys instead.

The villain is a mean girl. Yes, in a world of magic where you could conjure up about any type of villain, the villain Max has to stare down is Sabrina, typical mean girl who used to be queen bee until Max came along, who promptly stole Sabrina’s boyfriend (ex-boyfriend since he dumped Sabrina previously, apparently for cheating on him with his brother… which is exactly what Max ends up doing from the start, out in the open, and he makes no comment about it whatsoever…double standards much?).

The best friend is just filler, and only shows up when Max needs her to, conveniently disappearing at any other moment. The world-building is OK but I’m curious to find out more about this wizarding world and its many families. So far, the school and world feel really, really smal. I would also like to find at least one guy in this series who is NOT instantly falling for Max.

I also picked up book two just because I wanted to see if it would get any better, as despite the mean-girl clichés and Max being a Mary Sue, I am intrigued by the guys and if they will keep swooning over Max or if more drama will come their way. Stay tuned for my review of book two soon.

Mini-Review: Escape from Witchwood Hollow, The Sisters’ Grimoire, Mothman’s Curse


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Escape from Witchwood Hollow

Tite: Escape from Witchwood Hollow

Author: Jordan Elizabeth Mierek

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Everyone in Arnn – a small farming town with more legends than residents – knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees.

After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.

Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.

To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness.

How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?

Review: I knew this would be a hit from the moment I started reading. Witchwood Hollow is such an amazing, imaginative seting, and the story is so unique and original. Honoria is an amazing character, and I admired her bravery. Loved the focus on witches, and how it all wrapped up in the end. Definitely one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

The Sister’s Grimoire

Title: The Sister’s Grimoire

Author: Suza Kates

Genre: Paranormal, Witches

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Tate Whiteburn has come home to Bar Harbor, Maine, but what should have been a short trip takes an unexpected turn. The Victorian house near the cliffs holds much more than painful memories, and when lightning strikes midnight, family secrets unfold.

She and her sisters have no choice but to work together, as they find strength they never knew they had . . . and face danger from a place they never knew existed.

Review: The good: the book focuses on three sisters and their bond. The bad: it kind of reads like Charmed. There’s a Victorian house, a grimoire, witchy magic being passed from mother to daughter, and so on. While entertaining, the plot sometimes jumps from place to another, which made it difficult to follow. Characters were flat too, and hard to relate to.

Mothman’s Curse

Title: Mothman’s Curse

Author: Christine Hayes, James K. Hindle (illustrator)

Genre: Children’s Book, Middle Grade, Paranormal Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When Josie and her brothers uncover a haunted camera, the Mothman legend becomes a terrifying reality that threatens their entire town in this spooky and action-filled novel. Josie may live in the most haunted town in America, but the only strange thing she ever sees is the parade of oddball customers that comes through her family’s auction house each week. But when she and her brothers discover a Polaroid camera that prints pictures of the ghost of local recluse John Goodrich, they are drawn into a mystery dating back over a hundred years. A desperate spirit, cursed jewelry, natural disasters, and the horrible specter of Mothman all weave in and out of the puzzle that Josie must solve to break the curse and save her own life.
Review: What an entertaining read! For an adult, the characters are a little flat, and some of the plot parts aren’t all that original (a haunted camera has been used just about a million times already) but I’m sure kids will love it. The story flows well, it’s fast-paced, the characters do have little quirks that kids enjoy reading about, the book uses local legends which makes it seem more realistic, and whenever it gets too creepy, the cartoon-like illustrations will help dissolve that fear.

Book Review: The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

20342498Title: The Hawley Book of the Dead

Author: Chrysler Szarlan

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Witches

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.
Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.
Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.
Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.
Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.

The Hawley Book of the Dead has an original, surprising premise, and delivers with great writing and outstanding characters. The book starts off with a bang, introducing us to Revelation, “Reve” Dyer, who accidentally kills her husband. They’re a duo of magicians and illusionists, but one night, one of their tricks goes wrong and she kills her husband on stage. Reve is broken up about it, and along with her three daughters, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. Afraid the person who murdered her husband (the intruder who switched her trick pistol) is after them, she gathers her girls and moves to Hawley Five Corners, a small town founded by her ancestors.

