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Book Review: Legacy Witches, by Cass Kay

I accepted a review copy of Cass Kay‘s Legacy Witches through Netgalley. It’s just a couple weeks before Halloween. So, now seems like a great time to read a spooky book. Honestly, I probably should have included it in the list of books for my Winter Reading Challenge. But somehow I didn’t have it marked on Goodreads and missed it. Oh well.

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Coming from a long line of murderous witches hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows for Vianna Roots. When she inherits the family’s haunted house after her mother dies, she decides flipping the rundown dump is her smartest move—but the ghosts that haunt her have a different plan.

When Vianna finds the ghost of her childhood friend Nancy, she’s drawn into the mystery surrounding her friend’s death. Her meddling attracts the attention of the oldest coven in Salem. In order to get her out of town, they make an offer on the house, but Vianna hesitates. She’s no longer sure she wants to abandon the demon familiar who possesses her home, the transgender outcast witch—who may just be the best friend she never knew she needed—and her high school crush, who now wants her in his life.

Vianna must find a way to solve the case of her murdered friend, stay out of the hands of the most powerful coven in Salem, and face the past she’s so desperately tried to run away from.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. There’s no romance. But it’s a fun, witchy, urban fantasy story. After the death of her mother, Vianna returns to the home she fled a decade earlier—her own personal version of hell—then, has to rescue it and herself in the process. There’s a fun cast of characters, both wonderfully diverse friends and smarmy fiends. The writing is clean and easy to read and I was invested in the outcome.

My only real complaint is that I didn’t really feel the murderous part of the murderous coven, outside of Vianna’s mother and the villain. Everyone else seemed too lovely to live up the author’s assertion that they weren’t.

The book reads as a stand-alone, but ends with an opening for sequels. I’d happily pick one up.

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Review: Legacy Witches by Cass Kay

📖 Review: Legacy Witches – Cass Kay

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Book Review: Coven, by Jennifer Dugan

Sooo, funny story about how you can think you remember something and be completely wrong. I knew I signed up to read and review Coven, by Jenifer Dugan and Kit Seaton. So, I wasn’t surprised when it showed up in the mail. Usually when I receive a graphic novel, it’s from Rockstar Book Tours. So, I set the book aside, waiting for the email to tell me my assigned tour date. And I waited and waited and waited.

Finally, it had been so long I went to the website searching for the tour dates and was confounded to not be able to find anything listed. That is until a few days later, when I received the polite email from Bookish First reminding me not to forget to post my review. Oooooh, that’s where I signed up! Bookish First has no assigned dates; I could have reviewed Coven the day it arrived. So, I dived right in.

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Emsy has always lived in sunny California, and she’d much rather spend her days surfing with her friends or hanging out with her girlfriend than honing her powers as a fire elemental. But when members of her family’s coven back east are murdered under mysterious circumstances that can only be the result of powerful witchcraft, her family must suddenly return to dreary upstate New York. There, Emsy will have to master her neglected craft in order to find the killer . . . before her family becomes their next target.

my review

I generally really enjoyed this. I thought the art was gorgeous and the book portrayed the volatile, hyper-focused, but not always very logical mindset of teens well. It handled the grief aspect equally as well.

I liked the plot (though I figured out who the villain was very early on). There was a little humor, a lot of diversity, and I thought Emsy coming to accept her coven as family counted as personal growth. I can imagine her, Ben, and Ash as the power trio of the up-and-coming generation of the coven.

I did think the pacing a bit off; the beginning dragged bit more than needed and most of the action is packed into the last third. Plus, I feel like we could have been given more resolution between Emsy and her California friends. But all in all, I’ll call this a win. I’d be happy to read another contribution from Jennifer Dugan and/or Kit Seaton.

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BEWITCHING A HIGHLANDER

Book Review: Bewitching a Highlander, by Roma Cordon

I accepted a review copy of Roma Cordon‘s Bewitching a Highlander through Rockstar Book Tours. The book has also been featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for further information, including an excerpt, author bio, the tour schedule, and a chance to win a copy of the book.

 

Defying all for the love of a bewitching lass.

Breena MacRae, a healer from Skye with a touch of witchery in her blood, embarks on a dangerous search for her missing father. She arrives on the Isle of Coll, seat of the vile Campbells. There, she encounters the debonair future chief to the Dunbar Clan, Egan, who rescues her from a Campbell sentry.

Egan Dunbar is on Coll to keep the peace between the feuding Campbells and Dunbars. But when he catches Breena in a lie, he agrees to help her find her father to pay back an old debt and get to the bottom of the secrets she’s hiding.

As their attraction for each ignites like a firestorm, Breena and Egan realize a future together could trigger deadly consequences—a clan war between the Campbells and the Dunbars. Is Egan willing to betray his clan for love, even though he knows Breena is keeping secrets from him? Can Breena trust him with her family secret and put those she loves at risk?

my review

This is one of those books that is really hard to review. Because, objectively, it’s fine. The writing is readable. (I read an ARC, so can’t comment on editing.) The characters seem likeable. The world holds together, etc. For the right reader this is a guaranteed 5-star read.

But, honestly, it was just a passable read for me, for reasons that are almost completely subjective. First, I picked this up for the witchery. Fantasy romance is one of my favorite genres. But the magic part of this book—the fantasy aspect—is very light. VERY LIGHT, practically non-existent. Which makes this much more a historical romance, than a historic fantasy romance. Which is fine, obviously, just not what I was looking for.

Second, I’m just not a huge fan of narration that is full of hyperbole, especially when it’s how characters characterize the romance. By which I mean when characters spend the whole book thinking super exaggerated thoughts about the other. Each is ‘the most’ this, or ‘the only’ that, or ‘the first/last’ whatever. I think it lacks nuance and subtlety. But I know some readers love it.

Plus, I think that if you took out all the repetition and that hyperbole, you’d be forced to acknowledge that very little actually happened in the book. And the one big life threatening thing that did happen, was completely random and not particularly well stitched into the rest of the plot. Similarly, the plot twist was super obvious. I predicted it before the 100 page mark.

Lastly, as far as I can tell, this is the author’s first book. (I can’t find any others, anyhow). But I spent this whole time I read Bewitching a Highlander thinking I’d missed a first book in the series. These two characters are meant to have met before, in events that are referenced. I thought they must have been side characters in another couple’s story. (That’s 100% how it read). But then I discovered there isn’t another book and was confused.

All in all, I know this sounds like a negative review. But it just wasn’t the book for me. For those who like this particular sort of book—mildly spicy, Scottish historical romance— this will be a winner. I’m certain of it. For me, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. But I’d read another Cordan book

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Bewitching A Highlander Blog Tour