Review | The Little Witch by M. Rickert

A strange dark fantasy about an elderly woman visited every Halloween by a trick or treating child dressed as a witch. Over time, they development a tenuous relationship.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What drew me to this short story initially was the cover. I immediately loved the imagery and the fall feel of it, and this feeling translated into the story itself. One thing I really enjoyed was the way each season and the passing of it was described as we followed the main character through those seasons. I just found myself wishing for a little more detail about the world and the rules of it a bit more, like I wanted just a little more world building. It did serve as a good vignette into this world, but it was a little too spare on certain aspects so it did leave me wanting more explanations.

Still it was an enjoyable read and I did really like the writing style. It’s a great short bite for a fall story with a slightly creepy tone.

Happy reading!

Review | For a Rose That Blooms in Fire By Isabel Rocio

“For A Rose That Blooms In Fire” is a collection of poetry that explores the reality of abusive relationships, and one’s infinite capacity for healing. The collection shatters the rose-colored glasses society tends to unconsciously associate with “chaotic romance”, and paints a clearer view into the power of self-reclamation.

Through a graceful balancing act between the darkness and the light that comes with healing, Isabel invites you to take the first step towards the most important relationship you will ever know-the one you have with yourself.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had to sit with my thoughts on this one for a bit before writing up my review, because this is the type of modern poetry I enjoy and I wanted to be able to articulate what I was really feeling and thinking after reading this.

This collection is not for the faint of heart and is going to mean different things depending on what you’ve experienced in your life, but it’s raw and full of imagery that is powerful. The sequence of the poems themselves is definitely a progression from experiencing abuse (among other things) and then getting out of that situation and discovering yourself/rising above it as life goes on.

I definitely recommend reading the foreword from the author as that contains more information and clarification on their experience. There are definite trigger warnings for abuse, gaslighting, rape, depression and more, so if those are triggering for you be aware and exercise self care when approaching this read. As a survivor of an abusive relationship myself there were parts of it that were hard and too real to my own experience, but also it proved to be soothing since it felt like someone else understood some of the things I experienced myself, which in and of itself can be therapeutic and freeing.

Thanks to Isabel for sending me a copy of her book so that I could check it out!

Happy reading!

Review | Nightschool Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova

Schools may lock up for the night, but class is in session for an entirely different set of students. In the Nightschool, vampires, werewolves, and weirns (a particular breed of witches) learn the fundamentals of everything from calculus to spell casting. Alex is a young weirn whose education has always been handled through homeschooling, but circumstances seem to be drawing her closer to the Nightschool. Will Alex manage to weather the dark forces gathering? 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Since I got to read the spin off of this series I wanted to go back and read the original series and I was not disappointed in this first volume. I really enjoyed the manga style art, which of course made the story race right by. After reading the first volume I’m still somewhat learning who certain characters are, but they are being revealed bit by bit as the story progresses. I immediately was sucked into the world and can’t wait to learn more about the characters and the little snippets of mystery we were allowed to see in this first volume.

If you have kindle unlimited this series is currently available on it – happy reading!

Series I Want to Finish in 2021

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been guilty of starting series and then letting them sit on our shelves waiting for us to pick them up again. I decided to pick a few series that I will try to finish this year and we’ll just see how we go.

Locke and Key – I’ve heard the entire story through audiobook, but I would like to read it in its original format. This one I’m actually almost done with as I’m currently working on volume 5 – so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to knock this one out.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians – This one I’m a little more behind on, I’ve read through book three. I know that outing myself as being way behind on such a popular series is dangerous, but it’s one of those series I have and I told myself I would always get around to – so now I’d really like to.

Fruits Basket – I’ve been collecting the collector’s editions of this manga and so far have read through volume four. This is another one that is going to be easy to complete, I just have to buckle down and do it. I really have no excuse since manga tend to be such a quick read.

The Kane Chronicles – This one is right up there with Percy Jackson, as in I should have read it by now, especially since it all ties into that universe. I’ve read the first book and have the audiobook of the second, so if I can just devote some time to it, then I shouldn’t have an issue.

So there you have it, those are the four series I’m setting a goal of finishing by the end of the year. Hopefully when I revisit this in a year I’ll be able to say that I completely most if not all of them and be able to pick another group to finish.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Agent Under Siege by Lena Diaz | Review

Can they outsmart a killer …who’s already escaped justice?

