Tag Archives: magic

my luck

Book Review: My Luck, by Mel Todd

I was initially offered Mel Todd‘s Twisted Luck series for review, but I declined since I’m pretty much off YA books lately and NA books have an about 50/50 chance of feeling very YA (in my experience). There is a very thin line between a late teen and an early 20-year-old, after all. However, after Inherited Luck (book 4 of the series) was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight. I decided to give the series a shot after all and borrowed and audio version of My Luck (book one) through Hoopla.

My luck mel todd

I’m not a mage, but that won’t stop me.

Cori Catastrophe. They call me that sometimes, and I hate to admit it, but it isn’t wrong. Things go weird around me. Electronics die, things break, and if something odd happens, I seem to find it. Finding another dead body just made me late to work.

Nothing will stop me from getting my degree, getting a job, and getting away from this tiny town – though leaving my best friend will hurt more than anything else. Reality seems determined to make reaching my goals impossible. The dead guy had my name in his pocket, my best friend emerges as an archmage, and my parents – well let’s just say leaving them behind is one of the best parts of getting away.

So be it. Not being a mage means I’ll have to struggle to succeed. No matter how weird things get, I’ll make it. I lost my brother and I’ll probably lose my best friend to the world of magic. All I can do is depend on myself.

my review

This might be a little spoilery. I don’t think I say anything that you wouldn’t guess from the blurb, but be warned.  Plus, I make a few assumptions. But I’m fairly confident in my assertions.

I am struggling to figure out how to describe my experience with this book. The writing is perfectly readable. I listened to an audio version, so I can’t comment on editing, but I didn’t catch any obvious mishaps. So, the book isn’t a mess. But it’s 359 pages long and literally moves the plot forward zero percent. The character is in the exact same position (in the larger plot) at the end of the book as she was in the beginning. We follow all her personal dramas and accomplishments, from class to internships to work, but not the VERY OBVIOUS magical issue that is the larger plot and mystery. Cori hasn’t really even acknowledged that there is a mystery, not really! And these are my biggest issues, lack of plot progression and the obviousness.

There is a really interesting magical world here, complete with bureaucracy and international standards. What is happening around Cori is VERY OBVIOUSLY not normal. Her own reluctance to acknowledge this is hard to believe, even when she has her emotional outburst about it. But that everyone around her, several of whom basically tell her to her face she’s magical and almost all of whom suggest she get tested for magic, also just ignore this is beyond the pale. She is surrounded by mandated reporters, people who are legally obligated to report unregistered magic (and child abuse/neglect, but that’s another issue). That not one of them called and reported her, forcing her to get tested, is 100% not believable.

So, the whole premise of the book, that she doesn’t know she has magic, is unsteady and compromises the whole thing. In fact, I’m stating here she has magic, but even by the end of the book neither she nor anyone around her has acknowledged it. It got to the point that I literally rolled my eyes every-time something obvious happened, another person said, “get tested,” and Cori responded with I’m not magic, end of story.

I’m actually interested in knowing what happens. But I’m not willing to commit to reading another book knowing that the author is willing to dragggggggg the plot out as long as she has. Will I read the next book  only to find Cori and everyone around her with their head STILL in the sand? That would be too frustrating to handle. I almost can’t handle this book ending with them still sucking soil.

So, as I said, I’m struggling. I don’t think the writing is bad. I like the world. But this 359 page book functions as little more than a prequel to the series and that’s a structural decision I’m not wiling to submit myself to further.

As for the narration, it started out pretty rough, honestly. But Juliet eventually seemed to find her stride and it smoothed out.

my luck mel todd

I’m trying this new thing where I link other reviews of books for comparison’s sake.

My Luck by Mel Todd – A Book Review

Declan Finn


tomb of the queen banner

Book Review: Tomb of the Queen, by Joss Walker

I won an e-copy of Joss Walker‘s Tomb of the Queen.
tomb of the queen


Librarian Jayne Thorne enjoys her quiet life of tea and books. That is, until she finds a spell book in the Vanderbilt archives that accidentally gives her access to a magical dimension.