But living in a secluded farmhouse in the middle of a town she grew up hearing so much about, Reve discovers things about her history that she never thought possible. She finds the Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient journal with strange power that might save her or destroy her. Reve tries to uncover the journal’s secrets, and hopes it might help protect herself and her daughters, for it seems the person who murdered her husband has chased them to Hawley…

The book has an amazing amount of lore behind it, and I enjoyed uncovering the secret of the Hawley Book of the Dead. It also has a good amount of mystery and even some thriller-aspects. The middle part lagged a bit, but I found that this helped build up the supsense. I began to really care for Reve and her daughters, and I didn’t want anything to happen to them. The characters were well-rounded and interesting. Reve’s sorrow and grief is so realistic you instantly feel bad fo her.

While the plot was interesting, it was the magic that brought this book to the next level for me. I liked the history behind it, the introduction of the book, and in general, the whole magic system. The writing was great too, with vivid descriptions and an unique setting.

Book Review: The Pendle Curse by Catherine Cavendish

23622051Title: The Pendle Curse
Author: Catherine Cavendish
Genre: Horror
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill,and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there.But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a webof witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.

The Pendle Curse is one of the best witch stories I’ve ever read. The book reaches back to the original notion of witches, brewing up potions, grabbing herbs and giving others the evil eye. Unlike modern stories of witchcraft, it stays true to some elements of the older witch-related mythology, and by doing so, it instantly gained a few stars for me. Forget about witches like the ones in Charmed or The Witches of East End – here we have the real deal, from old crones to younger, but equally relentless witches, the ones you come across in medieval stories, the ones you can genuinely fear.

Laura Philips’ husband died suddenly, and the loss has her devastated. She’s depressed, barely gets any sleep, and if she does, her sleep is haunted by nightmares of a dark hill, gallows, and a man who seems to know her. When the nightmares grow more vivid, Laura starts digging around and finds out the hill from her dreams is real – it’s called Pendle Hill, and it’s a tourist attraction. Four centuries ago, ten convinced witches were hanged on the Hill, since called Pendle Hill.

Driven by curiosity, Laura goes to visit the quaint, small town near Pendle Hill. She books a room in a local inn, and goes out to investigate. But what she finds in Pendle Hill is bigger than she could’ve ever imagined. Combining a storyline of four centuries ago, and a present storyline involving Laura, the book switches back and forth between past and present to craft a haunting, intriguing story about a witch’s curse that spans centuries.

Although I enjoyed both storylines, the past one was my favorite because it focused on the witches and stayed most loyal to witch lore. The writing was excellent, the characters vibrant and entertaining, and overall, this was one of the best witch stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Mini-Review: White Witch, Monstrous Beauty, Pretty Crooked


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

White Witch

Title: White Witch (Coven #1)

Author: Trish milburn

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Fresh, fun, and dangerous! I can’t wait for the next one!” -Sherrilyn Kenyon #1 NYT Bestselling Author of the Dark-Hunter Series
Witchcraft Is Her Family’s Business.
No One Quits The Family And Lives To Tell About It.
“Jax” Pherson has power, enough power to know her future will end in service to the dark coven her father controls. Unless she can stay hidden in a small community in the mountains of North Carolina. She must find a way to live without magic and deny the darkness she feels welling up inside her-the same dark power that fuels the covens around the world.
All she wants is a normal life. A boyfriend. Friends. Some place to belong, but all too soon Jax’s barely begun new life hangs in the balance when she discovers that the boy she’s attracted to is sworn to kill her kind. He’s a hunter with good reason to kill everything that goes bump in the night.
Even the most fleeting use of her power is tantamount to signing her death warrant and will bring both hunter and coven down on her. But can she walk away when her friends are threatened by an old evil? Something created by the magic of witches? Jax’s only hope of survival is to convince the boy she loves to forget everything he’s ever been taught and help her find a way to fight the covens. To believe there is some good in her.

Review: I liked the whole witchcraft angle of the book – I’m a fan of witches, and the plot was entertaining. The insta-love bothered me though, as well as the Mary Sue qualities of the main character. Jax is pretty much perfect, and that makes her pretty boring.