The Kentucky Ripper is in prison…or is he? When no one will help Teagan Ray find the man who really abducted her, former profiler Bryson Anton agrees to investigate. But soon their search takes two jolting turns—brutal attacks from a cunning suspect…and a powerful mutual attraction.

Buy Links | Harlequin | B&N | Booksamillion | Amazon | Indie bound

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I did not expect to love this story as much as I did. This was a thrilling story that just flew by while I was reading it. I loved how three dimensional Bryson, Teagan and some of the others in this story were, and how the relationships were portrayed. Diaz’s writing was so easy to get lost in and the twists and turns in the story just keep you within the story and needing to know what happened next. I also enjoyed that Bryson and Teagan seemed like actual people with actual problems, who were willing (though sometimes reluctantly) to work through those problems and issues. All in all I really enjoyed this story and would definitely read from this author again.

Lena’s heart belongs to the rolling hills of her homestate of Kentucky. But you’re more likely to see her near the ocean these days in northeast Florida where she resides with her hubby and two children. A former Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® finalist, she’s also a four-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award and a Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller. When not writing, she can be found sprucing up her flower beds or planning her next DIY project.

Author Links | Website | Facebook | GoodReads

Happy reading!

Can’t Wait Wednesday | 1/13

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings based on the meme Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking the Spine. In this weekly post people share a book that they’re excited about being released.

After reading and loving The Witch Boy series by Molly Ostertag, I’m pretty much excited for anything she has coming out – so I was stoked to find out she has a graphic novel coming out in June!

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.

Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore.

But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.

Happy reading!

Book Blitz | The Winter Heals by Marie McGrath

The Winter Heals
Marie McGrath
(Honey Cove, #2)
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

It was almost impossible to heal when everyone was out to get you.

Shelby Rowe was stuck between two worlds—the one she wanted and the one everyone else wanted for her. As the daughter of a prominent family in Honey Cove, Shelby’s life was out of her control. Her friends, interests, and even her love life was controlled by others.

When a new girl moves to town, Shelby’s life was turned upside down as she gets a glimpse of what life could be like—no obligations, no pressure. As the Christmas break begins, Shelby is left stuck between what is expected and what she feels is right. Split in half, Shelby has to make decisions to correct her life and heal her spirit.

Will she allow others to control who she is? Or will she finally go out on her own?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Luke watched me as I eyed Priscilla and Tabitha from across the room. “Don’t panic, Shelby. You’re by far the most beautiful one in this ballroom tonight.”
“Thanks, Luke, but I’m not worried about what anyone else looks like.”

He nodded and smiled, but it didn’t quite make it to his eyes.

I probably wouldn’t have believed me either. I wasn’t fully lying, just wasn’t the entire truth. Priscilla had a chance to outdo me; it was just her insecurities that came back for her. If she had more confidence, people wouldn’t hate her as much for the nasty things she always inflicted on others. Although, I supposed someone else could say similar things to me. I certainly hadn’t always been the nicest one around. I had done plenty of cruel things, things I still was ashamed of, but I tried to change. That had to account for something, right?

Priscilla and Tabitha spotted me and strutted my way.

Luke tightened his grip around my arm and into his chest. Did he think I needed protecting?

Tabitha leaned forward to air-kiss my cheek. “Shelby, darling. You look fabulous.”

I reciprocated the gesture. “As do you. This color is stunning on you.”

She smiled and swished her dress against her ankles.

Priscilla’s eyebrow arched as she came closer for a hug. “Beautiful accessories, Shelby. It all really makes your eyes pop.”

I strained to smile, knowing anything they uttered about my appearance was merely a nod to social etiquette. It wasn’t genuine, at least not in the way I longed for a true compliment.

“Your mother outdid herself this year, Shelby,” Tabitha said.

“I’ll let her know you think so.”

Luke cleared his throat and nudged my side with his elbow.

“Sorry, ladies, how rude of me. You know Luke, obviously, but he’s my date.”

Luke grinned from ear to ear. “Ladies, you both look radiant this evening.”

They both curtsied.

“Well, we would love to stay and chat all night, but we must socialize with the guests. I’ll see you two later.”

I pulled Luke to stand at the second Christmas tree halfway between both exits.

