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Book Review: Eastside Hedge Witch, by T.J. Deschamps

I received a copy of T.J. Deschamps’ Eastside Hedge Witch through Netgalley. And in a completely unrelated turn of events, it was on Sadie’s Spotlight very shortly there after.
eastside hedge witch TJ Deschamps

Miriam Diaz has lived as a suburban mom on Seattle’s Eastside for the past seventeen years. She serves on the parent teacher association, bakes for her daughter’s cheer squad, and is an all-around champion stay-at-home mom. Pretty average and totally boring, and Miriam likes it that way. All the better to hide her sordid past.

When a hellhound shows up in her neighbor’s begonias, and Miriam banishes the stinky mutt back to where it came from, she let her evil ex know she’s still alive and kicking…and likely in possession of something she stole from him.

Miriam doesn’t only have trouble brewing from below. The banishment also alerts the supernatural cops. When a gorgeous alpha of the shifter pack starts sniffing around her hedges, Miriam fears the news might go all the way to the archangel that she isn’t a latent but a full-blown witch. Miriam isn’t a registered supernatural and for a good reason, she’s hiding something big from the authorities above and below.

All of the commotion threatens the veil hiding the separating the mundanes and the supes. Miriam might just have to come out of the supernatural closet to save the world. Again.

my review

I enjoyed this, even if I wasn’t totally wowed by it. I really liked Miriam, Jada, Roxy, Rhiannon, and Phry. I was OK on everyone else, including Gabriel. And since he’s the most likely romantic pairing for most of the book, that left me a little cold. But the writing rolls along at a good clip, there’s some humor, an interesting world, and the characters have moral codes I appreciate.

I did think Miriam was just a little too central, too powerful, too wanted by all the powerful men around her. And while I liked the ending, I did have to wonder if anyone (other than Lucifer) bothered to consider how it would effect the whole rest of the world.

All in all, I’ll happily read the next book in the series, when it comes out. But I’m not gnashing my teeth that I can’t have it now.

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Book Review: Tomes, Scones & Crones, by Colleen Gleason

I received a copy of Colleen Gleason‘s Tomes, Scones and Crones through Netgalley.
tomes scones and crones

At forty-eight, Jacqueline Finch has a nice, easy life with few responsibilities: she’s been a librarian in Chicago for twenty-five years, she doesn’t have a husband, children, or pets, and she’s just coasting along, enjoying her books and a small flower garden now that she’s over the hill.

That is, until the Universe (helped by three old crones) has other ideas.

All at once, Jacqueline’s staid (and boring) life is upended, and the next thing she knows, she’s heading off to Button Cove to start a new life as the owner of Three Tomes Bookshop.

The bookstore is a darling place, and Jacqueline is almost ready to be excited about this new opportunity…until Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Danvers show up. Somehow, the literary characters of Sherlock Holmes’s landlady and Rebecca deWinter’s creepy and sardonic housekeeper are living persons who work at the bookshop (when they aren’t bickering with each other). Not only does Jacqueline have to contend with them—and the idea that people regularly eat pastries while reading books in her store!—but the morning after she arrives, the body of a dead man is found on her property.

Things start to get even more strange after that: Jacqueline is befriended by three old women who bear a startling resemblance to the Witches Three from Macbeth, an actual witch shows up at her bookshop and accuses Jacqueline of killing her brother, and the two women who own businesses across the street seem determined to befriend Jacqueline.

And then there’s the police detective with the very definite hot-Viking vibe who shows up to investigate the dead body…

The next thing Jacqueline knows, her staid and simple life is no longer quiet and unassuming, and she’s got crones, curses, and crocodiles to deal with.

And when a new literary character appears on the scene…things start to get even more hairy and Jacqueline is suddenly faced with a horrible life and death situation that will totally push her out of her comfort zone…if she’s brave enough to let it.

After all, isn’t forty-eight too late for an old dog to learn new tricks?

my review

Writing a review for a book that you can objectively say isn’t bad, but that you didn’t particularly enjoy is difficult. The writing and editing in Tomes, Scones and Crones is fine. The pacing seems fine. The character development seems fine, etc. I even really appreciated a 48-year-old heroine and the ‘claim the power of your later life’ moral of the story.

I just didn’t especially enjoy the book. I didn’t care for Jacqueline, found her largely unpleasant. I thought the literary device of having the crones discuss everything as a means of relaying it to the reader was annoying. Plus, their meddling would be infuriating. The romance is only hinted at. The villains were so villainous as to be caricatures, even down to evil = ugly simplicity.

And I found something vaguely ick- inducing about Danvers and Hudson being literally reduced to their jobs. It goes a long way towards undermining the theme of women (even/especially older women) are full, empowered individuals to then have two female characters pulled from literature to function as housekeepers and housekeepers only, they disappear when not keeping house. Thereby erasing any further importance or potential they, as individuals, might hold.

This was structurally sound and will probably shine for a lot of people. It was a flop for me.

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Other Reviews:

Tomes, Scones and Crones by Colleen Gleason (ARC)

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Book Review: Throwing Shade, by Deborah WIlde

I purchased a Supernatural Book Crate book box and a signed copy of Deborah Wilde‘s Throwing Shade was included as one of the featured books in the August box.

throwing shade deborah wilde

She’s ditching her shapewear, owning her hormones, and letting her magic fly free.
Underestimate her. That’ll be fun.

It’s official. Miriam Feldman is killing it in the midlife crisis department. She’s mastered boredom, aced invisibility, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in smiling and playing nice in her post-divorce life. But when a drink with a “good guy” goes sideways, Miriam snaps, and in a cold dark rage unleashes a rare and powerful shadow magic.

To make matters worse, her best friend goes missing and Miri is thrust into a world of hidden magic, vampires, and a legacy of hatred aimed directly at her. Hard to say which is more dangerous, this spiderweb of supernatural power plays, the grumpy French wolf shifter she’s teamed up with, or Miri herself, kicking butt and rediscovering the woman who got lost along the way.

But lines get blurred in the shadows, and if she’s not careful, she could lose everyone she loves. She’ll have to turn her invisibility into strength and pray they never see her coming.

Forty isn’t the new twenty. It’s better.

my review

I enjoyed this quite a bit. I had a funny moment when I was about halfway through where I was thinking, “Urban fantasy set in Canada with a Jewish heroine and paranormals from Jewish mythos, it reminds me a lot of Blood & Ash and The Unlikable Demon Hunter? Who wrote those again? Deb…Deborah….?” At about this time I walked by the book on the table and caught a glimpse of the author and went, “…Wilde. Deborah Wilde. No wonder it feels familiar. It’s the same author.” I amused my self.

I have to admit to liking this book more than either of the other two by her that I’ve read. Not necessarily because it’s a better book. I think I just like the older heroine more. I liked Miriam. I really liked Laurent and the banter between the two. I liked Miriam’s relationship with her daughter and the world Wilde has created here. Plus, I liked the 40-year-old woman finally learning the fine art of giving no fucks about convention. She lets the snark fly.

I’m not a huge fan of the cover though. I know this isn’t really relevant to the book review, and I don’t dislike it. I just don’t feel like it matches the tone of the book. Sure, there’s reference to Miriam taking her heals off after work as a legal librarian. But nothing about her character paints her as quite the fashionista who would wear stilettos to work.

All in all, I’m hoping to read book two and three in the series at some point.

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Other Reviews:

Book Review: Throwing Shade by Deborah Wilde

Book Review: Throwing Shade by Deborah Wilde

Throwing Shade (Magic After Midlife, #1) by Deborah Wilde

Throwing Shade by Deborah Wilde