Monstrous Beauty

Title: Monstrous Beauty

Author: Elizabeth Fama

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mermaids

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Review: I loved this book. Monstrous Beauty combines two paranormal creatures: mermaids and ghosts. While it seems a surprising combination, it actually works. The book travels between two timelines, each one equally convincing. Solid writing, amazing characters.

Pretty Crooked

Title: Pretty Crooked

Author: Elisa Ludwig

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Review: A modern female Robin Hood, Pretty Crooked is a light read. However, the writing was a little flat, and none of the characters stood out for me. I did enjoy reading the book, but it wasn’t very memorable.

Mini-Review: Unspoken, Covet, The Enchanted Truth


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.


Title: Unspoken

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Review: Kami Glass has always talked to a boy in her mind. This was an unique premise, and the book delivers easily on its unique plot. There was a lot of mystery, and it was rather complicated, which I enjoyed. I’m not sure if everyone is who they’re pretending to be, and I love that about a book.


Title: Covet (The Clann #2)

Author: Melissa Darnell

Genre: Vampires, Witches, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Dangerous to be together. Painful to be apart.

Savannah Colbert knows she broke up with Tristan Coleman for the right reasons. Most of all, to keep from killing him with her new vampire abilities. But try telling her heart. Now, lost in a sea of hostile Clann faces, Sav tries to come to terms with what she's becoming and what that means for her future. And that someone is doing their best to bully her into making a terrible mistake.

Tristan can’t believe Sav won’t even talk to him. If being apart is her decision, fine. Just don't expect him to honor it. But even as he prepares to fight for the girl he loves, forces beyond their control take them both in directions neither could have foreseen or prepared for.

A reckoning is coming, and not everyone will survive.

Review: I didn’t really like Crave, the first book in the series. I thought most of it was hilariously stupid,  but I decided to give Savannah another shot in this sequel. The book isn’t much better than the first one though. The pacing was agonizingly slow, Savannah is ridiculous, whiny, and pathetic. Tristan isn’t much better. Not recommended.

The Enchanted Truth

Title: The Enchanted Truth

Author: Kym Petrie

Genre: Short Stories, Fairytales, Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

In this humorous and insightful tale, a modern day princess finds herself single and asking for magical intervention to change her sorry love life. Rather than casting a spell to bring Prince Charming to her rescue, a savvy fairy godmother gives the tenderhearted damsel an unexpected gift. By entrusting her true thoughts and desires to an unlikely confidant, the young royal soon discovers that the person who could make her life everything she dreamed it would be has been with her all along.

As author Kym Petrie herself realized, every woman needs a froggy friend and a secret journal—and enough adventures with the girls to keep her heart pounding and her mind racing. Life is meant to be about happy beginnings . . . you can never have enough of them.

Review: A princess asks her grandmother for magical intervention to change her sorry love life. But things don’t work out like the princess expected. The tale is short, insightful and humorous. It’s inspired by the Frog Prince story. It’s funny at times, and a short read, so it’s over fast. An enjoyable book for everyone who loves fairytales.


Book Review: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1) by Victoria Lamb

17622948Title: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1)
Author: Victoria Lamb
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Witches
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned.

If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged.

Meg Lytton has always known she is different—that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practise witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne.

With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg’s hand in marriage, and Meg’s own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn’t a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice.

The Secret Circle meets The Other Boleyn Girl in Witchstruck, the first book of the magical Tudor Witch trilogy.

Add the Tudors and witchcraft, and I’m hooked. Seriously, from the moment I read the blurb, especially the part about how this book is The Secret Circle meets The Other Boleyn Girl, I had to read it. Witchstruck is set slightly after The Other Boleyn Girl. Elizabeth, and her half-sister Queen Mary, are some of the main characters. Elizabeth is imprisoned, by command of Queen Mary. Meg, the main character, and narrator of the book, has been sent out to help Elizabeth while she’s imprisoned.

But Meg hides a secret – she’s a witch. Tudor England is terrified of witches, and any witch caught will be burned at the stake. Meg’s secret doesn’t only endanger her, but Elizabeth as well.