Luke’s eyebrow rose. “Why did we walk away from them? We should be mingling with everyone.”

I snorted. “Please, Luke. I will mingle with the people who matter. Those two don’t matter. They will just gossip about anything they hear anyway, not worth our time.”

“Then who should we talk to, in your opinion? I think they matter to everyone else. If you aren’t flaunting me to your friends, what will people say?”

“They will have plenty to say, and we can discuss things with them when we are stuck at a table for dinner.”

“I suppose.” Luke moved his arm around me and hovered his right hand on the small of my back.

I bit the corner of my lip to avoid from shivering—or worse, cringing at his touch. It wasn’t awful, but it was more than I wish I had to endure.

“You know, you never told me if I looked dashing or not,” Luke said with a devilish grin.

I smiled. “You and I both know you do, especially with all of your matchy-matchy to my dress color.”

Luke feigned shock. “Is that a compliment from Shelby Rowe. Oh man. Alert Santa we’ll have a blizzard.”

I rolled my eyes. “Dramatic much?”

“Not at all. I only seem to get snarkiness from you.”

I shrugged. “Not always.”

“I apologize. You’re correct. I get snarky Shelby unless we’re pretending to be together. In which case, I get hushed-tone snarky Shelby.”

I giggled. “Is that so? How does one emanate snark in a hushed-tone kind of way?”

“I think you know how.”

I smiled and looked into his hazel eyes. Okay, so he could be charming when he wanted to.

“There it is.”

“There’s what?”

“A genuine smile.”

My father, with my mother in tow, strutted toward us. “Shelby and Luke, how splendid. You both look exquisite,” my father said. “Are you ready to meet a few people, Shelby?”

I followed my parents as Luke accompanied me. I straightened my frame and plastered a smile on my face. It was showtime.

An older couple stood to the side of the ballroom.

My father shook the older man’s hand and clapped his back. “Mr. Wyatt, this is my daughter Shelby and her date, Luke Warrington. Shelby, Mr. Wyatt is the head of sales at Rowe Industries.”

I curtsied as Luke shook the man’s hand.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Wyatt,” I said.

“Hello again, sir,” Luke added.

My mother looked between us all but stayed silent. Her voice echoed in my head, “A true Rowe woman is seen but not heard. She makes her presence known but never overshadows the man she is with.”


Author Bio:

Marie McGrath lives in a small rural town in Maryland. She hopes to inspire others with her stories. Her favorite genres to read are YA Romance and Contemporary Fiction. She loves the color turquoise, tigers, and listening to music.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter


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Review | Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace

“Make them rue the day they underestimated you.”

This is a story about not letting society dictate the limits of your potential. it’s time to take back your power & realize that you don’t need a king in order to be a queen.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve enjoyed all of Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collections that I’ve read before but this one may be my favorite by far. There are obvious trigger warnings with all of her work, but this one especially touches on a number of topics such as abuse, self-harm, depression, anxiety and more. There is a list of content warnings in the beginning of the collection which I do recommend reviewing before reading. I really enjoyed the empowering tone in this collection, the overall theme of finding your own voice and accepting your own power. All in all I recommend all of her poetry, but definitely check out this series of collections.

Happy reading!

Review | The Girlfriend’s Guide to Gods by Maria Dahvana Headley

Gods won’t save you. Gods will break you. Nevertheless, you will persist. And become anew.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I don’t usually like things that are written in 2nd person, or as kind of stream of consciousness, but I really enjoyed this short story. It hit so many points at once while also tying in themes from different relationships in mythology and proving that a woman can make herself happy more than any other person can. It was uplifting and inspiring while also being a bit tongue in cheek. I really enjoyed Headley’s writing style and may definitely check out more of their work in the future.

Happy reading!

Review | Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu

Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.

Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.

And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too? 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I so enjoyed this graphic novel about Cici and her journey through a number of issues that she faces. Moving across the world to America, discovering her passion and wanting to fight for it, but also wanting to meet her parents’ expectations. This story was much more complex than it appeared on the surface and I loved seeing that. Her growth and coming into her own throughout the story was wonderful to witness, as were all the relationships and how they grew and changed over the span of the graphic novel. I loved the detail that was added when talking about all the foo represented and feel like it would be great for any young reader who is showing an interest in cooking, navigating a new home/country, or even just discovering their own voice.

Happy reading!