Now she’s hunted by a magic-wielding terrorist group called the Kingdom, and the only way for her to survive is to team up with a secret branch of the CIA. Her first mission: Go undercover at Trinity College Library in Dublin to discover the identity of a Kingdom member and determine if the Book of Leinster is actually a magical necromantic grimoire.

With the help of a handsome Irish kickboxer, Jayne uncovers the truth of her unexpected spell book: The Irish manuscript is one of five grimoires that can raise five dead, master magicians, and secure their totems of power. With these totems comes the power to control the world.

But the spell book isn’t the only thing with secrets in Jayne’s new life. Danger lurks in every corner and Jayne must rise to meet her fated role… or perish alongside the rest of the world.

my review

I think My Goodreads comments, written as I read this book, will give a good idea of how I felt about it.

goodreads commentsDo you think I was bored? I was bored. I forced myself to the end by pure determination alone. The whole thing is too slow, bogged down in dialogue, explanations of what is to be done, rather than doing, weak characterization, and cutesy book/movie references that did not endear me to the character as intended. Honestly, I felt more for the small, relatively unimportant side character Gerard than ANY of the main characters. And NONE OF IT IS BELIEVABLE, no matter how I suspended my disbelief.

Jayne learns magic is real (and that keeping her in the dark was the decision her sister made is already questionable) and instantly believes, she’s instantly recruited by and joins the CIA, she’s instantly sent into the field (despite being untrained), she instantly meets the love interest and is instantly attracted, she instantly blends in undercover, she instantly finds and is recruited by the baddies she’s supposed to infiltrate, she instantly raises to power and importance, etc. etc. etc. She’s the smartest, most powerful, wittiest, of them all, etc. I found her utterly insufferable. And the CIA librarian department? They’re so slipshod I wouldn’t trust them to run a boy-scout troupe, let alone a government agency. They seem to be an agency by dint of “let me speak to the higher-ups” alone.

I liked Cillian well enough, though he’s a bit of a cardboard cut out. I loved the IDEA of a magical librarian department within the CIA. I think the book had a good idea. But the honest, brass tacks truth is that I didn’t like the book. The mechanical writing is fine and it’s well enough edited, but I was just bored and stuck reading about people I didn’t enjoy spending time with.

tomb of the queen

born of metal

Book Review: Born of Metal (Rings of the Inconquo #1), by A.L. Knorr & A.D. Schneider

I received an Audible code for a free copy of Born of Metal, by A.L. Knorr and A.D. Schneider.

born of metal

Her family is all that matters, too bad they may be the death of her…

Ibby’s parents gave up everything for a chance at a better life. So, after a terrible accident leaves her alone in London, Ibby works her internship at the British Museum and goes to her classes to make them proud.

She hopes to one day bring her uncle, her only living relative, to the UK. Family is what matters. But, when Ibby finds a hidden artifact and encounters a mysterious stranger in the bowels of the museum, she learns that its her lineage, the very origins of her family, that will put everything at risk. That, and metal is starting to do some pretty bizarre things around Ibby.

A powerful artifact, a secret society, an ancient evil. Can Ibby embrace her destiny as Inconquo guardian before an ages-old demon is unleashed on London?

If you love strong female characters and millennia old secrets, you’ll love the origin story of Ibukun Bashir, metal elemental. Welcome to the world of the Inconquo.

my review

I thought this was a middle-of-the-road enjoyable read (or listen, rather). I liked Ibby. I liked the immigration aspect of her character. I liked the idea of the ability to control metal. I liked her self-sufficiency and smarts. However, I never felt particularly immersed in the world. This may be because the book is a spin-off from another series (which I didn’t know when I decided to listen to it). It may be because the book is all running here, being attacked there. It never settles enough for the reader to catch a breath and start caring. Plus, there’s a pretty big deus ex machina moment toward the end.

I see several people in the reviews complaining about the narrator. I had little problem with her. I thought she was a little dry with some characters (the demon, for example), but was mostly fine. I’d listen to her again.

born of metal