Things get evne more complicated when witchfinder Marcus Dent wants to win Meg’s hand in marriage, and her own family starts conspiring against the English queen. To make things even worse, Meg starts falling for  charismatic, handsome, young Spanish priest. Then Marcus decides that if he can’t have Meg, no one can, and he’s willing to execute her to prove his point.

A lot of things happen at once, and Witchstruck is definitely never boring. With so many things going on, there’s suspense creeping around every corner. The setting is amazing – Tudor court is always intriguing, but Victoria Lamb really makes England of the sixteenth century come to life. Meg, our main character, is a strong protagonist, who definitely has spine and courage. She’s very loyal to her friend, Elizabeth, and willing to do whatever it takes to get Elizabeth on the throne.

Alejandro is a good love interest. He’s charming and romantic, in his own way. Especially interesting was the whole part about how their relationship was forbidden – forbidden romance are a lot more intriguing, if you ask me. There’s tension from start to end, and the pacing is incredibly fast.

This book was a great read, and definitely recommended to anyone who loves historical fiction, witchcraft and young adult books.

Book Review: Witch Finder (Witch Finder #1) by Ruth Warburton

18039069Title: Witch Finder (Witch Finder #1)

Author: Ruth Warburton

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.

Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.

Witch Finder wasn’t at all what I’d expected. From the description, I imagined magic battles, spell-wielding, evil sorcerers, and the likes. What I got instead was calmer, but nevertheless interesting.

Luke is a Witch Finder, which means he can spot witches right away – he sees their magic sparkling and cracking all around them. This gift may be the consequence of one fateful night, when his parents were murdered at the hands of a witch. Ever since, Luke has hated them, and he’ll do whatever he can to stop them, including joining a mysterious brotherhood intend on destroying all witches.

As his final task to be accepted into the brotherhood, he must slay a witch. The witch he picks, is Rosa Greenwood, whose family has strong connections to the Knyvets, one of the most powerful witch families. It’s a suicide mission, according to his uncle. But fate has chosen, and Luke must go.

But he never expected Rosa to be so kind-hearted, with so much love for everyone, he never expected her life in danger by anyone but himself. He thought he hated all witches, but he was wrong…

I liked Rosa. She had a charming personality, the kind of good-natured person who people can’t help but love. I wish she’d used her powers a bit more though, especially when she really needed them. It’s like she’s convinced she’s weak, while in reality she isn’t, but nothing that happens can change her mind about it. I loved how much she cared for animals, and other people.

Luke was a bit meh. He didn’t have a lot of personality, and in all honesty, Sebastian seemed more like the main character than Luke. Luke was passive, going through things without actually changing them, except every now and then. Yet I felt I didn’t really know him, besides that he wanted vengeance on all witches.

My favorite character was, hands down, Sebastian. But at the same time, he frustrated me. What was real about him, and what wasn’t? Did he really care for Rosa? If not, then why chase her, why try to persuade her? What are his eventual motives? He changed emotions in the blink of an eye, which was intriguing, but at the same time, needed a reason, when no real reason was given. Was he mad, like his father? Does he have an evil plan? I still don’t know, and I wanted to know. I like dark characters, and Sebastian had enough darkness to really intrigue me, but it seemed like he was a shadow of a person, and needed to be fleshed out more. There needed to be reasons behind his behavior, no matter how conflicting they were. I wanted to look into his head and find out, and I hope in the sequel we find out more about him and why he did the things he did.

The writing was great. The story jumped right into the action at the beginning, and while it was calmer at times, the pacing didn’t slow down.

A great read for fans of witches and young adult in particular. Very imaginative, with memorable characters and setting.

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

8667848Title: A Discovery of Witches

Author: Deborah Harkness

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 0.5 stars

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

A Discovery of Witches did absolutely nothing for me. The book starts out so promising, but as soon as the romance enters the picture, the book turns from potentially intriguing to downright boring, bland and some kind of twisted Twilight rip-off that probably started out as fanfiction.

