Tag Archives: magic

Review of Witch Hollow (Sunshine Walkingstick, #4) by Celia Roman

I received an Audible code for a copy of Celia Roman‘s Witch Hollow. I reviewed the first three books here.

Description from Goodreads:

The day Terry Whitehead showed up on my door, I shoulda knowed trouble was hot on his heels, Terry being the feller what planted my boy Henry in my belly, then left me so fast, my head spun. Seems his daughter, Henry’s half-sister, went missing and the police done give up on finding her.

Much as I hated having anything to do with Terry, I couldn’t hardly abandon a young’un, especially one what was close kin to my boy, God rest him.

Only, little Sophie weren’t the only kid missing, and whatever took her left a trail of dark magic in its wake. Time was running short and the trail was cold. For the first time since Henry died, I floundered. Could I track down the monster what’d took Sophie while she could still be saved, or would my pride cost that little girl her life and all them other young’uns’, too?

Review:

Sunshine never lets me down. I appreciate how Sunshine refuses to be a damsel in distress. Even now that she’s decided to accept love in her life, she’s still in charge and trying her darnedest to protect everyone (including him). I liked seeing her finally get her happy ending in that regard. There was one moment where I felt the author threw in some unnecessary misunderstanding for artificial tension. But it passed quickly enough.

I enjoyed the plot and seeing characters from past books. A certain pet peeve of mine is when authors bring in the “I knew Merlin” (or Cleopatra, or Ghandi, or any other well known historical/mythological person). So, this was a small irritant for me. But not much of one.

All in all, This was just another very enjoyable book from Roman and the narrator again did a wonderful job. She brings Sunshine to life so well.

Review of The Half-Assed Wizard, by Gary Jonas

I received an Audible code for a copy of Gary JonasThe Half-Assed Wizard.

Description from Goodreads:

A couple of jerks wake me up at the crack of noon. Seems my clepto uncle stole an ancient deck of Tarot cards from a high-powered wizard, and too many losers want to ruin my day to get them back. 

The cards are cool, so I check them out, but my magic-happy cousin, Sabrina, tells me I’m not supposed to touch them. Oops. Too late. Now the damn cards are tuned to me, and if someone else wants to use them, I have to die. Why couldn’t she have led with that information? 

Magic was never my scene, but my dad is one of the most powerful wizards in the world, so I’ve got unrealized potential if I ever bother to apply myself. I’d rather power nap, but with wizards, gunslingers, and cannibalistic shark dudes coming at me, that’s not gonna happen. 

They say I’m a half-assed wizard, but if I don’t play my cards right, I’m gonna get my whole ass killed.

Review:

This is the third male-led Urban Fantasy, written by a male I’ve read in a row. They all seem to have variations of the same ‘hero’ (anti-hero). They’re sarcastic, misanthropic, invariably powerful, but determined never to be seen trying at anything. I wondered for a while why these characters are so venerated. But I’ve ultimately decided that it’s a validation of the male (white male especially) world view that a true man conquers and succeeds because he is simply and inherently the best. He shouldn’t have to try at anything, because he will still always come out on top. What more, to be seen to be trying undermines the naturalness of their supremacy.

I say all this in order for it to make sense when I say I am tired of this character. Brett is the just one more of an overplayed, unimaginative ‘hero.’ Perhaps he could be king of these men who refuse to even try to live up to their potential (but still expect to be handed the winning ticket). He is after all just as half-assed as the title suggests. His literal goal in life is to sleep all day and live on daddy’s money, while simultaneously refusing to comply or cooperate with the family in any way. I found literally nothing in him to relate to or enjoy. I wanted to spank him like the whiney man-child he was (and not in any sort of fun way).

What makes this whole situation worse is that I couldn’t even truly believe his refusal to use magic. His commitment to never using magic required a dedication I couldn’t imagine him capable of, especially as lazy as he was.

All in all, the book is written well enough. The narrator did a great job. And I can imagine a whole host of Chads enjoying it. But I most certainly did not.

Review of Spell Caster, by Laura Greenwood

cover of Spell Caster

I received an Audible code for a copy fo Laura Greenwood‘s Spell Caster.

Description from Goodreads:

Can magic and science come together to catch a murderer?  

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when she’s given an unusual blood sample to test. And when a mysterious man shows up at her lab telling her he has the answers she’s looking for, she’s pulled into a world of murder, investigations, and intrigue.  

Finally able to explore the connection between her powers as a witch and her expertise as a scientist to uncover why paranormals keep turning up dead. 
–  
Spell Caster is a reverse harem paranormal mystery set in the Paranormal Council Universe.

Review:

Sigh. This wasn’t bad. It was just sort of a mess. For one, it’s called a reverse harem, which infers (though admittedly doesn’t say) it’s erotic. Most reverse harem books you encounter are, so tying itself into a known erotic trope suggests it is too. It isn’t. The steamiest this gets is that Cassie kisses each of her mates once (and they’re not even descriptive passionate kisses) and then each man kisses her forehead or the top of her head once. There is no passion or eroticism in this at all. If she was interested, I’d let me 9yo read it. 

Similarly there isn’t any passion (erotic or otherwise) about the mating. Cassie has a calm conversation with each man and then moves on. It literally could have been a work meeting over coffee. (Once even is over coffee.) 

But most importantly, how this four-way mating might work isn’t addressed at all. It’s clarified that each man is her mate and they aren’t each others mates (no menage). But I have a hard time believing that will work with no jealousy. Why would these guys share a mate?

The book would have simply been IMMENSELY improved if the author had left the mate element out and let the book be about Cassie getting a new job and earning her spot on the Paranormal Crimes Investigation team. And I honestly think the author would only have had to cut about 2% of the text to make this true. I cannot emphasize enough how underdeveloped the mate aspect is. It’s so underdeveloped that it’s just a distraction and detraction in the plot. I think I’d have really liked the book if it was just a paranormal mystery. As it is, I was just disappointed.

Edit: On a side note, the title is Spell Caster, but Cassie doesn’t cast a single spell in the book. She uses magic, but never an actual spell. Just saying.