Tag Archives: witches

Review of Broomsticks and Burials (Magic & Mystery, #1), by Lily Webb

I received an audio copy fo Lily Webb‘s Broomsticks and Burials.

Description from Goodreads:

Reporter Zoe Clarke’s life has lost its magic. So when she gets a job offer in the middle of nowhere, Zoe jumps at the chance to make a name for herself only to find her new home is teeming with magic and paranormal beings—and those aren’t its only secrets. 

During a heated election for Head Witch, the most powerful position in town, Zoe’s predecessor was buried alive—and accusations are flying faster than broomsticks. Despite her editor’s orders to leave the story alone, Zoe can’t resist. 

From the front-running witch with a secret to the mysterious vampires pulling strings in the shadows, Zoe knows the truth is just under the surface. So after she discovers she has rare telepathic abilities, Zoe realizes she’s the only one who can keep digging. 

Will Zoe’s powers lead her to the murderer and the scoop of a lifetime? Or will they send her to an early grave? 

Review:

*Sigh* “It’s not you. It’s me.” This is one of those books. It’s a fine book….for someone else. As an explanatory example, the love interest is a golden retriever shifter. Can you get anymore pure than that? The whole book is just too cutesy and Mary Sue-like for my taste. There is absolutely no edge to it at all. And yes, I do realize it’s a cozy mystery. But cozy doesn’t really have to mean naive. (The word I want to use here is bland, but that will sound far more derisive than I mean it to.) This could almost pass for middle-grade fiction, it’s that innocent. 

Regardless, the writing is fine and the narrator did an excellent job with it. So, if you’re the sort of reader who really likes this sort of book, pick it up. If you like a bit of grit in your fantasy/paranormal/mystery books, you won’t find it here.

Review of Lars (Witches of London #1), by Aleksandr Voinov

I picked up a copy of Aleksandr Voinov‘s Lars: Witches of London at Amazon, in May of 2018.

Description from Goodreads:

After a homophobic pagan group rejected him, Lars Kendall is a solitary heathen on the Northern Path, loyal to the gods of the Norse pantheon. But being on his own sucks. So when he finally meets a mixed group of other queer witches and magick-users, it’s like finding family. If family involved exploring past lives and casting spells.

Rhys Turner quit a stressful job in the City after his high-strung boyfriend of six years walked out. He sold the expensive flat in central London and bought a run-down house out in the suburbs. Never mind that it needs walls knocked down, its garden landscaped, and what the hell is up with that carpet?

With his health failing, Rhys is desperate for a clean slate and a new start. He isn’t ready to fall in love with anybody, least of all the hunky builder who looks like he’s stepped out of a TV show about Vikings—tattoos, long hair, and all. But as strong and loyal as Lars is, he also has a very soft heart, which might be the hardest thing for Rhys to resist.

Review:

This is very sweet. The problem is that it’s just very sweet. Even with the secondary theme of Lars’ spiritual journey there is NO TENSION in the book. It ticks along in a nice, mild flow. But that’s about it. The writing is lovely, but I often got the sense that there is a little something off with the tenses. I’ve not read a lot of Voinov, but I get the feeling his writing will be very hit or miss for me. This wasn’t quite a miss, but it wasn’t a hit either.

Review of Wisteria Witches, by Angela Pepper

I received an Audible credit from Angela Pepper to get the box set of the first three Wisteria Witches book. However, I’m choosing to review only the first here on the blog.

Description from Goodreads:

Zara Riddle moves to the town of Wisteria for a dream job as a librarian. She hasn’t even unpacked her moving boxes when she and her teen daughter, Zoey, are swept up in a murder mystery.

With all the ghosts and supernatural creatures around (Including a real hunk of a wolf shifter! Meow!) it’s a good thing the Riddle women are tougher than they look. Now, if only they could handle their new witch powers as well as they’ve mastered their sarcastic wit!

Review:

This didn’t work for me. Though I suspect it is a matter of taste over quality. There are some consistency issues, people knowing things they haven’t been told and such, and I thought the dialogue got too formal at times (especially considering how informal Zara is in general). But for the most part what bothered me wasn’t a matter of the book being bad, but of it being everything I dislike. 

I found Zara intensely annoying! Yes, I see that we’re supposed to think her Gilmore Girl cute. But I found her endless blather like nails on a chalkboard, all her constant media references trite, and her naiveté insincere. I felt like even the author thought her immature, often excusing the things she says by calling them juvenile, long-standing jokes between her and her daughter. The book falls short of calling anyone a poopy-head, but not by much, and only because it’s so committed to “ding-dong.” 

Calling Zara and her crew Mary-Sues would be an understatement. On the upside, the book is 100% clean, not even a curse word is uttered. On the downside, it means the book lacks any sort of grit. So much so that there is barely any tension. I was just this side of board for all of it.

Plus, the book takes a long time to pick up any kind of speed, spending far too much time on dinners and descriptions. (Hope you like adjectives.) Then, once it does, the mystery essentially solves itself off page, leaving the reader out of the action. 

Lastly, I disliked Tiffany Williams’ narration style. It fit the book really well, actually. And again, the quality is fine. But the places she emphasizes words and her tone, etc, just highlights the overly-sensitive, overtly clean aspect of the book, making all my annoyances stand out even more. 

Please don’t take the last few paragraphs as my having an issue with clean stories. I just don’t know a better way to describe the feel of it, like it’s been scrubbed of anything interesting and real. I guess that’s my base issue, why people complain about Mary-Sues in general, they don’t feel real. They’re too idealized to relate to and thus feel fake. 

I actually have the audio boxset of the first three books. I went into them with really high hopes. I’m all about cozy paranormal mysteries right now and the main character even has my same name. When you’re named Zarah, that’s not something you encounter often. I will challenge myself to give the next book a try. Maybe with the world building done the next book will be better for me. I was disappointed with this. But I can 100% see all the things that irritated me so being exactly what another reader will love. To each their own.