Diana Bishop, our main character, is a scholar with an impressive IQ and the ability to summon a manuscript the entire paranormal world wants, but nobody has seen around in years. When she needs the manuscript for her research and asks it from the library, the manuscript, a book talking about alchemy, appears. Instantly this makes her the target of the Stalker Army, or, in other words, an entire army of demons, vampires and witches who want nothing more than to get their hands on the manuscript. Problem? When Diana asks for it again, the manuscript appears as lost as it has been for the last three centuries. Diana is the descendent of a powerful line of witches, but she’s been hiding her witch abilities ever since her parents were murdered, so the last thing she wants is the Stalker Army at her back – and who blames her?

But then Matthew Clairmont walks in, an enigmatic and supposedly charming, aristocratic vampire who’s been around for the last thousand-or-so years and for some reason unknown to mankind, thinks Diana is the most amazing woman he’s ever laid eyes upon.  I’m willing to understand his point at the start of the book, because Diana was pretty cool in a nerdy, scholarly way, but as soon as Diana and Matthew meet, her personality goes entirely downhill. Diana isn’t fond of Matthew’s attention at first, mostly because she doesn’t want to communicate with vampires. But then she begins falling for him. Even if he’s a stalker of the sort that makes Twilight-Edward seem like a harmless kid.

Matthew breaks into Diana’s apartment and follows her everywhere, all in the name of protecting her. Right, I’m sure all stalkers in the world would agree they’re just “protecting” the person they’re stalking. The worst part is that Diana, who was clever, intelligent and down-to-earth at the start of the book, quickly turns into a mumbling, agreeing, head over heels in love, older version of Bella. All the more annoying is this change because Diana was a likeable character at the start. She had personality. In walks Matthew, gone is personality.

Matthew is extremely controlling. He starts to decide every aspect of Diana’s life. Even worse than that, he binds her to a huge commitment without her knowledge. But she’s okay with that. He’s acting all powerful and bossy, and she’s fine with that. At least in the Twilight books there was a logical reason behind this – Bella, who was human, was a much easier target than Edward. But here Diana has powers of her own, quite impressive powers to say the least. If she unleashes them, there’s no foe who could stand against her. Yet instead of using the powers she inherited, she turns to Matthew for help. Every single time. Like she has no mind of her own. She becomes the epitome of a damsel in distress.

The plot isn’t really that spectacular either. Diana summons the manuscript – pretty cool – and the entire supernatural population wants it, although have of them have no idea why. A war is about to start between the supernatural races, all because of this manuscript. That’s a nice idea, but it never develops into a full plot because as soon as Matthew and Diana fall in love, their romance becomes the plot, and everything else is pushed to the side.

Also? The entire book seems to span about a week. So Diana falls head over heels with Matthew in a week, they move to his castle, and they’re willing to risk their life for each other. Yeah. I’m totally buying that story.

Compared to this, Twilight should’ve won an award.

Diana is the most annoying character in history. She quickly becomes a total Mary Sue, with every possible witch power you can think of, making the Charmed witches look like amateurs. Yet she constantly screams for help and waits for Matthew to come rescue her. She has no more mind of her own, everything he does is all right for her, even if he’s a controlling freak.

Matthew isn’t a love interest – he’s a psychopathic stalker. He makes every decision involving Diana without her consent, controls her in every possible way, and keeps secrets from her to protect her. He’s obnoxious and annoying, hangs on to ancient beliefs and constantly wants to be an alpha male.

Then there’s the sheer length of this “gem”. The book is a whopping 600 pages, and about 200 or more of these could’ve been easily chopped. Nothing happens for dozens of pages except boring, supposedly romantic conversation that completely falls flat. A lot of stuff feels repetitive. Diana sleeps, drinks herbal tea, waits for Matthew to return, sleeps again, and repeat. There’s also a lot of wine drinking, begging for sex (yes, Diana really begs Matthew for sex at some point) and a lot of sitting around and doing nothing. Nothing really happens until at the end, and then the action is over in a heartbeat.

There were only two things slightly redeeming about this book. One was the academic setting. The libraries and academic buildings were very well described, and I could imagine myself walking there. Two, was the house of Diana’s aunt. The house almost had its own personality. It could add rooms whenever more guests arrived, kept out the bad guys, and changed by will. Pretty darn awesome.

Unfortunately, that’s the only thing remotely awesome about this book.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone, unless you feel like Twilight didn’t give you enough reasons to pull your hair out.